Early clinical exposure in med school, good or bad?

Ski2Doc

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I have interviewd at some schools, both md and do and they all had clinical exposure/actually seeing patients, start as early as one month into med school!

I loved this b/c i thought that "wow i'll just start school and right away i will see patients".

However, a student recently pointed out to me that this the worst thing for you. Before your 3rd year you dont need clinical exposure, you will get plenty during your last 2 years.
What you DO need in your first 2 years is time to study.
Early clinicals=one day per week of not studying basic science=less time to study for STEP 1, which is ALL basic sciences and no clinicals.

Anyone agree with me? I am reevaluating my excitement about early clinicals now, should I?
 

ShyRem

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I think it depends on the person. After being in the field as a paramedic, clinical exposure is important to me. It allows me to put together the big picture about why I'm learning the basic sciences and how they will enable me to see what's really going on.

Others might not want to see that or may be overwhelmed by learning all the sciences and learning how to deal with patients at the same time. It depends on you. Don't let anyone take away your excitement.
 

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ShyRem said:
I think it depends on the person. After being in the field as a paramedic, clinical exposure is important to me. It allows me to put together the big picture about why I'm learning the basic sciences and how they will enable me to see what's really going on.

Others might not want to see that or may be overwhelmed by learning all the sciences and learning how to deal with patients at the same time. It depends on you. Don't let anyone take away your excitement.
I agree with ShyRem, early exposure is valuable to some while others would prefer to wait and focus on the academic portion first. IMHO, early clinical exposure is vital to the learning experience in many ways. My first year of Physical Therapy school was full of part-time clinical experiences which coincided with the subject material we were covering at that time. Learning about a clinical presentation from a book is one thing, actually seeing it in real life is something totally different. I'm all about practical learning coupled with the book learning. But, thats just my $0.02. :thumbup:
 

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I read the title of this thread and thought, "How could it possibly be bad???" After seeing reasoning behind thinking early clinical exposure is bad I can really see both sides. I think for those who have little experience working with the public early clinical exposure is vital. There is a lot more to working with people than fixing their ailments...a lot more. For people who have years of experience working with people the early exposure may not be so important.

If the clinical time was somehow interlinked with the classroom time, like Fozziewan suggested the time with patients would be much more useful. There is no question that students learn more by reading, hearing and doing. Thus, supplementing basic science lectures and notes with time with patients explaining how the ideas presented in lecture manifest in a particular illness in a particular patient would certainly encourage students to retain and understand the usefulness of the early coursework.

I don't think the early clinical time is focused on explaining and including the basic science material. It seems to be more about learning to work with and talk to patients. This is important because patients aren't always going to be appreciatie of you efforts. Many won't take their pills, do their PT exercises, lose weight..and so on....many if not most will be noncompliant with the doc's orders. It's important to realize this early on, that being a doctor is all helping people. Sometimes it's just a job, like any other.

It all depends on the student, their persona and their background.
 

USArmyDoc

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For me, early clinical exposures are an important aspect I look for in a school. Unless you have experience like ShyRem, I think most of us will be nervous/apprehensive the first time we meet a patient and HAVE to care for them. Just my opinion.
 

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good because it reminds us why we're in school and will probably keep me motivated. my understanding is that lots of students hate the first two years because it doesn't seem relevant -- having clinical exposure in those years would probably prevent that a bit.
 

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I could also understand both sides, but for me... early clinical exposure is a reminder of what you'll actually be doing in your career and your life... during med school you'll study your ass off... after that, it's all practical application of clinical stuff, I think the early exposure can inspire confidence and help you feel more at ease when working with patients as soon as possible... and it's not like you're unsupervised or anything!!
Also, for a lot of schools, you start out only doing a few hrs a week, then (like at AZCOM) you can do community service while you're learning and get paid for it... all for "playing" doctor...
:p
 

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Ski2Doc said:
I have interviewd at some schools, both md and do and they all had clinical exposure/actually seeing patients, start as early as one month into med school!

I loved this b/c i thought that "wow i'll just start school and right away i will see patients".

However, a student recently pointed out to me that this the worst thing for you. Before your 3rd year you dont need clinical exposure, you will get plenty during your last 2 years.
What you DO need in your first 2 years is time to study.
Early clinicals=one day per week of not studying basic science=less time to study for STEP 1, which is ALL basic sciences and no clinicals.

Anyone agree with me? I am reevaluating my excitement about early clinicals now, should I?
it can be good if you don't want to feel like a dumb ass when the doc tells you to go see patients on your first rotation in your 3rd yr
 

TheFish005

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"Early clinical exposure" could simply mean a clinical med class that teaches you how to take a good H&P. At COMP, we see mock patients about every other week to practice our H&P skills to get us ready for 3rd and 4th year. We aren't really diagnosing and treating real live patients; we are going through the motions so that when we do see real live patients, we don't look like complete morons who have no idea how to do a good H&P. also, during this class, we have case studies to start thinking clinically and working out a differential diagnosis. I don't look at is as time away from studying, heck everyone needs a little time off anyway. i look at it as a way to practice my skills and remember why i'm here in the first place (we tend to lose sight of that when inundated with the vast amount of material we're expected to take in). it helps to integrate everything we're learning during first and second year. the ultimate goal is to be a good doctor, not whether or not you remember every minute detail about purine synthesis/degradation.
 

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Ski2Doc said:
I have interviewd at some schools, both md and do and they all had clinical exposure/actually seeing patients, start as early as one month into med school!

I loved this b/c i thought that "wow i'll just start school and right away i will see patients".

However, a student recently pointed out to me that this the worst thing for you. Before your 3rd year you dont need clinical exposure, you will get plenty during your last 2 years.
What you DO need in your first 2 years is time to study.
Early clinicals=one day per week of not studying basic science=less time to study for STEP 1, which is ALL basic sciences and no clinicals.

Anyone agree with me? I am reevaluating my excitement about early clinicals now, should I?
No, you don't need that extra day to study. Dumbest thing I've heard all week.
 

mamitch4

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Early clinical experience and patient exposure is essential, hence most schools offer it.
Hopefully, when you are in medical school you will not have your face buried in a book 24/7. Extracurricular activities, community service, leadership experiences, research, and patient exposure may or may not help you pass Step I, but they will make you a more well-rounded person and probably a better doctor.
Good luck.
 
OP
Ski2Doc

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All of you dont get my point.

Ofcoarse clinical exposure is VERY important, the question is, is it important in your 1st 2 years. I want to interact with patients i would love that, but i would rather enjoy my extra time i would have if i were to study that day, precisely b/c i dont want to study 24/7.

I think that you get enuf exp in your last 2 years, not even mentioning your residency.

No?
 

TheFish005

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I disagree. The more experience you get the better. The earlier you get it, the better. Blundering your way through a H&P as a 1st or 2nd year with a fake patient is better than doing so with a real patient during 3rd year. All of our profs tell us that the average time it takes a 3rd year student to do his or her very first real H&P is 2-3 hours. The more experience you have before that point, the better you'll be when it really matters.
 

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Ski2Doc said:
All of you dont get my point.

Ofcoarse clinical exposure is VERY important, the question is, is it important in your 1st 2 years. I want to interact with patients i would love that, but i would rather enjoy my extra time i would have if i were to study that day, precisely b/c i dont want to study 24/7.

I think that you get enuf exp in your last 2 years, not even mentioning your residency.

No?
If you have no prior clinical experience before entering the 3rd year, you will:

1. Look like a complete moron

2. Make terrible clinical grades

3. Not get into residencies that see how incompetent you are

4. Get made fun of by everyone

--> it is ESSENTIAL that you get some experience before you are actually expected to know how to do things





P.S. You wouldn't study any more/less if you had that extra time, and even so, it wouldn't affect your grades anyway.
 

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OSUdoc08 said:
If you have no prior clinical experience before entering the 3rd year, you will:

1. Look like a complete moron

2. Make terrible clinical grades

3. Not get into residencies that see how incompetent you are

4. Get made fun of by everyone

--> it is ESSENTIAL that you get some experience before you are actually expected to know how to do things





P.S. You wouldn't study any more/less if you had that extra time, and even so, it wouldn't affect your grades anyway.
I agree w/ this 100%....well said. IMHO, while pre-clinical grades are important and you must grasp board material, your clinical grades are a HUGE factor for residency matching.
 

kaikai128

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Taus said:
I agree w/ this 100%....well said. IMHO, while pre-clinical grades are important and you must grasp board material, your clinical grades are a HUGE factor for residency matching.
I'll Third it. Motion passed.

There are weeks that I am stressed out, and being able to spend one afternoon with patients makes it worth it. It is an amazing reminder of why we are putting ourselves through all this and what the purpose really is. It is grounding, centering, and focusing. If you don't like/want the clinical situations now, I think you should reconsider your goal of being a clinician.