SHA is just what the doctor ordered for new physician

Dr. Laurence James is settling in as a new physician at Sweetwater Hospital Association.

A New York-native’s passion for medicine, advice from the man he replaced and a little warm weather and the beauty of Tennessee helped Sweetwater Hospital Association (SHA) land a new doctor.

It is a competitive world for hospitals when it comes to landing outstanding young physicians like Dr. Laurence James, who recently began his internal medical practice at SHA. It’s also a competitive world for doctors who want to practice at the best hospitals. So both SHA and James are very happy with the way things worked out.

But you have to go back a few years to know how a young man from Brooklyn ended up in Sweetwater.

James graduated from Hunter College in New York. He was a researcher for a year but when it came time to choose a medical school, the contrast between the cold weather in Buffalo and the much milder weather in Nashville brought James to Vanderbilt.

James had trudged through the snow at the University of Buffalo visiting the Medical School there just days before he was in Nashville visiting the Vanderbilt University Medial School on a 74-degree February day. And it was not just the warm weather that had James liking Vanderbilt.

“The facilities there were amazing,” he said.

After James completed his studies at Vanderbilt, he trained in medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. That’s when a recruiter told him about the opening at Sweetwater Hospital. Longtime and popular physician Dr. Thomas Evans had just retired from SHA after practicing for about 40 years there.

Ironically, Evans had gone to Vanderbilt and had family in the Cleveland area. Evans told James he would be happy to talk to him about Sweetwater Hospital Association.

James thought they might talk a few minutes on the telephone, however, they wound up talking for about three hours face to face when Evans came to Cleveland.

When Evans described the atmosphere and how medicine was practiced in Sweetwater, it sounded, well, just like what the doctor had ordered for James.

“I wanted to build relationships and get to know patients for a long time,” James said. “That’s what it was like with my doctor.”

James said when he interviewed for most positions, about three or four people from the hospital would come meet with him. James said about 30 people from SHA met with him.

He was soon sold on coming to Sweetwater to practice the personal type of medicine he believes in.

Rave reviews are already coming in. A long-time patient of Evans told SHA administrators how impressed her mother was with the new doctor when he sat on the bed with her and talked for a long time.

SHA Administrator Scott Bowman is pleased to have James on board.

“Sweetwater Hospital Association is thrilled to welcome Dr. James to our team of experienced medical staff members,” Bowman said. “He joins us with a strong focus in internal medicine, and we are confident he will add to the, already, high-quality patient care we provide to our patients.”

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