Third-year medical students at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita are getting a taste of what it’s like to be a doctor this week as they enter Introphase, an orientation week that precedes the rotation phase of medical training.
And at the end of the week, 67 students at the school will receive their coveted white coats.
“Introphase is one of those wild and crazy weeks, but it’s a lot of fun for us,” said family physician Scott Moser, professor and vice chairman for education in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the medical school.
“It’s kind of overwhelming for the students. It’s kind of like drinking from the fire hydrant for them.”
The week consists of activities that get students up to speed on clinical practices, learning how to log in to the computer systems at hospitals and tips on professionalism.
They’ll also practice suturing on pig’s feet and get additional training on such things as conducting physical exams and how to present patients to supervising physicians, Moser said.
For third-year medical student Kyle Rowe, it’s an exciting time. Rowe spent his first two years at the Wichita campus and said he’s eager to be in a clinical setting and not just a classroom.
“(Introphase) gets us into that state of mind that our role is different now. ... We actually have patients and not textbooks,” said Rowe, who is interested in pediatrics and internal medicine.
“It’s a much steeper learning curve, but it’s so much better. The information you pull from a textbook has no emotional content whatsoever, and you forget it, but once you see someone in front of you that has a particular disease, it sticks with you.”
The students also have their first meetings to learn about the rotations they will have in different areas. Rowe said he starts first with neurology for four weeks. Surgery, family medicine and internal medicine are longer rotations, he said.
Third-year medical students across the country all take the same rotations, Rowe said. The following year, students have more electives.
Eight of the 67 students spent their first two years of medical school at the Wichita campus, which expanded to a full four-year school in 2011 in an effort to help alleviate a shortage of physicians in the state.
Among the newcomers to Wichita was Daniel Nwachokor, who completed his first two years at the Kansas City campus.
“Kansas City was a great first two years, but anybody in Wichita will tell you it’s a great clinical experience here,” Nwachokor said. “The numbers are smaller, there’s more hands-on interaction and just a greater opportunity to do more clinical work here than in Kansas City. The opportunity to do more really sways you.”
Nwachokor said he’s excited and anxious to take the next step in his medical career.
“The anxiousness will probably come in when we actually see our first patients and are actually having to read an X-ray and determine what treatment is best for that person – to diagnose that person,” he said.