Rhode Island Hospital

Rhode Island Hospital has added another major research center to its portfolio. The new center will focus on stem cell biology.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The nation spends billions of dollars every year training future doctors. But health care experts worry we’re still not training enough doctors to prevent a serious shortage.

Next in our Future Docs series, we explore the problem and some possible solutions.

Brian Drolet is a fourth year plastic surgery resident at Rhode Island Hospital. He’s originally from New Hampshire, and went to medical school at Vanderbilt University. He says he’s drawn to plastic surgery because of the variety of cases.

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Rhode Island’s hospital emergency rooms are coping with an unusually high surge of patients suffering from the flu. But what’s driving that increase?

Most people who catch this season’s flu will spend several uncomfortable days shivering in bed. But those who get hit particularly hard can end up in the hospital, needing fluids or suffering from a high fever. And right now, says Dr. Brian Zink, head of emergency medicine for Rhode Island and The Miriam Hospitals, those hit hard by the flu are making for very busy emergency rooms. The reason? The season.

After medical school, most doctors go through a kind of on-the-job training called residency. Residency programs have been around for a while, but some recent changes in those programs are impacting not only how residents practice but how patients receive care. So in the next Future Docs story, we take a look at residency from two angles. First, we meet third year general surgery resident Anne Kuritzky, who takes us on morning rounds on the surgical intensive care unit. Then, I join our Morning Edition host Elisabeth Harrison in the studio to talk about the showdown ahead on Capitol Hill over residency program funding and the changing needs driving residency specialization.