For medical students, clinical rotations are an important part of their path to becoming a physician. Five students are spending from four weeks to six months working with Bothwell physicians and seeing a broad range of patients within the system, which includes the hospital and specialty clinics.
At Bothwell Regional Health Center, five students are spending from four weeks to six months working with physicians and seeing a broad range of patients within the system, which includes the hospital and specialty clinics.
Bothwell has hosted medical students since 2018. Dr. Philip Fracica, Bothwell’s chief medical officer and medical student program supervisor, said there are several reasons why Bothwell has the program.
“The general reason is to do our part to help train new doctors,” he said. “It’s also particularly good for our community if any of them end up practicing here, which some do. We are currently negotiating with two residency program doctors who both trained at Bothwell during medical school and decided to practice here because of that.”
Fracica said most of the students at Bothwell this year are in their third year of medical school and are acquiring basic hands-on experience with specialties like internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, and general surgery. Students usually do three to five specialties and work with around four to six doctors.
“Many students prefer to obtain their training at community hospitals like Bothwell because there are fewer trainees here at any one time,” he said. “Students generally get considerably more hands-on experience than is possible at a large university teaching hospital.”
This year’s group includes Logan Fluty, Jessica Sterner and Danielle Yantis who are students at the University of Missouri School of Medicine in Columbia. The trio also are Bryant Scholars, which is a component of the university’s Area Health Education Center Rural Track Pipeline Program. The Bryant Scholars Pre-Admission Program encourages young people from rural backgrounds to pursue a medical education.
The other two students are Alexandra Cooke from Des Moines University School of Medicine in Iowa, and Junwoo Lee from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.
All of the students are interested in learning and practicing in a rural, community environment, Fracica said.
“Each student selected Bothwell as their preferred site,” he said. “Many have ties to either Sedalia or mid-Missouri. They are all enthusiastic and eager to complete their training so they can start to make a difference in their communities and the lives of their patients and neighbors.”
As a 10-year-old, Logan Fluty spent a week hospitalized as a patient at Bothwell Regional Health Center. That experience and the relationships he formed with his doctors and nurses had a tremendous impact on him and influenced his decision to choose medicine as a career.
“I really looked up to all of the doctors and nurses who took care of me,” he said. “The idea of serving people in that same way has been at the forefront of my mind ever since. My love for science and problem solving also contributed to my choice.”
Fluty, 24, is a third-year student at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. His first rotation specialty was with Dr. Stephanie Lind at Bothwell TLC Pediatrics.
“Every single day has been a learning experience,” he said. “Dr. Lind has shown me the importance of knowing your patients on a personal level. She also emphasizes that this career is one of lifelong learning and that it’s important to stay up-to-date.”
Fluty is no stranger to Sedalia, either. He grew up here and his family, including his parents, Joe and Joy Fluty, is here. Logan and his wife, Beth, have an eight-month-old daughter, Hildegard, and while they normally live in Columbia, they are spending the next several months in Sedalia.
“My parents are pretty excited to have their granddaughter nearby,” he said. “Beth and I are enjoying Sedalia together. It’s a nice balance between rural and close to Columbia and Kansas City. It’s convenient for many big-city amenities, which extends to having benefits in the medical realm, as well.”
A volunteer opportunity at a hospital after her freshman in high school cemented Jessica Sterner’s desire to care for people as a career.
“I went into volunteering with an open mind, mostly to see what medicine is about,” she said. “I ended up loving my experience and knew that I wanted to care for patients as a career. I went to Mizzou as pre-med for my undergraduate and every experience I had just further confirmed that medicine was right for me.”
Sterner, 24, is a third-year student at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. She said as an undergraduate at Mizzou, she joined the Bryant Scholars program because of her passion about caring for rural Missouri. Her long-term goal is to return to her hometown of Union, Missouri.
“My family has owned a farm in Union since the mid-1800s and mine was one of the town’s founding families,” she said. “I feel fortunate to have grown up on a farm within walking distance of family, which is so important to me. I want to give back to the community that raised me.”
Sterner started her rotation with Dr. Jeffrey Sharp at Bothwell Family Medicine Associates. She will also work with Bothwell’s hospitalist and pediatric physicians. So far, she said she has learned the value of practicing medicine in a small community.
“Many of the physicians that I have had the privilege to work with are very involved in the community,” she said. “They have unique relationships with their patients because of how close the community is here. I aspire to be the type of leader that I have seen the physicians here be.”
A fascination with science, an eagerness to learn, and a desire to provide both medical and emotional care to people when they need it most is what led Danielle Yantis to medicine.
Yantis, 24, is a third-year student at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. She is from Perryville, Missouri, a town of about 8,500.
“Proximity to family is very important to me,” she said. “I would like to eventually move back to southeast Missouri.”
Her first rotation specialty at Bothwell has been with Dr. Michael Carozza at Bothwell OB/GYN Associates learning about obstetrics and gynecology.
“Throughout my time spent with Dr. Carozza, I have learned from observation that providing empathy and compassion is of the utmost importance,” she said.
Alexandra Cooke, 28, is from Lincoln, Missouri, and is a fourth-year student at Des Moines University School of Medicine. She is rotating at Bothwell all year and is thankful for the opportunity.
“Due to COVID-19, many training institutions are not allowing students,” she said. “So, I am lucky to be at such an accommodating place. Everyone has been incredibly helpful at Bothwell.”
Cooke wants to specialize in family medicine and return to rural Missouri to practice. Having grown up in a nearby community, she said it has been interesting coming back to Sedalia as an adult and seeing how things have changed and how others have stayed the same.
“It has been really neat to see the rejuvenation downtown and the new businesses that are coming into Sedalia,” she said. “But I love that Sedalia still has a sense of community.”
Junwoo Lee is a third-year student at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. He worked with Dr. Assad Shaffiey for four weeks in early fall at Bothwell TLC Pediatrics.
Lee, 29, was born and raised in South Korea and immigrated to the United States in 2009. He said he chose medicine because it constantly evolves and refines itself with new studies and technologies.
“In such ways, medicine provides me with daily opportunities to challenge myself intellectually,” he said. “I also chose it because I love how modern medicine has been designed to help people with the best resources available in society. I love the feeling I get when I’m able to make a difference in people’s lives.”
When asked what he learned during his time at Bothwell, Lee said patience, humility and the importance of listening.
“I have a lot more to learn,” he said. “It takes time, patience and effort. I’ve also learned to examine patients thoroughly but also focus on their needs and really listen to them.”
Dr. Philip Fracica, Bothwell’s chief medical officer and medical student program supervisor, said while the program’s primary goal is to be a training resource for new doctors, the program has reciprocal benefits for the hospital.
“Our physicians enjoy the opportunity to teach and the challenge of presenting the most up-to-date information about their specialties and patient cases to the students,” he said. “We also enjoy the opportunity to gain their perspective and build relationships with this new generation of physicians, whether or not they choose to practice in this area.”