A week (or 2) in the life of (my) med school
So, most of my recent posts haven’t really been about the class and daily business of medical school because I’m trying to make sure that I don’t accidentally trip over the line of professionalism with patient confidentiality that governs a blog like this. However, with the fact that the MUN interview invites went out a little more than a week ago – a fact I was totally unaware of until a few days ago – I figured I’d give a look at what my schedule looks like from day to day, or week to week. So you can, get a picture what med school at MUN is, or, if you’ll pardon the cliche;
To do this, I’ve taken two weeks of my schedule from Phase 1: The Healthy Person, Phase 2: The Acute Conditions and Phase 3: The Chronic Conditions, and all of them are the week of an exam and the week before an exam.
Phase 1: The Healthy Person – September – January of First Year
In all there of the phases, there are 4 types of courses: testable lectures that appear on the exam (healthy person, acute conditions and chronic conditions), special projects, community health and clinical skills. Here the purple are the testable lectures, the teal was special projects, the green was clinical skills and the yellow was community health. Special projects is mostly just a catch all (ethics, projects, physician leadership, history, etc) and has essays as its marking scheme. Clinical skills here was once a week and was communications – how to take interviews, and community health was to educate us about social determinants and to prepare us for our placements (2 weeks each phase in a rural community).
Phase 2: The Acute Conditions – January – July of First Year
Here light green is the acute conditions, which appear on the exams, purple is clinical skills, grey was special projects (and community health was just dedicated to the placement weeks). You will notice that in Phase 2 clinical skills was much more frequent (however we usually only had it 2 out of the 3 times a week) and that skills was now practical skills (that were evaluated with the OSCE). Every phase we also have ILS before the exam – it was in the first phase pictures as well – which is our independent learning sections where we analyze a stem and then work together in small groups. As our lectures are didactic – and as of right now, not recorded – ILS is our main independent learning component.
Phase 3: The Chronic Conditions – September – June of Second Year
The chronic lectures are blue, special projects is the light green (and the grey technically – it’s “integration” but everyone just considers it special projects) and the orange is clinical skills (which we usually have either 2 or 3 of the 3 sessions a week). Clinical skills in this phase is more advanced now – pelvic exams, psychiatry, etc. Each block in the calendar is approximately 3-4 weeks and ranges from 45ish-60ish hours of lecture on each exam.
Additionally, because MUN is no longer on the “block” system of topics but rather “phases” it’s not 4-8 weeks of one subject, but 4 weeks of a variety of topics that we are then tested on, which is why when people ask us what the exams are about we usually answer “pick a part of your body at random. It’s on our exam.”
Though we usually say it with a great deal more stress and unhappiness 😉
Overall, I like the schedule pretty well. We always get Tuesday off at 12 noon, and we usually get the equivalent of another half day in the week for our own time. Some lectures are individual modules that have time built into the schedule for it, but most are didactic and as of right now unrecorded – though there is a movement right now to try and change that. I’m obviously bias, as it’s the only medical school I’ve attended, but I actually really prefer the didactic lecture approach. I’m too aware of my own procrastination tendencies to think I’d do well in an entirely self-directed program, so I like the balance we have.
Now if there were only 5 more hours in every day for sleeping it’d be perfect 😉