Med Student Mentor: University of Nevada School of MedicineAug 22, 2014
Why the University of Nevada School of Medicine believes “Students from the West are the Best.” Ann Diggins, director of student and educational affairs at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, describes her school’s unique approach to recruiting. She provides an insightful heads-up on what U of Nevada looks for in a med school applicant.
Announcer: This is the show by med students for med students; it's The Med Student Mentor on The Scope.
Interviewer: There are tons of med school's out there, even in the U.S. alone there are over a 100, and how can you know which one is right for you? Well we have Ann Diggins here today. She's the Director of Student and Educational Affairs of The University of Nevada School of Medicine here to tell us a little bit about her schools personality. Hey Ann thanks for joining us.
Ann: Thank you for having me.
Interviewer: What can you tell us about The University of Nevada's personality?
Ann: The University Of Nevada School Of Medicine is unique in a couple of ways. We have a fairly small class size; we accept 70 students a year into our class, and the small class size translates into a very personalized education for our medical students. In addition we are a statewide medical school, so medical students receive their training, and their education in really all parts of the state in which they could practice medicine, and this can really help a student make a very solid specialty decision because they experience, they learn how to be a physician in so many different settings. Our main campus is in Reno, they spend their first two years in Reno, their second two years, medical students can relocate to Las Vegas, which is our larger urban area in the state, or they can go back and forth between Reno and Las Vegas depending on what suites their needs. We also have some rural options for students in years three and four to complete some primary care clerkships and electives in rural areas of Nevada.
Interviewer: So with 70 students you've got to be very selective, what sort of student do you think does well at The University of Nevada?
Ann: Students that are successful at our school primarily come from the state of Nevada, they're residents of the state of Nevada although we do look at other western states as well; Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, and really all the other western states with the exception of California. So we're really looking for someone with some very close ties to the west and to Nevada who wants to make a contribution to the Western Region, and to healthcare and medicine in the Western Region. We're also very interested in student's who have good interpersonal and communication skills. One of the things that we hear from residency programs about our Nevada grads is that they're very comfortable with patients from the very start of their training, and are very good at communicating with patients. So we're really evaluating that very closely in the admissions process, what their communication experience has been so far, and how they will fit into that really high communication, high teamwork environment of our school.
Interviewer: Teamwork's incredibly important to be a doctor.
Ann: Yes it is.
Interviewer: What do you think set's your curriculum apart from other medical schools?
Ann: We have a systems based curriculum in years one and two that includes very early, very frequent patient contact from the very beginning of medical school. So by the time our students get to their third year of medicine, which is predominately clinical training, they have already seen patients every year, every semester, sometimes on a weekly basis in their courses, as well as learned how to, had formal coursework in how to interview patients appropriately and effectively. We find that students are very comfortable talking to patients, they're not intimidated in that environment, and they're very good at getting patients to trust them, and share important information about their healthcare concerns.
Interviewer: Is your curriculum different from most medical schools?
Ann: I don't believe our systems based curriculum from most medical schools, although they have different curriculums, but I do believe that our early and frequent patient contact is somewhat unique. That's always been a huge part of our curriculum even before we transitioned to the system based block curriculum, we haven't let go of that as something we hear consistently from our students that they really like, and think that that prepares them well for medicine.
Interviewer: If that's a, if that's a unique thing that University of Nevada does what would a normal medical school look like?
Ann: Depending on the medical school itself, medical school's we have many things in common. We're preparing our students for the same Board Exams, we're preparing them for the same Residency Application process, but we also have some unique things depending on the resources that we have, and so we're a community based medical school in Nevada, we don't own our own hospital, and so we have a very important clinical partnerships with hospitals throughout the state, and particularly in Reno, and in Las Vegas, and so this really allows to give a great diversity of medical training to our students. They work with different kinds of patient populations, and different sort of settings, public hospitals versus private hospitals, non-profit versus for-profit, and I think that greatly influences our ability to provide this early and unique patient interaction for our students.
Interviewer: Any final thoughts? Is there anything that I forgot to ask?
Ann: I would just add that pre-medical students really can prepare themselves for our admissions process best by really perusing as much clinical exposure as they can, and this really can't start too early. If students are thinking about this in high school it's great to go volunteer at your hospital, and then we really want to see a continuation of that clinical experience throughout each semester if possible during a student's college preparation.
Interviewer: That's some great advice, and thank you so much for joining us today.
Ann: Thank you so much.
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