During his second day of medical school, Joshua Campbell watched Chad Richardson, a clinical pharmacist, go about his daily responsibilities of checking on patients, verifying prescriptions and discussing treatment plans.
“Following a clinical pharmacist was enlightening,” Campbell said. “My understanding of their career paths in pharmacy was naïve and mainly included Walgreens. Through this experience I gained an understanding of the reactive role of clinical pharmacists in examining patient data and judging appropriateness of scripts, but also of their proactive role in contributing a unique perspective to patient care plans.”
This shadowing opportunity, or Focused Clinical Experience, was one of the many activities that the incoming class participated in during the Introduction to the Profession Module, August 11-15.
In its third year, the program gives first-year students a snapshot of what they will encounter throughout their medical education.
Over the course of a week, students participate in interactive lectures, small group discussions and team-based learning while getting an overview of the curriculum. They learned about issues in teamwork, communication, patient safety and quality, and personal awareness and self-care.
“This week frames the competencies that we teach the students such as patient-centered medical care, system awareness and team-based care, and professional behavior and moral reasoning,” said Joshua Hauser, MD, assistant professor of medicine. “We give them these experiences so they can understand the range of competencies that we teach them over the course of four years.”
Some of the encounters included interviewing patients at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and shadowing nurses, social workers, chaplains and patient-care technicians.
The module, led by Hauser and Catherine Belling, PhD, assistant professor in medical humanities and bioethics, offers exposures to patients and experienced medical staff in a variety of roles as a way to help students begin to cultivate a professional identity.
“The purpose of this week is to get the students together as a class and have a shared and intensive experience so they will all be on the same page when starting classes next week,” said Belling. “We want them to think of medical school as more than learning science and more about thinking about their own identity as medical professionals as they start the process of becoming physicians.”
Before starting Introduction to the Profession, first-years met their classmates and mentors during Arrival Week. Highlights included mingling with peers and faculty members at the Welcome BBQ and building teamwork skills at the Breakaway Retreat. The retreat, a one-day outdoor event, incorporates leadership development, team building and personal development activities.
As the week came to an end, the Class of 2018 attended the Feinberg Student-Faculty Dinner, where they met many of the professors and administrators that they will be interacting with over the next four years.
Introduction to the Profession culminates with Founders’ Day, which marks the official opening of the academic year. The ceremony concludes with the Class of 2018 receiving their white coats from second-year students, followed by their first recitation of the Declaration of Geneva, or Physician’s Oath.
“This week reminds you of all the aspects of the profession such as leadership, teamwork and personal awareness, instead of just diving right into learning the material,” said Sheena Khanna, a first-year medical student. “As we start classes I am looking forward to the simulation modules and problem-based learning.”