Internal Medicine Interest Group of the Month: University of Nevada
The Internal Medicine Student Interest Group at the University of Nevada School of Medicine in Reno attracts about half of the medical school’s first and second year students to each of its monthly lunchtime meetings. Nobody ever turns down a free lunch! Once we get them in the door, we give the students information not only about how the day is structured for a cardiologist, for example, but how that individual got turned on to cardiology, what he or she had to do to get into that residency, and how a family may or may not have factored into the equation.
Our goal is to organize monthly lunchtime discussions with general internists and subspecialists from the community. We invite a male and a female physician from specific subspecialties that students have expressed interest in, so that students will hear different perspectives and different stories relating to how physicians became involved in internal medicine.
Last fall, our first meeting was hosted by our faculty advisor, Dr. Kirk Bronander, who also heads up the third year clerkship in internal medicine. He brought with him a young woman who had just completed a year as chief resident of internal medicine in Reno. The highlight of this meeting was her capacity to engage us and relate to us as peers. She had recently taken her clinical knowledge out of the hospital and into the desert for Nevada’s most notorious festival, “Burning Man.” She spent four days serving as a physician amongst 30,000 suntanned partygoers clad in body paint and glitter (and sometimes not much else). She used her stories to sell the field to us. The way she integrated her life experiences into telling us about her career choice was very appealing, and she addressed every question we had about how family, well-being, and finances factored into her decision to be an internist.
At the end of the semester, our group gathered at a restaurant inside one of Reno’s hospitals and enjoyed a catered dinner which included a question and answer session with various internists and subspecialists. This gave us a chance to compare different fields and explore options for summer activities, clerkships, and research. All of the group’s events are planned by one or two second year medical students, with guidance and some financial support from our faculty advisor. Funding is also provided by the Student Executive Committee and the American College of Physicians. Our faculty advisor is always helpful in finding younger physicians from throughout the community with whom we will be able to relate for our lunchtime meetings.
We look forward to meeting with two gastroenterologists in February and hopefully two hematologist/oncologists in March. At the end of the spring, when I start thinking about Boards, the interest group will be handed over to two first year students so that they can plan next year’s events and explain to the Class of 2012 what internal medicine is all about!
Kristina Eaton, Class of 2010
President, Internal Medicine Student Interest Group
University of Nevada School of Medicine
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