FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For doctors, the significance of the white coat ceremony is monumental. It's especially meaningful for Dr. Faiz Kusumo who graduated from Clovis West, and after more than eight years of college and medical school has returned home.
"To come back and serve the community that I grew up in is something I've always wanted to do."
Dr. Kusumo is part of a class of students from across the country who will be doing hospital rounds and clinic work while being mentored by veteran doctors.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. W. Eugene Egerton said, "This is another way that we can contribute by providing a new generation of physicians, hopefully, a significant portion will choose to stay in the Central Valley and practice here."
There's a shortage of primary care physicians in the Central Valley, so the program is also a way to introduce the new doctors to the area. By the end of their time at Saint Agnes, the residents will be ready to practice internal medicine or move on to other specialties.
St. Agnes Resident Dr. Jerrica Mueller said, "They work us almost 80 hours a week. But really, it's hands-on training-- from the moment we get here we have preceptors that guide us and so they really want to see us succeed."
"We're going to teach them to manage patients from their hospital bed through the ambulatory setting and that way, it will be very much like what happens when you are out there practicing in real life," said Dr. Egerton.
The doctors will work in many areas of the hospital, getting experience in everything from ICU, to emergency, radiology, and telemetry.
"It's such a blessing. It's the culmination of a lot of hard work but really the hard work is just beginning," said Mueller.
Inaugural class of Internal Medicine Residents at Saint Agnes given their white coats