Duke University School of Medicine: The 3rd Year

Probably my biggest concern when thinking about whether or not I wanted to come to Duke, was whether I could handle the curriculum. Now Duke does condense a lot of information into one year and I felt like drinking from the firehose was going to be even worse at a place like Duke. But in actuality what I found was that, because they were able to condense some of that information down from two years into one, it gave me an opportunity to my third year to really actually breathe for once in my career. Duke is really set apart by the curriculum. The fact that our first year is mostly spent in basic science training, all our preclinical is done in a year, whereas in other schools it’s a year and a half to two years. And then you are introduced to the wards pretty much immediately upon your arrival. So I really like that instant interaction with patients. We get to our clinical rotations our second year, where in other schools it’s actually during your third year. And then what was very important to me was the one year of research that we are given the opportunity to complete. It really helps you obtain a well-rounded medical education. And that leaves your third year to pretty much do anything you want. So, you can do research but if you’re not interested in research you can get another degree, so a lot of people get Masters in Public Health, Masters in Business Administration, you can essentially do anything you want. And I think again, that that’s one of Duke’s strengths. I think Duke tends to attract people that kind of have big plans for their lives and know what they want to do to get there and they have good resources to get you there. I currently have friends in Africa, China, South America, climbing Mount Everest, performing their third year research. And we get to, you know, have the opportunity to not only work with the faculty in a particular specialty or a particular area of medicine that you want to go into, but you also have the chance to get published and to meet other people in that area. And I think that’s going to help me a lot on the residency trail. The most important part of being a doctor is being able to learn continually, because the field is changing. And then, I think the Duke curriculum really gives us the tools to keep learning. A lot of schools are looking at shortening the basic science year, starting the clinical rotations earlier, so I think a lot of people have seen the success of the Duke model, and try to implement versions of it in their own curriculum. So during my third year I actually went and got an MBA, and this experience showed me that I actually wasn’t as interested in academic medicine as I thought I had been. Instead it showed me that there was a huge world of potential in healthcare administration and also healthcare policy. And that was ultimately what was was most interesting to me. So having this third year experience actually changed my trajectory from being an academic physician, to instead being somebody who ultimately will hopefully be working on on large-scale public policy. I don’t think I’m unique in that I changed my mind about what I wanted to do with my life, based on my third year experience, because up until this point being a pre-med, and being a medical student it’s very much rush, rush, rush, and I never had a time to really sit and contemplate what I wanted to do with my life. But the third year at Duke actually gave me an opportunity to really explore what my interest my passions were and what I was good at so I could actually think critically about what I was meant to do with my life you

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