As a first year student, clinic can sometimes seem like a beast, waiting in the shadows for attack. You know it’s there, you know it gets closer every day, and while part of you is curious to meet this legendary beast, the other part of you screaming, “Run. You’re not ready for this!”
To combat this, Life West has implemented the Clinically Inspired Learning program. This program begins with our freshmen and introduces them to all the aspects of being in clinic. Typically, the first quarter at Life West starts with a heavy workload. As the quarters pass, the workload slowly tapers off, then as clinic approaches, it becomes heavy once again. The idea is that introducing freshmen to clinic early allows them to become more familiar with the layout, the doctors, paperwork and procedures. This familiarity will hopefully leave room for more focus on technique rather than procedures, creating a more evenly tapered workload as well as a smoother transition into clinic.
The program sounds like a great way to give students a sense of familiarity, and attempts to minimize the fear associated with entering clinic. However, I wanted to get a little more perspective and understand what it is like to be in the program. I met and discussed the program with a few students, who shared their experiences and insights.
The first student I spoke to shared her experience shadowing Dr. Lauren Clum. She spoke about how she initially felt like a “lost puppy” in clinic, a feeling a lot of pre-clinic students probably feel. However, she mentioned that being exposed to clinic early on would be better in the long run. A major benefit highlighted by this student was the opportunity to meet and connect with the pod docs in clinic. Pre-clinic students don’t have many interactions with them, but this exposure allows them to build relationships with the docs early on, which is important when it comes time for clinic entrance and the pod draft. About her overall experience, the student said, “I think it’s pretty beneficial … just to get more familiar with student clinic so that we’re not thrown into a strange place when we do enter clinic.”
The next student shadowed Dr. Clum as well. He shared how he got to see everything from the doctor’s perspective. Sometimes, as students, it is hard to understand what we are expected to know, and that changes with who evaluates us. This student explained how he got insight into what the docs expect from us and saw how the standards are set. He said it was great because it made him aware of what to expect when he becomes an intern, and that it was good to see the amount of mentorship that goes on in clinic as well.
The last student I spoke to also shadowed Dr. Clum. He found it beneficial to get a doctor’s perspective as well. He got to experience the flow of the clinic and learned what is expected from the interns as he watched Dr. Clum overseeing students adjusting outpatients. He mentioned how sitting in a pod doc’s office presented him with the chance to observe what the interns come in and do and just see how everything works together. Although he didn’t fully understand all the processes associated with paperwork, he found it useful just to see how it all worked. He used it as an opportunity to learn and ask questions about what would help him when he became an intern in the clinic. In regards to his overall experience, he says, “I think it is definitely a beneficial thing to have so that you’re not going in cold when you first get to clinic.”
All three of these students had overall positive experiences with the program. There was agreement that it would be beneficial to continue this program for students.
For more on the program, see “Clinically inspired program shifts learning curve for LW students.”
This article first appeared in March 2019 issue of Lifelines, the Life West student magazine. Angela Nguyen is a staff writer for Lifelines.