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Will Recent UMC Grads Stay in Mississippi?

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 27 May 2011 04:35pm | comments
Hundreds of black robed students prepare to get their degrees.

Hundreds of newly graduated doctors, dentists and nurses from the University Of Mississippi Medical Center are about to enter the workforce....but how many will stay in Mississippi where their skills are sorely needed? MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports.

The University Of Mississippi Medical Center awarded more than 600 degrees in medicine, dentistry, nursing and other health fields at their recent graduation.

Mississippi frequently ranks among the most unhealthy and obese states....and Dean of the Medical school Dr. James Keeton says he works hard to convince their students to stay in the state.

"We tell them we got problems here and we got opportunities. We have got so many problems with medical disease for instance and oral disease and we need nurses and we need help. And there is a part to all this that has more to do than money and job satisfaction, it has to do with caring about this state. So we play that card and it is the truth," Keeton said.

Keeton says 80-percent of medical students who do their residency in Mississippi stay here but thinks the state is facing a long term struggle to draw medical professionals.

Many of the student's who marched out clutching their new degrees are Mississippi natives

Following the graduation, Rasheda Jordan of Purvis, who earned her masters as a nurse practitioner, explained that her desire to help her home state is a big reason to stay.

"Mississippi needs family practice physicians and nurse practitioners, we have a shortage. So I definitely want to stay in Mississippi and help the rural communities.

Some of these graduates will go out of state to do a residency or gain a special skill, and only half will return to practice in Mississippi.

Brandon Foles from Petal earned his medical Degree and will move to Florida to learn to become a surgeon but is unsure if he will come back.

"There are pretty competitive jobs here, there is lot of good family areas, and we are from the area. So a lot of that means we would definitely entertain coming back. But that is 5 years from now so we need to see where our road takes us," Foles said.

Because much of the state is very rural and it can be difficult to get services in many areas or convince young primary care doctors to set up shop there.

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Hundreds of black robed students prepare to get their degrees.


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