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traditional vs. accelerated curriculum?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by whodamonkeyman?, Dec 20, 2001.

  1. whodamonkeyman?

    whodamonkeyman? Junior Member

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    I was just wondering what you guys think or know regarding the accelerated curriculums in schools such as UPenn and Duke. I have applied to these schools and have them as some of my top choices but am unsure as to whether they suit my learning and studying style (I tend to read slowly and learn better by repetion). I am concerned if all the basic science is crammed into one year, whether it is possible to learn all the info. any thoughts?
     
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  3. gujay11

    gujay11 Junior Member

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    if you have doubts regarding the curric. at these schools, you should really speak to the students there and get a sense of what to expect. I personally feel based on your stated study habits, you would be better of in a trad. curric. But i really could not tell you much about these schools in particular....
     
  4. Fanconi

    Fanconi Senior Member
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    I have a really hard time imagining how in the world you can fit the first two years of med school into one year. It baffles my mind.
     
  5. penelope

    penelope Member
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    A few words from a Blue Devil...


    The accelerated curriculum is intense, yes, but med school is intense anywhere and I'd sure rather spend one year in memorization hell than two!!! They don't expect us to learn all the details in one year that people at other schools do in two (though I can't imagine learning this stuff in any more detail than we already are - it's truly crazy). The real learning happens on the wards in the second year, where those encyclopedic facts actually start to sink in and get integrated in a meaningful way.


    Plus, we get the third year to pursue a thesis, enjoy some free time and flexibility, and reflect on where we're going in life. It's easy to get tunnel vision when you're working your butt off nonstop, and the third year is a much-needed reprieve. It's also a great chance for people interested in competetive specialties to make connections and enhance their resumes.


    There are, of course, a few drawbacks to this system...for example, the 72 total hours of lab time in gross anatomy...kinda impossible to do that perfect dissection...but somehow I seemed to learn the stuff, don't ask me how. And class all day, every day. The schedule is very intense. I just keep in mind that glorious third year, and drown my sorrows in another cup of espresso...


    Any other questions about Duke, etc., just ask!


    penelope :)
     
  6. Catherine

    Catherine Senior Member
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    I had no idea such a course was out there - on first impressions it seems like a move in the right direction.

    Guess I'm just being lazy - I should go looking for the web site with all the info - but could you tell me;
    (1) How many weeks in total is the course.
    (2) Is it over 3 years?
    (3) Is it one year of class, one year of clinicals, and one year thesis?
     
  7. Catherine

    Catherine Senior Member
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    "I am concerned if all the basic science is crammed into one year, whether it is possible to learn all the info. any thoughts?"

    Too many to list here. Think back to pre-med. Did you really need to take physics? How much orgo did you really need? And now it's just the same - all that biochem - what a waste of time.

    The bottom line is that you don't need to learn all the b/sciences in such detail. It's just hoop jumping and busy work.
     
  8. penelope

    penelope Member
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    Catherine, all the classroom work is completed in one 11-month year. This year is divided into 5 "blocks," which are organized sorta thematically. They try to boil down the info to the essentials, but I still think they could cut out some crap (e.g. biochem, which was a giant binge-and-purge fest for 8 weeks...though maybe that's how it is at most schools??).

    The second year (13 mos) is the rotations year.

    The third year is for the thesis and/or an MPH at UNC, masters of clinical research, starting the PhD, etc.

    The fourth year is like every other school's fourth year - clinical electives.

    The third year is definitely key...it's what keeps a lot of us going (including myself). :) Well, back to lecture. :(
     
  9. Catherine

    Catherine Senior Member
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    Penelope,
    Thanks for the info. Seems like a really great idea. It's certainly time medical education was changed, although I'm sure it will always contain a huge amount of rote memorization.

    I think anytime a top school, like Duke, makes innovative changes then others will always take notice. Perhaps such changes might be a catylst for further and more widespread updating of medical education.
     
  10. penelope

    penelope Member
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    Acually, we've had this curriculum over 20 years now, and not too many schools have copied it. It's good that there are different systems for different people and I'm sure some people wouldn't like the condensed curriculum, but I would be interested to hear conjectures on why more schools haven't switched to such a curriculum.
     
  11. whodamonkeyman?

    whodamonkeyman? Junior Member

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    Thanks for the input penelope.
    Just one more question, you said "They don't expect us to learn all the details in one year that people at other schools do in two (though I can't imagine learning this stuff in any more detail than we already are - it's truly crazy)." What are you basing this statement on - did you compare your coursework with that from another school, did you hear it from professors, students, or did you read it somewhere? I was trying to find out more on the curric. and was not able to find anything regarding this. Thanks again for your help.
     
  12. penelope

    penelope Member
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    We were told by the administration during the interview process and during orientation, etc. that the point of the Duke first year is to expose us to the essentials of each subject. To an extent, that's true. For example, other schools have an entire embryology course, whereas we address embyrology only briefly in our anatomy course and a bit in our physiology course.

    On the other hand, I have a hard time accepting that memorizing every step of nucleotide synthesis is "essential" to my medical education. So my point is, there is STILL crap they could cut out.
    Catherine is right, much of the med school curric. could be accomplished in undergrad. I learned physiology, embryology, etc. pretty solidly in undergrad, where testing focused on concepts, processes, and problem-solving...as opposed to the ridiculously superficial multiple-choice binge-and-purge-random-useless-facts that goes on in pretty much every med school.

    The point of preclinical year(s) of med school is not necessarily to teach you basic science, except maybe in courses like anatomy which most people don't take in undergrad. It's to develop your mental and physical stamina, groom you into thinking like a doctor, and expose you to the basics of common diseases so that when you go out into the wards you will be "primed" for the real learning experience.

    So don't worry about not learning enough basic science in a condensed program - you'll learn what you need to, and less of what you don't need to.

    whodamonkeyman?, if you are interested in talking more about Duke, why don't you PM me and I'd be happy to answer your questions.
     
  13. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior
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  14. UCLA2000

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    "$100 million. That's like all their NIH research grant money for one year. Things will grind to a screeching halt and the med school will never recover from the trauma. It would be suicidal"

    That's a pretty bold statement considering that Yale just spent A BILLION dollars on a new research institute. I'm sure that the med schools have their reasons for not following in Duke's footsteps.
     
  15. TheThroat

    TheThroat SDN Moderator
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    I went to Baylor College of Medicine, which has a 1.5 year accelerated curriculum. It was intense, but it made the decision-making process (residency) much easier. I had ample opportunity to take an elective, do research, and take time off during my fourth year. Also, I could take the Step 1 anytime during my third year, which made it much easier.
     
  16. junger

    junger Junior Member
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    I also asked the question "Why haven't other schools gone to the same curriculum model as Duke?" at my interview. The answer was "I don't know" but possible reasons given were that 20 years ago the curriculum was designed by new faculty members/hospital chairs who wanted to try a new way of medical education. He thought it turned out well but that other schools haven't gone to the same model just because they are used to doing it the old two-year way.

    Of course I get the comment from students at more tradition schools that they don't use *all* the stuff from the first and second years in the clinicals, but then again medical school also trains medical scientists not only practitioners (wonder what the ratio is here) so maybe the extra background is more beneficial to research types.
     
  17. tulanestudent

    tulanestudent Member
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    The "financial reasons" idea probably has some truth to it. I have to question whether some of our education is not being drug out a little too long with excessive breaks, like the 2 1/2 month off between 1st and 2nd year, the extra 3 months built into 4th year. Right there is an easy 5 months they could cut out and at the over $30K/year private schools charge, that's a good chunk of money they'd loose. I understand Duke's program sounds like it has some free-time built in too, but at least its all in one big chunk so they can do something truly productive with some of it. I think it sounds like a great system!
     
  18. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior
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