'Why your school?'
Outgoing medical student Audrey Lane reflects on her time at the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences.
This fall while preparing for residency interviews, I looked through an old folder of materials I’d used to prepare for my medical school interviews. For each school I interviewed, I had listed out specific reasons why I’d like to attend that school. The following is what I’d written for UND more than four years ago:
“Why your school:
- REMS (Research experience for medical students) summer
- Clinical epidemiology 3rd year course
- Total Wellness
- Smaller, more closely knit community
- ROME - not sure how it works, but I think it’s exciting that some students have the opportunity to be at rural hospitals.”
It’s surreal to read this list today. Despite my unfamiliarity with many of the programs I noted, I went on to participate and thrive in each of these opportunities.
- Prior to medical school, I had enjoyed research and so I was excited about the REMS program. I was able to present my findings at the North Dakota American College of Physicians meeting. But more important than any addition to my CV, by participating in this program I gained a close friend and mentor, Dr. Jessica Schweigert, a 2020 UND graduate. Among many things, she’s the person I called crying the first time a patient I was taking care of died.
- I took the Clinical Epidemiology course to great effect. The results of hard work by Jon Pacella, myself, and Drs. Sahmoun, Beal, Bellas, and Brower-Breitwieser can be found in an upcoming publication of The Journal of Perinatology.
- In terms of Total Wellness, it’s difficult to say exactly what I meant when I wrote this in 2016, but the telecare services the University Counseling Center provides (free!) to students is great. To every medical student: if you’re having a hard time, don’t hesitate to use this service. Your clinical preceptors won’t think twice if you tell them you have a one hour Zoom meeting you need to attend once a month.
- And as I soon learned, the “Closely knit community” is real and speaks for itself.
- Finally, through ROME (Rural Opportunities in Medical Education) I delivered babies, was a first-assist on surgeries, provided longitudinal care, and developed strong patient-physician (me!) relationships. As with my time in traditional rotations, I had high quality preceptors who provided a great one-on-one education. Out of the more than 1,800 practicing patient care physicians in North Dakota, more than 1,300 are volunteer clinical preceptors; my sincerest thanks to each of you. Thank you for preparing us to be your colleagues.
As easily as I can praise my education, I can also list things I’d like to see improved. But even in this there is a positive: there are avenues accessible for students to express concerns. Despite the slow nature of change, I feel the UND SMHS is sincere in its desire to improve.
Writing this reflection nine days prior to graduation, I am awestruck by the big picture of my education. How often are people able to accomplish all of their goals? Yet, everything I listed as a 21-year-old medical school applicant that I wanted to do, I did. And the experience exceeded my expectations.
By Audrey Lane, M.D.