Clinical Learning Environment
The Emergency Medicine clinical experiences occur at the two hospitals within the USA Health system, University Hospital and Children’s & Women’s Hospital. Each hospital has an emergency department with visits in the range of 40,000 per year. The emergency department at Children's & Women's Hospital is focused entirely on pediatric patients. The ED at University Hospital is the Level I trauma center for both adult and pediatric trauma patients. Each ED has 24-hour attending physician coverage and two attendings for most hours.
The emergency departments are a combination of high-acuity tertiary referral-type cases along with general ED or county hospital-type patients.
University Hospital is an acute-care facility serving as the major referral center for southwest Alabama, southeast Mississippi and portions of northwest Florida. We are one of two Level 1 trauma centers in the state, and the only one between New Orleans and Tallahassee. The hospital provides high-quality care in cardiac, orthopedic, stroke and other emergencies.
We are the second busiest trauma center in the state of Alabama. It has a very high acuity level, rated in the top 10 percent in the country out of comparison academic medical centers. Over 80 percent of the inpatients at University Hospital are admitted through the emergency department. The ED has a 28 percent admission rate, with a high proportion of those patients going directly to the OR or admitted to an ICU.
A Top Performer on Key Quality Measures by The Joint Commission, University Hospital is a Level I Trauma Center, Certified Stroke Center, Center for Cardiovascular Excellence and includes the Arnold Luterman Regional Burn Center.
The 27,000-square-foot Fanny Meisler Trauma Center, which opened early 2021, is a modern marvel for emergency departments. It boasts a brand-new CT scanner and X-ray suite with direct access through the trauma bay, enormous resuscitation rooms, numerous negative pressure rooms, dedicated OB/GYN, ENT, and eye rooms, as well as a large physician dictation area.
Tour the new trauma center/ED: Dr. Larry Mellick, professor of emergency medicine, gives us a tour of the completed Fanny Meisler Trauma Center.
Located about five minutes from University Hospital, Children’s & Women’s Hospital is the only pediatric emergency department in the region and one of few freestanding hospitals in the United States devoted to the needs of women and children. It has the Gulf Coast region’s only local pediatric ICU and Level III neonatal ICU. The attendings in the pediatric emergency department are all faculty in the Department of Emergency Medicine. The 152-bed hospital provides highly regarded emergent, surgical, oncological, and acute care to women and children. A new, state-of-the-art emergency department is planning to be built within a couple of years to enhance pediatric emergency care in the region.
The University of South Alabama has multiple simulation centers, representing a multi-million-dollar investment in those facilities. The largest center, at 39,000 square feet, opened in March 2020 on the main university campus. It features high-tech mannequins, mock resuscitation rooms, and classrooms that allow for small group discussions and procedural demonstrations. The modern classrooms are fitted with large plasma screens.
We take simulation seriously. We have multiple simulation sessions and cadaver lab every few months. The residents thoroughly enjoy going to simulation, and the beautiful facility makes it even more engaging.
The EM residency has a close working relationship with the regional EMS services. The medical directors of both Mobile City EMS and Mobile County EMS services are on our faculty. We also have a close working relationship with the 911 county dispatch system. This allows for robust EMS and other prehospital clinical experiences. A formal relationship with one of the local aero-medical providers provides the option of experience within the helicopter transport system.