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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Tale of 3 Medical Students

A Tale of 3 Medical Students

Here’s how medical school works…The first 2 years of medical school cover the acquisition of medical knowledge.  This occurs through lectures, reading, study, and testing.  The acquisition of this knowledge occurs through individual interaction and involvement with the subject matter.  The last 2 years of medical school include monthly clinical rotations at hospitals and clinics in the subspecialty areas of Medicine.  The student treats patients under the supervision of residents, faculty, and attending physicians.  Supervised clinical practice uses the knowledge acquired from the first 2 years of school on real patients for the last 2 years.  Here are examples of how 3 real medical students approached their learning.

 “John” attended the University of Illinois Medical School in the early 1970s, earning the honorary designation of “James Scholar”.  This honor entitled him to the exclusive use of a study carrel at the medical school, and the privilege of designing his own course of study, as long as he passed all requirements and exams.  John’s method of study involved reading each medical text book cover to cover, not attending class, and graduating in 3 years.

 “Mary” attended a US medical school in the South.  Her method of study for the first 2 years was as follows.  She listened to her online class lectures at an accelerated rate of speed on her computer.  She varied her locations between her apartment, Starbucks, and Panera Bread Company.  Her clinical rotations were taken at a variety of hospitals and clinics in the greater metro area around her medical school.

 “Joe” attended An international medical school.  He attended class lectures, read, studied, and took exams.  His clinical rotations took place in the New York City metropolitan area for the last 2 years of medical school.

 These 3 students each had a different approach to the didactic portion of their medical knowledge.  The clinical rotations were a fairly uniform experience, all taken in the US.  They all graduated from accredited medical schools with an MD degree.  They all passed USMLE parts I and II.  They all applied for residency through NRMP.  Haven’t they all fulfilled their side of the “Social Contract”?  Don’t they all deserve the opportunity to complete the final step in their training?