Side by side: First cohort of med students train at Florence hospitals
By Chris Horn, email@example.com, 803-777-3687
It’s probably not a record, but third-year medical student Dustin Rawlinson still marvels at how much experience he got in his recent obstetrics rotation — delivering 20 babies in two weeks.
Fellow M-III student Derek Voss has his own experiential learning story. When an attending physician didn’t make it back to the delivery room in time, Voss, with the assistance of the obstetrical team, delivered the baby himself, cut the cord and handed the newborn to the mom just as the obstetrician came in. “He checked everything out and told me, ‘Good job!’” Voss said.
Rawlinson and Voss are among the inaugural cohort of M-III students at the School of Medicine’s Florence regional campus, and they and the other M-IIIs are getting a full dose of hands-on learning.
“One of the things we tell first- and second-year medical students from the Columbia campus is that if they come here for their third and fourth years, they can look forward to plenty of opportunities to learn side-by-side with attending physicians here,” said Bill Hester, M.D., the School of Medicine’s assistant dean for medical student education at the Florence regional campus.
“Students at some of the really big medical schools might find themselves standing in line behind a bunch of residents and fellows to get those kinds of experiences.”
Florence is home to one residency program — a family medicine program that Hester directed for 33 years at McLeod Regional Medical Center hospital — so School of Medicine students who rotate through the Florence campus spend the bulk of their clinical time with seasoned attending physicians, Hester said.
“We have a lot of physicians here who really like to teach, so this is a great partnership with the School of Medicine,” Hester said.
Eight full-time M-III students from the School of Medicine’s Columbia campus moved to Florence in 2015 and are completing all of their clinical rotations at McLeod Regional Medical Center hospital, Carolinas Health System hospital, community physicians’ offices and Hope Health, a federally qualified health center. They regularly videoconference with Columbia campus medicine faculty for classroom instruction. In addition, different groups of four M-III students come to the Florence site for various two-week clinical rotations.
If they come here for their third and fourth years, they can look forward to plenty of opportunities to learn side-by-side with attending physicians here.
Bill Hester, M.D., the School of Medicine’s assistant dean for medical student education at the Florence regional campus
This summer, a new cohort of up to 12 M-IIIs will move to Florence, and the campus’ current M-IIIs will continue there for their final year of medical school.
Scott Allen, M.D., a Florence neuro-radiologist, serves in a student affairs role for the fledgling campus, assisting students with housing and health issues and whatever else might come up. He also directs a leadership seminar series for the students that focuses on how physicians become community leaders. All of the students have honorary memberships in the Florence Chamber of Commerce, which has thrown out the welcome mat for the new students.
“I’ve been here in Florence for 20 years and have seen this area grow and change dramatically,” Allen said. “We have a lot to offer School of Medicine students who decide to come here for their third and fourth years. At many medical schools the concern is that residents become the de facto teachers, but here the attending physicians are teaching, and that’s a draw.”
It’s one of the reasons M-III student Janina Gergorski chose to move to Florence for her last two years of medical school.
“I’m getting so much one-on-one attention. I would have also gotten that if I’d stayed in Columbia, but I just liked the smaller town feel of Florence,” she said.
“It’s a very welcoming community.”
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