Clinical rotations are an important transition for medical students at RVUCOM-SU. After two years of didactic learning and interactive workshops, students encounter real patients in a practice setting under the guidance of a physician. These rotation sites are spread out throughout the West, and some are even out-of-state. As part of the Region Reconnect project, Vie Van Noy, MS, TRT, Assistant Director of the Department of Student Affairs, took a road trip around Utah to visit the students and learn more about their rotations.
In Utah’s Cache Valley region, Clare Rudman, OMS III, completed a four-week Internal Medicine rotation in Hematology/Oncology at the Gossner Cancer Center. She then rotated in General Surgery at Logan Regional Hospital, also in the region, where she assisted on two surgeries for patients she had previously seen at the Cancer Center. “Getting that continuity of care with those patients was so special, and it was a great way to see different sides of an individual patient’s multi-faceted care.” In the Uintah region, Dallin Elmer, OMS III, received a lot of hands-on experience in his clinical training. “All the preceptors are extremely welcoming to students and you will see some great clinical cases.”
During rotations, students are supervised by preceptors and are an important part of a student’s clinical experiences and professional development. “[Every preceptor] has accommodated me, challenged me, taught me, and mentored me to perform at a higher level,” said Valerie Martin, OMS III. “Ultimately, it is helping me to become a better version of myself.” For Corson Healy, OMS III, the one-on-one daily interactions with each preceptor has been a unique advantage. “I’ve had many opportunities to directly assist physicians in procedures and surgery, which I’ve really enjoyed.” In his Obstetrics/Gynecology rotation, SD Healy cauterized a woman’s uterine tubes as part of a tubal ligation and then sutured her laparoscopic incisions.
Rotations allow students to not only learn new skills, but to also see how a professional healthcare team works together. “The entire healthcare team thrives on [a unique] passion and concern,” said Marcus Oliver, OMS III, who is also rotating in the Utah Valley region. “Even when things go awry, there is comfort in that passion because it reminds us of why we are doing what we are doing.”
In the end, the most rewarding part is treating patients. Of his rotations in Blackfoot, Idaho, Sean O’Shaughnessy, OMS III, said “I really like being around actual patients and learning how to make a difference in their lives.” Often, patients are not the predictable clinical picture that a student might expect. “It is our job to be perceptive and one step ahead of [a patient’s] disease process to maximize their care,” said SD Martin. “Each patient is unique and has a unique story.”
For John Evans, OMS III, (pictured above) the Region Reconnect project was a special experience in and of itself. “It helped me reunite with my classmates and learn from their experiences,” he said. “It also allowed me to recharge from the busy life of being a student.”