The naval hospital here held its annual residency and intern graduation ceremony for its Family Medicine, Pharmacy, Dental and Sports Medicine Departments June 28.
At the ceremony, four dental residents, two sports medicine residents, one pharmacy resident, 10 family medicine residents and 13 family medicine interns graduated from their respective programs.
This year’s guest speaker was Dr. John Holman, a medical doctor and retired Navy captain who once served as the program director for the hospital’s Family Medicine residency program.
“My challenge to you is maintain that excellent knowledge base, never stop learning and growing, and to strive every day, every patient to make a little bit of a connection, whether it’s a warm touch, a handshake, a smile; some kind of a connection and you will be an excellent provider,” said Holman.
Before introducing Holman, Capt. Kenneth J. Iverson, the hospital’s commanding officer, congratulated the interns and residents for their accomplishments and thanked them for their hard work and dedication in helping the hospital complete its mission.
“As far as I’m concerned, these are the finest programs in the entire Navy,” said Iverson. “The recent successful accreditation results are a testament of the quality job of each of the different programs and of the dedication to make these programs of excellence. Thanks so much for all the hard work.”
The family medicine interns and residents typically spent every fourth or fifth night in the hospital on call. Their diverse duties ranged from delivering babies to treating sick adults in the Intensive Care Unit as well as serving rotations at various local and regional hospitals.
“I decided to become a physician before I even started college. This is now a 14-year culmination of everything so it feels pretty good,” said Lt. John deGeus, a graduating 3rd year Family Medicine Resident. “Nothing has made me happier throughout these years than taking care of patients, that has been my calling to medicine and working with such high caliber fellow residents, interns and family medicine staff has made it that much more special.”
Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton’s General Practice Residency trains dentists for one year in all disciplines of general dentistry in addition to managing patients in a hospital environment.
During the ceremony, Capt. Marta Tanaka, the Program Director for the Dental Residency challenged the graduates to inspire others.
“I want you to think about who has inspired you and what this person did to inspire you,” said Tanaka. “Now it is time for you to inspire others to achieve what you have achieved today.”
Navy dentists are licensed upon entry to the Navy and can immediately begin treating patients in dental clinics around the Navy and Marine Corps.
All graduates of this year’s General Practice Residency, which began in 1970, will be assigned to operational units with the Navy or Marine Corps.
This was the 12th year for the Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship. The physicians in this training are usually Family Medicine physicians returning to specialize in treating and preventing injuries frequently associated with intense physical activities.
“This is the Navy’s only primary care sports medicine fellowship. The Fellowship is an action packed year of sporting event coverage, working with orthopedic surgeons, podiatry, radiology, physical therapy, cardiology and sports nutrition,” said Cmdr. Todd May, the Program Director for the Sports Medicine Fellowship. “Whenever asked what team I take care of, I tell them I take care of the lowest paid professional athletes in the world, the United States Marines and it’s an honor to do so.”
The Postgraduate Year One Pharmacy Residency Program is an advanced training experience, focused on pharmacy practice in the clinical setting. The program at NHCP is one year in duration accredited by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists. It provides the knowledge and essential clinical skills to meet practice demands in specialty areas such as critical care, infectious disease, psychiatry, family medicine, cardiology, and disease management.
“As pharmacy residency training is becoming more crucial for pharmacists playing major roles in direct patient care, there continues to be a severe shortage of pharmacy residency positions with only half the applicants being accepted into accredited programs each year, however we are proud to continue to train future pharmacists at our teaching hospital and to play a small but crucial role in the advancement of that profession,” said Dr. Nahed Bahlawan, the Program Director for the Pharmacy Residency Program. “I think of how I survived my residency training a long, long time ago and how each one of you may feel the same way today. At that time I felt so accomplished and so strong willed that I thought I could take on anything the future had in store for me. Looking back at the challenges you have overcome, there were numerous victory days and infamous bad days. Think about the knowledge, experience and training you have gained. You have emerged wiser, smarter and stronger. Such knowledge is a true gift and is worth more than any qualification you have earned.”
Upon completion of the residency program, the pharmacist has gained an increased clinical pharmacy focus, able to better identify problems related to drug therapy and provide sound recommendations to the physician to overcome the problems, providing a higher quality of health care to the patient.
Air Force Capt. Esther Guard, the hospital’s Family Medicine Intern of the Year, is continuing her residency at NHCP and hopes to mentor next year’s interns. “I feel like my second year will bring on more responsibilities and I hope that I will be a great leader for the incoming interns,” said Guard.
For more information on Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton and its Family Medicine Residency Program, visit https://www.cpen.med.navy.mil.