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Mercer School of Medicine graduate enters workforce in midst of pandemic

Rachel Albrecht will care for a wide range of patients in her Family Medicine Residency at Navicent Health

MACON, Ga. — The COVID-19 school closings were a major adjustment for medical students like Rachel Albrecht.

"We learned about pandemics in school, but this is the first pandemic we've had since the flu and that was 1918, over 100 years ago," she said.

Her last semester at the Mercer School of Medicine went from training in hospitals to learning from home.

"We've been ending the year doing online medical school, so that was really hard for us, because we want to be in the hospitals. We want to see people, we want to be helping," she said.

Her instructors still found ways to teach their students about the virus.

"We would take the pulmonary or cardiac cases that we were working on already and kind of incorporate that, so what if this person came in a tested positive for COVID -- how would that change our treatment plan?" Albrecht said.

Albrecht is graduating from a three-year accelerated program. 

She will begin her medical career as a Family Medicine Resident at Navicent Health in Macon.

"I think it's probably going to be a lot busier of a start than the regular business of starting intern year, but I feel ready to help and ready to take on some of the burden of this pandemic that my fellow healthcare workers have been facing," Albrecht said.

This July, she'll start caring after a wide range of patients from children and women to the elderly in the midst of the pandemic.

"We're learning how to constantly adjust what we're doing when we learn new information whether that just be better treatments or whether that be fighting a new disease like this," Albrecht said.

Albrecht will graduate in their virtual commencement ceremony on Saturday at 2 p.m.


Mercer medical students start GACovidSitters to help healthcare workers with child care

Coronavirus in Georgia | 26,033 confirmed cases, up by 399 overnight