Episode 30: Clinical Aspects To Consider

Mary and Ben interview current students and an alumna to find out what aspects of a medical school’s clinical years are good to pay attention to when making your decision.

If you have questions for us, please send them to pritzkerquestions@gmail.com. Or, call (773) 336-2POD and leave us a message.

[Music: “The Area” used with permission from Eliot Lipp. “Shiggidy” used with permission from Greg Spero and GMG.]

Episode 30 Transcript

Ben Ferguson: Hey everyone, this is Ben. Welcome to Episode 30 of the Podcast. We have been getting a lot of questions from applicants and other listeners of the podcast about how to decide on a school. And we realized that in answering some of these questions, we were largely giving answers that were related to the first two years of medical school in terms of what the lecture structure is like and what the typical day is like for medical students. But one thing we couldn’t necessarily do is tell you that what the clinical years are like when making those decisions. And so we decided it might be a good idea to get the perspective of students and alumni who have actually gone through those years at Pritzker and what their impressions were. So that’s what we’re going to do this episode. Mary got a chance to sit down with three of her fellow classmates and talk about what they would advise people to look at when determining what school to attend and even what schools to apply to.

Mary Bister: Hi, I’m Mary and I am here with some of my fellow fourth year Pritzker students to talk about what is important to ask about the clinical years when you’re evaluating medical schools. So I’m just going to have everybody who’s here introduce themselves and we’ll get into the questions.

Tanvi Patel: Hi, I’m Tanvi, I went to University of Southern California.

CS: Hi, I’m Caitlin Schaninger. I went to Arizona State University for college and I’m going into emergency medicine.

KL: I’m Kate Liebesny. I went to Emory University for college and I’m going into psychiatry.

MB: Okay ladies, so what do you wish you had known about the clinical years when you were trying to decide what med school you wanted to go to?

KL: I guess I can start. One of the things that maybe would have been good to know about was a little more about where you do your clinical rotations and the variety of places. I think when I was looking at schools, I was focused on not having to travel very much, to have everything at my home institution as much as I could. But looking back, some variety, like having the chance to step at VAs or at state hospitals for certain rotations, might have actually been helpful and good exposure. So the sites and how many varieties of sites you have might be a good question.

CS: I think something that you don’t always think about as a premedical student is that during your clinical years you receive a lot of teaching from the attendings but you also receive a lot of your teaching and your education from the residents. So I think it would be useful to ask about the quality of the residents’ teaching, in particular since those are the people that you’re going to be up late at night with when you’re working up your patients on the wards.

TP: Yeah, definitely and just in general I like to ask is medical student education prioritized or is this something that kind of goes by the wayside? Do people even on the wards like make that a priority?

MB: Those all sound like they’re very good questions. One of the things that I think people do ask about but maybe don’t know what to do with the information once they get it is what the schedule of rotations is like, what are the required third-year clerkships, how long are they? Obviously every school is going to be a little bit different in that regard. Do you think that matters much or do you think that that in the end isn’t as important?

TP: I mean, for me I don’t think it was as important. It was definitely information that I kind of glazed over, and in thinking about it in retrospect I don’t think it made or broke anything during third year. I don’t know what others think.

CS: Yeah, I don’t think it matter too much from my perspective either in terms of what rotations were required. I think the only thing that I can think of that you might want to ask about is just to make sure that there are general medicine and general surgery rotations, that that is something that you can make sure that you do, because that’s a helpful experience for going onward towards residency and also for the various tests you have to take in third year and Step exams.

KL: I think there are some specialties that get more or less time per program and you’ll start to see which ones are about the same for every school and which ones are more variable. For example, psychiatry, neurology, OB/GYN, tend to be more variable in their time, and if that’s something that is particularly interesting to you going in, pay attention to that and maybe ask some more questions about those particular clerkships. I think also if you see something that stands out, like a particular rotation that seems really short in comparison to others, you might ask kind of how the students feel about the time that they had on that clerkship and how they are doing on the shelf exams for those clerkships.

MB: For those of our listeners who might not know what the shelf exams are, could one of you just explain what that means?

TP: It’s basically the sort of objective way that you get graded third-year. So after any given clerkship, and I think this is pretty much at most schools–there are exceptions of course–at the end of your clerkship you will take a standardized shelf exam. I don’t know who puts it out or anything, but it’s basically a multiple choice exam that kind of assesses a core of knowledge for whatever clerkship you were on. And to give you an idea, it’s somewhat similar to the Step 2 that you’ll take at the end of third year. And it certainly gets you prepared.

KL: One other thing about our previous question about things the order of clerkships. There are certain sub-specialties that are generally not represented in the third year clerkships, such as dermatology and ophthalmology. Also, if those are the things that you’re interested in, look for programs that will allow you to substitute an elective rotation in those particular sub-specialties during your third year and let you displace some of the required clerkships a little later into your career so that you got exposure to them in time to figure out if they’re what you want to do.

CS: Yeah, that’s a great point. And I think in general what people mostly know is to ask about the quality of each of the clerkships. Make sure that you are asking that of the third and fourth year students on your interview day.

MB: Just to touch on point that’s a little bit tangential but I think is worth mentioning: Obviously if you know coming in that you have a particular field of interest, that’s one thing, but I think a lot of people have no idea, which is completely fine and a lot of people change their mind about what they’re going to do from when they’re premed to when they’re done with third year and picking a specialty. So I know this is a small sample size but I just wondered if you guys could speak to what you thought what you wanted to do with career when you were applying to medical schools and how that changed over the course of your third year.

CS: So I sort of had an idea of coming into medical school that I was pretty sure I want to do emergency medicine. Throughout the first and second year, as I learned more about the fundamentals of medicine, I thought, well, internal medicine might be something that was interesting to me and I’ll just kind of wait and see how things go on the wards on third year. It turned out during my third year of rotations, I really liked surgery a lot. So I was sort of considering surgery for a little while throughout the rest of my third year clerkships just to see if there was something else that I liked better, something else that stood out more to me, and in the end I decided that I liked sort of a different aspects of all the specialties that I was able to sample in third year and decided that emergency medicine was after all the best fit for me.

TP: I probably am the other extreme. I mean I went into medical school not really having a specific goal. I had not envisioned what kind of doctor I wanted to be. I think through the course of my first year, though, I did consider doing pediatrics and was involved in some research projects etc., but I will say that I think part of that sort of vagueness because I didn’t know enough about the different specialties, which was good in a way because I approached third year as, you know, I’m just going to experience every clerkship and see what I like about the clerkships. Anyway, so I mean I’m going into radiology. I didn’t get to a chance to say that earlier, but I think third year is definitely good because you do have to do a set of required clerkships and you find out really quickly what you want out of medicine, what you want out of your career and your life, what kinds of things you don’t mind doing everyday–all those things are really important and I think it’s 100% okay if you’re going into medical school–if you go into third year, even–having no idea what you want to do.

CS: That being said, I think even–there’s not a small minority of our classmates who sort of weren’t entirely sure what specialty they wanted to go into, even at the beginning of fourth year. So it’s okay if it keeps you a long time to decide what’s best for you. It’s probably better that you spend the amount of time thinking it over and what’s going to fit best for you and sort of the grand scheme of how you envision your lifelong term than to settle on that a little bit earlier. So taking time is normal and perfectly fine to do.

KL: For me I came in to medical school with definitely an interest in psychiatry. I had studied neuroscience and so I was sort of interested in the brain in general. But I was also interested in pediatrics and I was considering neurology all through third year and even by the end of third year I was actually considering med/peds, which is a combined medicine and pediatrics residency because I thought about doing adolescent medicine. So in the end, it kind of took me the whole year to sort of pick out which pieces of all those interests and how they best fit together and I chose the path of psychiatry for child/adolescent psychiatry, but definitely, like Tanvi, I went into third year with a pretty open mind and was kind of all over the map during the course of the year about how these clerkships taught me about what I’m interested in.

MB: So it sounds like a broad exposure to a number of different specialties is crucial during third year in order to help you to make the best decision for residency possible. So we’ve talked about third year a lot. I wondered if we could say a couple of words about fourth year, even though fourth year is generally regarded as sort of the vacation at the end of medical school, the light at the end of the tunnel, and the reward for all the hard work that you’ve done for the previous three years, and I think that we’re all pretty much enjoying our fourth-year experience a lot, right ladies?

All: Oh, yes!

MB: One of the things that struck me when I was talking to people from different medical schools on the interview trail was that there seems to be a big difference in the amount of vacation time that different schools give during the fourth year, which is important not just to do vacations like, you know, going to the Himalayas or Napa Valley or taking a cruise or anything like, that but in order to schedule the interviews that you need to do for residency. Do you guys think that would be an important factor to ask about when you’re looking at schools?

TP: Yeah, actually, I mean it didn’t even occur to me because at Pritzker it’s in the interview trail, I figured out that we have a pretty flexible fourth-year schedule; you can pretty much schedule whatever you want as long as you’re meeting a certain set number of credits, but I definitely know of people who were on clinical rotations and needing to make interviews in different towns and different cities and states and all that. I think that’s something to keep in mind, especially if a school has pretty rigid requirements for your fourth year. If there is a number of required things you must do in your fourth year, that’s probably important.

KL: I think it may be hard for you to look at a schedule map on a website and say this is going to be enough time or not enough time, so probably the best thing to do is you have an opportunity to talk to the fourth-year students about what’s required in that year and whether that at all made their experience of scheduling interviews and traveling stressful, that probably is going to be the best way to judge because it can be hard to sort of decide is a month of free time or two months of free time or four months of free time enough at this stage?

TP: To add to that, I guess, find out in asking fourth years, kind of ask them how flexible are people when you do need to miss a day for interviews. Is it a big deal or are people pretty like, “Oh, yeah, you have an interview, go.”

CS: I agree with Tanvi’s comment. I think one of the most important questions would be to ask sort of how flexible faculty are when you tell them you need time off in order to attend an interview, but that being said when you’re considering which medical school you’d like to attend as a whole, I think this is kind of more of a minor point in the grand scheme of things when considering your pre-clinical training and then your clinical years, particularly during third year in the hospital. I think this might be sort of a side question or a side point that might be relevant, but I think for most schools that you’re going to go to, they recognize that you’re going to need some form of time off for interviews.

MB: Just one more question, I think, before we wrap up. What about the hospital facilities in themselves do you think would be important to ask about when you’re on your interviews? I know people tend to ask a lot about the classroom facilities for the first two years, the anatomy lab and things like that, but what sort of facilities questions impact the third- and fourth-year experience?

CS: Yeah, I think one of the really big things that I didn’t realize this was a big deal until coming to medical school is where there is a dedicated space for students to have downtime. For example, at Pritzker we have as student lounge that has locker rooms and couches and has sleeping quarters and things like that that gets utilized really frequently by the third- and fourth-year students, both to do work on the computers or to write up your patients or if you’re just sleeping for a couple hours when you’re on call overnight. In hindsight, that was something that was a big asset that I think helped to make sometimes chaotic schedules a little bit more manageable when you had somewhere that you can go to and kind of put your feet up and just relax for a little bit; it actually made a really big difference.

TP: I think that’s actually a great point. I had friends at other medical schools where they don’t have call rooms for medical students. So even though your call might end at midnight, you’re still driving wherever you live and then back in the morning. I think it was a really nice option. You certainly don’t have to spend the night depending on the rotation but it was a nice option to have that, like in the dead of winter, to say to myself I’m just going to sleep in my call room and then not deal with, you know, trying to get home in inclement weather. The other thing I definitely agree with is it’s nice to have that space when you need to study or you kind of feel–during third year, a lot of the time you kind of feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, just twiddling my thumbs, and sometimes it’s nice to have that option to say, okay, will you just page me when something comes up, and then sort of retreat to the student lounge.

KL: Just a slide a little bit off of Tanvi’s comment, one of the things that I didn’t realize until speaking to some of my friends this year is that at not every medical school do the students pagers and the impact–I mean, it’s kind of a facilities thing or a technology thing of your clinical years–and the impact that that might have in how central you are with the team and how much you get to sort of stay connected to the team when you have some downtime or are separated from the team because you’re in the operating room, things like that. It’s a small question but something you can ask people. Also, although the student lounge is a fantastic asset, particularly for resting and using computers and having a place to sleep, sometimes it’s not the most conducive place to studying during your downtime and so one thing that might be helpful is to see whether there are libraries in the hospital facilities. Some hospitals have medical libraries or studying in conducive places on the hospital premise that you can use during your third and fourth year.

MB: Well I think that’s fantastic. Do you have any sort of last words of wisdom or things that you wish you had known when you were applying to medical school, not even necessarily related to the clinical years but just any advice at all?

CS: I’m sure you guys probably have been told this as you’ve been interviewing for those of you who have started already, but really pay attention to the gut feeling that you get on your interview day. I think that actually matters a lot. You know, you can talk about research funding and dollars and what the anatomy labs look like, but really pay attention to how you feel when you’re interacting with people on your interview day because these are the people that you’re going to be spending, you know, 24 hours a day with at times and so the people that you’re around matters a lot. So pay attention to that gut feeling you got when interacting with other students and when talking with your faculty interviewers, that sense of how approachable or not that they are. Really make sure that you pay attention to that.

TP: I was going to say something similar which is that in talking about all of these sort of details of third and fourth year, I think it’s really actually more important that when you’re making your decision to kind of look at the big picture and part of that certainly is going with your gut feeling. You know, not only will you be interacting with the students and the classes above you and the faculty obviously, but you will also learn a lot from them. And so it’s important to be somewhere that you are going to be happy and comfortable and I think that some of the minor details of third and fourth year are certainly important but less so than just finding a place where you’re going to be happy for four years.

KL: I think they said it perfectly: gut feeling and where you will be happy and feel like you have support are the most important things.

MB: Alright, well thank you for taking the time out of your very busy fourth-year schedules to spend it with me tonight answering questions and that that’s our part of this edition of the Pritzker Podcast.

BF: I also got a chance to talk with Mia Lozada, who was one of my classmates during my first two years here at Pritzker and graduated from Pritzker in 2008 and is currently a resident physician in California. She sat down to talk with us about the same question: about what to look for in terms of clinical aspects of a medical school, and in particular, what aspects you should be paying attention to when you’re trying to decide on what schools to apply to and what school to attend.

(Just a quick note too, we actually recorded this a few months ago actually on Super Bowl Sunday, so that’s where all the snow talk is coming from. Lest you think that it snows commonly in Chicago in mid-April, it does not.)

BF: Hey, Mia what’s up?

Mia Lozada: Not much. How are you Ben?

BF: Good. So let’s just have you introduce yourself in terms of where you’re from and where you went to college and maybe what you did in between college and medical school.

ML: Sure. So I am originally from Honolulu, Hawaii. I went to the same school from kindergarten through 12th grade, and my first transition in life was going off to college. I went to Harvard College in Boston, I studied biology, and then I took a year off before coming to Pritzker. I worked for the CDC during that time and I worked half the time at their main site in Atlanta, and then I spent the other half of the year at their field station in Guatemala City all the while doing parasitic research.

BF: Cool. And can you tell people what you’re doing now after having graduated from Pritzker?

ML: Sure. So I graduated from Pritzker in 2008 and I matched in internal medicine out UCSF, University of California in San Francisco, and I’m in their primary care track out here. It’s one out of two tracks, so I’m based at the county hospital doing underserved primary care.

BF: Cool, and you like it?

ML: I absolutely love it out here, it’s fantastic.

BF: Awesome. It’s probably a little warmer than Chicago is these days.

ML: It is. It’s a little foggier though sometimes. So I don’t know which one I prefer. I actually do miss the snow, believe it or not.

BF: Being from Hawaii, you miss the snow?

ML: I loved it. I absolutely loved the seasons and I had such a great time in Chicago. I do miss it a lot.

BF: And you recently told me actually that you’re going to be a chief resident next year, so congratulations again.

ML: Yeah, well, after my third year.

BF: Oh, after your third, I’m sorry.

ML: I just found out with so I’m very excited–yeah, after my third year.

BF: Awesome. Cool. Well, being that you were just awarded the chief resident position and being that you graduated from Pritzker and went on to an illustrious residency program, we thought it might be nice to get your perspective in terms of what things people should look at as far as clinical aspects of medical students go. So do you have any advise for people who are looking into medical schools what they should be looking for during the third and fourth years that they might not have otherwise realized that they should be looking at?

ML: I think it’s a really great question. I think that was probably one of the more important aspects of what Pritzker provided for me and what medical school in general should provide a medical student. I think I went into my medical school interviews asking a lot of questions about those first two years because it’s natural. That’s what you are most scared about or most excited about and it’s a close experience to what you’re going to have earlier on.

But I really didn’t have a good concept about how important the latter two years would be. I think in terms of selecting a medical school, I think it’s really important to try to talk to more third- and fourth-year medical students, or whichever years are more involved in the clinical side, because there are certain programs that do have medical students kind of dive in maybe in the latter half of their second year. You’re talking to them because their perspective, their schedule, everything that they’re doing is significantly different than first- and second-year medical students. And I think for me, it would have been very important to know what those years would be like. I didn’t realize that extent to which the clinical time that part of the training in medical school is really going to dictate what you do for the rest of your life and what kind of doctor you’re going to be and what career, what profession you ultimately do choose.

Most medical schools have very new, innovative ways that they’re getting across all of the information for the first two years, but somehow or another, every single medical school will get all of that information and knowledge into your head by the end of those first two years. But the experiences that you’re going to have clinically are really, really different and varied, I think, among the schools. And so talking to people about what their experiences have been, I think, would have been a little bit more valuable for me when I was looking at schools.

BF: So was that something that was on your radar at all? Were you one of the types of people who were, again, just looking at the first two years?

ML: I think I mostly looked at the first two years. I think I just don’t really know what kind of questions to ask and I think in retrospect, I think some of the more important things would be figuring out, you know, are the medical students happy or what they spend a lot of hours in the hospital doing, and I feel like it’s important to ask, you know, are they happy doing what they’re doing, even if it’s on maybe their not favorite rotation. And then ask them specifics about what their role actually entails. I’ve learned that that’s really significantly varied across the nation now that I’m working with a bunch of different residents who are coming from different training programs. You realize that maybe at some medical schools, the role of the medical students is seen as someone that we teach but also, you know, maybe that medical student’s job is to get coffee and to order food for the team and things like that.

And at Pritzker that was definitely something that never ever happened. I felt like a really integral member of the team and that my role was there to learn and to take care of my patient or patients plural. I felt useful and I felt functional on the team and there was a lot of responsibility that was given to us at Pritzker, which I think was great. We really were the primary caretaker of our patients. And because of that, because of those challenges, I mean, not challenges, but because we were challenged, our clinical knowledge and our clinical skills were really honed earlier on than I think a lot of other medical schools. I think talking to students and figuring out how comfortable are they on the clinical side in making varying decisions and coming up with their own plans about what to do that day for their patients, that’s important because it will make you a very strong sub-intern, which is a role where you kind of pretend to be an intern that’s just in your fourth year of medical school in preparation for internship, as well as it will make you a very, very strong resident. That’s definitely something that I would have asked about a little bit more.

BF: In terms of your role as a third- and fourth-year medical student at Pritzker in treatment decisions, was that ever something that you guys were directly involved in or was it just sort of interfacing with the patient exclusively if that makes sense?

ML: Yeah, I mean, I–it definitely makes sense–I mean, I think the question is more about, you know, as a third-year and fourth-year medical student, are you simply a reporter giving the information that you gain from the patient, or are you someone who is actually a decision maker and trying to affect change in the care of the patient? And I think that’s where Pritzker specifically–and I can only speak with my experience at Pritzker and I’m sure other institutions do it just as well–but I felt like it was really my responsibility to make sure that I had been doing enough of the research and background and talking to my residents and my interns about what the best care plan was for that patient and then on rounds that day, whether it was on surgery or pediatrics or neurology or medicine, making that recommendation and saying that I think it’s best that we do X, Y, and Z and went through to the attending.

And sure, there were times when I was wrong–there were many times when I was wrong–but it was–I felt such a sense of ownership over my patients being able to say, you know, “Well, this is what I think we should do.” And there was an incredible amount of teaching when you do put your nickel down where the attending can then respond saying, “That’s fantastic that you’ve done all that research” and really help you through that, or saying, “Maybe we can think about something this way, and now that you have this added piece of data, maybe that actually changes our plan a little bit and here’s why.” And so I think because you’re given quite a bit of responsibility, the learning curve was that much higher and enabled us to start maybe at a slightly higher point when going off to residency.

BF: Right. And in terms of like doing procedures and stuff, I think when medical students do ask about the third and fourth years, they’re always concerned about scrubbing into surgery and doing, you know, putting in central lines and stuff like that. What was your experience with all those sorts of things at Pritzker?

ML: That’s a great question. In terms of procedures, so I, during my fourth year, I did the procedure service, so for two weeks, almost nonstop, I was doing a bunch of procedures with a really phenomenal attending, Dr. Brian Gelbach–

BF: He’s a pulmonologist?

ML: —who is probably one of the best–he’s a pulmonologist. And he was just a phenomenal teacher. It was the two of us and one of the nurses who ran around the entire hospital for two straight weeks with our big cart of supplies doing procedures. So I as a medical student did a whole bunch of lumbar punctures, a whole bunch of central lines, thoracenteses, paracenteses, and became very, very comfortable with them. It was a lot of fun. I ended up taking a whole bunch of notes about all the little pointers that Dr. Gelbach had given me, tucked it in a Word doc, and I still have it with me now, actually, in terms of different angles to try, troubleshooting if for some reason you can’t get the fluid back–I mean, the teaching was really spectacular regarding procedures. In terms of surgeries, I absolutely loved my surgery rotation at the Pritzker. I almost chose surgery. And I felt like very prepared. There was a huge amount of patience on the part of the whole surgical attendings and all the members were just so fabulous in terms of welcoming us into the operating room. And I never felt ill-prepared or uninvited in those settings. And we got to do so much, honestly. Always under wonderful supervision, but I definitely got to do many, many surgeries. As a medical student on my vascular surgery rotation, I got to stitch into the carotid when we were doing a carotid endarterectomy. I got to do on my neurosurgical rotation a burr hole procedure, which means that I actually got to drill a hole in the skull and do a bunch of procedures. I did the entire thing entirely on my own, actually, with the attending. He didn’t even scrub in, he stood there and talked me through the entire procedure but allowed me to do it all on my own. And–

BF: No biggie.

ML: And I did a whole–yeah, I did a whole colectomy, a right-sided hemicolectomy, the chief resident and I, and I was his first assist, with the attending in the room there with us there, talking us through the whole thing, but really amazing. I mean, those are experiences that I feel like many medical students do not have at other institutions.

BF: Right. Cool. Sounds like you were pretty hands-on.

ML: Very, very hands-on. Which is part of the reason why I think I loved my third year so much.

BF: Awesome. Do you have any sense of–and I don’t want you to sort of incriminate any other schools–but do you have any sense of whether Pritzker was different from other schools in that respect? I know earlier you mentioned that medical students are often the coffee getters and stuff like that but is that sort of a common thing or is that sort of a–

ML: Yeah.

BF: –propagated myth, I guess.

ML: I think it’s a great question. I think my experience at Pritzker I came out realizing–well, thinking that my experience was the same as everybody else’s across the board. And coming to residency and talking with a lot of my co-residents, some of them will make comments and asking about like, oh my God, I’m so grateful that I’m not a third-year medical student anymore, and God, that was just such a horrible year and there was so much scut work (and scut work meaning just kind of the menial tasks that they make the medical students do as opposed to the residents doing themselves). And I was floored by that to be perfectly honest because as a whole, most of us at Pritzker really, really loved our clinical time, and as I said previously I was a member of the team and I did not feel like I was someone that was there to do, I guess, all of that other superfluous work for somebody else. I felt like my learning was paramount through the eyes of my attending and my residents. And I think it may be a little bit different than some other medical schools. There are a lot of stories that I hear from my co-residents now about some crazy things that they were told to do as medical students. And it doesn’t really jive with I think the overall kind of teaching mission that Pritzker has. And so I think that they really did quite well.

BF: Are you familiar at all with the sort of the expansion into other hospital systems and other various medical centers that U of C has been getting into?

ML: Yeah, I am, a little bit. I don’t know many of the details.

BF: In terms of North Shore and other partnerships?

ML: Right.

BF: I guess my question is not having been a medical student with those partnerships in place, do you think that those will significantly affect either positively or negatively the clinical education at U of C?

ML: I think that’s a great question and I think there are a lot of changes that are still ongoing. And I think it’s hard to definitively say one way or another until things potentially settle out. I think the one thing that I did miss coming to UCSF here as a resident where it’s a three-hospital system–it’s a veterans hospital, a county hospital, and a university hospital–the training I had at Pritzker was at one hospital, at the University of Chicago Hospital there in Hyde Park. And that was all I knew. And so I didn’t have as many skills in terms of flexibility between changing between hospital systems and learning new systems on an ongoing basis. And that was something that I had to develop once I got here in the transition with internship and everything else. And so I think there definitely are huge benefits to as a medical student being exposed to different hospital systems, learning about different systems, seeing which one you’ll actually, you know, prefer, and there is so much value in that, especially when applying for residency. And if you’re working in a smaller community hospital and you realize that maybe that’s kind of what you like, there are residency training programs that are more community-based as opposed to being university-based, and that can significantly change your career trajectory.

But I think it’s all is important to the students to be exposed to different learning environments. And I think it’s potentially a good thing that Pritzker is doing. I think the flip side is also–not the flip side but the other added bonus is the types of patients that you end up seeing at each of the sites and how some places will have more specialized kind of unique referral cases of the strange cancer this you wouldn’t see anywhere else. And then it’s good to be in a smaller community place where you see more of what they call “bread and butter” medicine where you see the pneumonias, and you see a stroke, and you see common complaints that are just very educational and sometimes overlooked at a big university training program. So I think there are definitely benefits. It’s all a matter of how it’s done and there’s a lot of potential there.

BF: Cool. Let’s see, I’m trying to think of other questions to ask but I’m kind of out, unless you have any final advice for people.

ML: No, I think my final advice is that I had a wonderful time with Pritzker. It’s really a great school. I miss it a lot and I still am in great contact with a lot of my attendings and most definitely with my friends from Pritzker. It’s a great, great place.

BF: Awesome, good points. Thanks a lot Mia. I appreciate it.

ML: You’re more than welcome. It was good talking with you, Ben.

BF: So there you have it. Hopefully that gives you a better idea of how these folks chose their medical school based on the clinical aspects of a medical school curriculum and what advice they would give to people who are starting to look at this stuff. If you have any followup questions, as always, you can email us at pritzkerquestions@gmail.com. Take care.