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Internship 101 prepares students for
intern year, residency experiences
by Cindy Abole
As fourth-year medical students complete final clinical rotations of
spring semester and await the results of their residency matches, some
also will prepare themselves to become lifelong learners and
teachers, as well as interns of medicine.
Internship 101 is a new elective program jointly established by medical
students and College of Medicine (COM) faculty to enhance learning and
supplement the medical school’s fourth-year curriculum with practical
credit courses. These courses address other areas of medicine
categorized under business, clinical and professional education.
This pilot concept is similar to other mandatory “capstone” educational
weekends or monthly events organized at other medical schools. It is
designed to involve fourth-year medical students, faculty and
instructors in an interdisciplinary approach to active learning.
“Internship 101 will provide a solid teaching and learning plan for
students in an active learning environment,” said Zeke Walton, a
fourth-year medical student and one of the program originators. “It
offers something we, as medical students, are always looking for —the
opportunity to interact and engage with others.”
Internship 101 was developed in the continuing medical education (CME)
style that offers participants session choices in two course periods
between March and April.
Students can choose from more than 45 sessions in a variety of
categories, including courses on managing student loans and personal
debt (business/financial), an interprofessional skills simulation
workshop (clinical), and surviving surgery internship
(professional education) courses.
Each course is conducted during a two-week period. Students receive 2.5
credit hours for each elective course, along with a requirement to
complete 30 hours of classroom instruction. If students elect to
participate in both course periods, they must complete 60 hours of
classroom instruction to receive five credit hours.
Walton, along with fellow fourth-year COM students, Robert Shapiro and
Lewis Cooper, came up with the concept. They wanted it to be a way to
supplement curricula that corresponds to real-life experiences and
responsibilities, which medical school graduates are expected to gain
in their internship and residency years.
“We felt some things were still missing in the medical school
curriculum that we felt would help us prepare for our internship year
and specific residencies,” Walton said, COM Class of 2008 student body
president. “We asked ourselves questions like: what other skills and
knowledge is expected of fourth-year medical students? What would
professors and residency coordinators want us to know?”
The trio approached Jeff Wong, M.D., senior associate dean for medical
education, last summer with the idea. The group formed an Internship
101 working committee headed by Jerry Ondo, Ph.D., professor emeritus,
Department of Neurosciences, and Elisha Brownfield, M.D., associate
professor, Department of General Internal Medicine. Both previously
collaborated as co-instructors with the successful third-year clinical
medicine course, which emphasized a strong basic science foundation
with clinical experiences. By fall, Barbara Bozarth, director of
Clinical Coordination and Medical Student Career Advancement, joined
the team as program manager.
“The medical faculty and staff have always prided themselves on
listening to, and getting feedback from, our students,” said Wong, who
along with other faculty, already was looking at fourth-year curriculum
reform. “Our faculty and staff know what it takes for our students to
become effective physicians. We want to create courses and curricula
that correspond to learning objectives that will help our students be
successful at every stage of their medical education.”
To recruit faculty as instructors or session coordinators, organizers
offered a call for submissions from faculty and instructors to submit
their session ideas and work reflecting their medical and professional
expertise—similar to what’s done in planning an academic CME meeting.
It’s also an opportunity for experts to showcase their clinical and
academic accomplishments, and create a product that can be shared
within their field or serve as a stepping stone for further development
of a specific teaching curriculum, Wong said. Residency program
directors and coordinators also were invited to provide input in course
“We try to do things that will be mutually beneficial for students and
teachers,” Wong said. “It should be a win-win for everyone involved.
We’re looking forward to this project with tremendous anticipation.”
According to Walton, one of the biggest hurdles was putting a big
concept into a small timeframe. Walton and members of the planning
committee managed to crunch more than a year’s worth of planning into
an eight month timeframe, of which five months was devoted to course
development. The goal was to offer the program to students in spring
2008. So far, student recruitment has been conducted through student
e-mails and word-of-mouth.
“We’ve assembled a great group of people to teach these courses,” said
Bozarth. “We hope it will be one of the best clinical experiences for
Internship 101 primarily is open to fourth-year medical students.
Although some sessions have a limited capacity, other sessions may
accommodate larger classes.
Students can register online at http://academicdepartments.musc.edu/com1/current/yr4/year4.htm
(search under “important fourth-year information—Internship 101”).
Friday, Feb. 15, 2008
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