Healthy Living: Medical students
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Chris Smith looks and talks like a doctor, but he's not, yet.
"During my undergrad, my plan was to be a cardiac thoracic surgeon and it's been changing more toward family medicine, primary care,” Smith said.
Smith is in his third year of medical school, putting his text book education into practice by shadowing a licensed family doctor.
With the debt from medical school bills, many young doctors opt for higher paying specialties, which has left the country with a nationwide shortage of primary care doctors.
Dr. Tucker Slingerland offers his services as a mentor to hopefully inspire more medical students to go into primary care, where the patients vary from young to old with all kinds of problems.
"We are teaching not only family medicine and internal medicine, but also basic physical exams, skills and diagnostic skills. It's a really hands on, one-on-one training," Dr. Slingerland said. "At this point, the students have spent four to six years doing mostly book work, and this is an opportunity for them to meet a real patient with real health issues."
Smith has to complete rotations in surgical, pediatric and psychiatry, and then it’s off to a residency program.
"It's amazing,” Smith said. “Nothing beats getting out of the classroom and seeing patients talking to real people. In college, they do a lot of simulated patient encounters, but nothing beats the actual field experience."
If you are hesitant to allow a med student in your exams room, just think, you may be allowing them to become better doctors.