Last fall, four UBC medical students began a full year of clinical training at Royal Inland Hospital (RIH) for their third year clerkship rotation. This was the first time medical students would spend an entire year training at the hospital and in the community. Eleven months in, the pilot has received excellent feedback from both students and physicians and accolades for the hard work invested by program staff and hospital administration.
An anticipated four to eight students will complete the Kamloops rotation each year. Each student rotates through 10 different specialties ranging from emergency medicine to surgery to dermatology. “It is great having them here for the entire year,” says Dr. Ian Mitchell, emergency physician. “You recognize them and can call them over to see interesting cases.”
As a small group of learners, the students gain remarkable exposure to clinical experiences and one-on-one teaching from their preceptors. “As the only learner in your specialty at any given point, you don’t have to sit on the sideline and watch,” says Kristy Cho, third year student. “You are given a lot of flexibility to pursue your own interests while getting a lot of hands-on experience.”
More than 100 physicians are actively involved with teaching in the program at RIH. “We’ve had a great number of physicians step up to teach with the program and the feedback has been incredibly positive,” says Dr. Anise Barton, general surgeon and co-site education lead.
A core group of physician leaders help manage the daily flow of students and assist with program planning and exams for the students. “The ratio of leaders to the students allows us to know them very well and be intimately involved in their growth and development,” adds Dr. Gerhard Schumacher, family physician and co-site education lead.
“Kamloops is a big enough centre to see lots of different pathologies, get exposed to lots of specialists, and serves a fairly broad population base,” says Kulveer Parhar, third year student. “The smaller number of learners is a definite strength as the physicians know your name and are excited to shed their knowledge on you.”
For the physicians involved with the program, clinical teaching is either a new or renewed experience but one which they enjoy. “The students come up with the most interesting questions and it makes you learn new stuff about old things,” says Dr. Dick Lewis, dermatologist. “I love the experience and watching their enthusiasm.”
Students from the Southern Medical Program’s inaugural class will begin clinical training at RIH in early September 2013.