This blog is about medical education in the US and around the world. My interest is in education research and the process of medical education.

The lawyers have asked that I add a disclaimer that makes it clear that these are my personal opinions and do not represent any position of any University that I am affiliated with including the American University of the Caribbean, the University of Kansas, the KU School of Medicine, Florida International University, or the FIU School of Medicine. Nor does any of this represent any position of the Northeast Georgia Medical Center or Northeast Georgia Health System.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A new blog: A Journey to Family Medicine

I would like to introduce you to one of my students. Brooke is a brand new fourth year medical student. I have known Brooke since the first month of medical school. She was assigned to my PBL (problem-based learning) group. This means that she and nine of her classmates were going to be meeting with me every month or so to work our way through a clinical case. Every basic science module has PBL cases. There are multiple purposes for these PBL groups: to learn about clinical medicine, applying basic science concepts to a patient case, to learn about the professional aspects of medicine, and to foster and promote interactions with medical school facutlty members. We get to do all of that and more.

The PBL groups are definitely one of my favorite parts about being a teaching faculty member. Our students come into school with such high expectations and aspirations. They are not cynical or jaded (yet). They have a lot of different motivations for medicine but generally have one thing in common--they want to help people. Usually, by the end of two years, I know these students pretty well. I learn about their families. It is great getting to know them individually as people, not just as students. I don't try to talk them into going into primary care, but they do get two years of listening to my opinions (for what that is worth).

So Brooke was in the last Family Medicine clerkship this year. By the time, I saw her, she had already taken Internal Medicine, Surgery, Geriatrics, Neurology, Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and OB/GYN. The students at the end of the year are an interesting group. Clinically, they are very accomplished. But often they are stressed. They are trying to decide what residency program they should try to get into. They are tired after a year of long clinical rotations. And, honestly, they are often a little cynical about the educational process and medicine. There is data that says that students' empathy and emotional intelligence falls throughout the third year.

But Brooke was excited. She could not wait to come to Family Medicine. She told me the first week that she had been thinking about it for a long time and had decided that Family Medicine was the specialty that she was going to choose. She is smart. She could do anything that she wanted to do. She is confident and poised. She is a class leader. Not formally, but informally. The other students on the rotation looked to her for leadership which she provided quietly without any fanfare. And she decided that she wanted to be a family doctor. I must tell you, that is one of the greatest thrills!

So, I asked her if she would write about her experience. She is going to blog from now until Match day and maybe beyond. She is going to write about her life and being a medical student. She is going to write about the process of applying to residency, interviewing, and the Match. I hope that if you work with medical students you will tell them about her blog. The name is: A Journey to Family Medicine.


  1. This is great! I will certainly follow her!

  2. i hope Brooke keeps her skills and 'help people'

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