Fourth-year medical students completed a new two-week capstone course to revisit concepts and skills in preparation for their transition to residency.
“This is the first time this course has been offered, and it culminates the experience of the new curriculum,” said David Salzman, MD, MEd, director of Simulation for Undergraduate Medical Education. “The course helps students prepare for the start of residency and gives them a broad exposure to skills they will practice.”
Launched four years ago, the new curriculum at Feinberg has provided the Class of 2016 with earlier patient interactions, more team-based learning and an additional focus on professional development. The traditional curriculum model – two years of classroom instruction with two years of clinical learning – was replaced with three integrated phases.
The capstone course consolidated the information students learned over the three phases and allowed them to individualize their coursework by offering different tracks based on their intern year specializations, such as sessions focused on imaging areas of the body specific to a specialty.
“The skills sessions are helpful. It’s a good review before we start residency,” said Alexandra Jones, who matched in family medicine at Lancaster General Hospital in Lancaster, PA. “I liked going over emergency medicine cases, because as residents, we will be the first people to respond when caring for a patient.”
These sessions also provided students an opportunity to synthesize and apply material previously covered in the curriculum.
“After reviewing the specialty sessions, I feel less nervous about starting residency than I did a few weeks ago,” said Justine Seidenfeld, who matched in emergency medicine at Cook County-Stroger Hospital.
During the two weeks, student performance was assessed on specific tasks called Entrustable Professional Activities, which the Association of American Medical Colleges expects entering residents to be able to perform without direct supervision starting on day one of their residencies.
“At the end of the day, our graduates need to be competent, skilled and compassionate physicians,” said Diane B. Wayne, ’91 MD, vice dean for Education and Dr. John Sherman Appleman Professor of Medicine and Medical Education. “This capstone course allows our Feinberg graduates to begin residency training with the best possible preparation.”
Small group sessions included practicing difficult conversations with patients or family members and the process of transitioning care from one provider to another. Large interactive group discussions reviewed concepts such as management of fluids and electrolytes, pain management and diagnostic tool interpretations.
“The course reviewed information, boosted confidence and reassured us that we have been trained adequately to start internship,” said Douglas Gilchrist-Scott, who matched in obstetrics and gynecology at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University.
The course was supported by the Zell Family Foundation.