A 3rd year student experiences the fun of medicine


Category : Medical Rants

The Nuts and Bolts of Third-Year Rotations

For those of you who did not know, I have now been on clinical rotations as a third year student for about a week and a half. I am on Internal Medicine now and for the next 6½ weeks. Some time will be spent in the clinic and some time will be spent in the hospital. It is absolutely great. I am truly glad that I stuck out the last two terrible years and made it to this point — what a relief.

I work with new 3rd year students every year. Every year they change quickly from angry nitpicking test obsessed jerks into very nice, polite and excited learners. Grab a random group of 3rd and 4th year students and you find happiness. Do not even bother with 2nd year students.

Our model of preclinical education is horrible. We discourage many potential good physicians from even entering medical school because the first 2 years are so miserable.

Why do why not reform our preclinical education? I suspect that we have no champions to challenge the inertia of our current system. Many schools work to reform their curriculum, but I do not see a wholesale attempt to decreasing the knowledge which we expect preclinical medical students to learn. We could do that. We could make the first two years more reasonable, and make certain that students really learn the important physiology, biochemistry, anatomy and not the advanced stuff which may or may not become relevant in the future. We could assume that physicians can learn new stuff after medical school.

I have ranted on this subject previously – What should we teach in the first 2 years of medical school? We do not do a good job of teaching the basics first – because we make it too complex too fast. Shame on us.

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Comments (1)

This isn’t a rant, this is gospel. Changing this is like the change from numeric/ABCDF grades to pass/fail, and even then, you in effect have the same thing in many schools with “high pass,” “honors pass,” etc. It will take not only highly visible champions but a generational shift, I’m afraid–too late for me.

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