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Article: 3 year vs 4 year medical school


Aetherus

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An essay published on Sept. 19 in The New England Journal of Medicine called it “unwise” to eliminate the fourth year of medical school. The authors, Dr. Stanley Goldfarb and Dr. Gail Morrison, professors and administrators at the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school, argued that students needed more experience taking care of patients, not less, and would miss out on opportunities like the chance to work in other countries and to delve more deeply into topics like medical ethics, patient safety and health policy.

 

While I think the 3 VS 4 year is discussion is moot, I agree completely with this portion. I think as a physician, it should be made about the patient, and if you're spending less time with that patient, what's it about?

 

Three-year students, on the other hand, will be guaranteed residencies at N.Y.U. “They’ll be secure, and they won’t have to worry about matching and interviewing.” He added: “Our approach is about being able to pursue personalized pathways.”

 

I also find this quite interesting. For those who joined NYU and wished to stay there, that would take a lot of pressure/stress off, especially in the final year.

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Neither program is for everyone. I see 3 and 4 year schools as being different pathways for people with different interests. Some people seek out the 4 year education to fully immerse themselves in the medical profession, spend their summers exploring research and what not. Others may benefit from the "brevity" of a 3 year education for other reasons.

 

The opportunities quoted in the above post are not lost in a 3 year education. Perhaps one may have the opportunity to pursue them in more depth with a 4 year education but 1) not everyone will chose to do this and 2) this opportunity still "exists" as someone is free to pick a 4 year program over a 3 year one. If you want to be a community family physician, do you really need experience in a foreign country and to study ethical dilemmas related to rare diseases and cases? Sure, these are eye-opening experiences that all can benefit from, but the barrier to entering medical school is incredibly high. Consider not only the length of medical school, but also the traditional 4 years of college education before it and the ~2-5 years of residency afterwards. This is a long time, especially if your family is not well off to help pay debts, or you are a non-traditional student who has some years on them and a family to provide for. Does having an 3-4 years of undergrad make a difference compared to 2 years? Does every student need the summers in medical school? I think it is important to have different opportunities to cater to differing future medical students.

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Neither program is for everyone. I see 3 and 4 year schools as being different pathways for people with different interests. Some people seek out the 4 year education to fully immerse themselves in the medical profession, spend their summers exploring research and what not. Others may benefit from the "brevity" of a 3 year education for other reasons.

 

The opportunities quoted in the above post are not lost in a 3 year education. Perhaps one may have the opportunity to pursue them in more depth with a 4 year education but 1) not everyone will chose to do this and 2) this opportunity still "exists" as someone is free to pick a 4 year program over a 3 year one. If you want to be a community family physician, do you really need experience in a foreign country and to study ethical dilemmas related to rare diseases and cases? Sure, these are eye-opening experiences that all can benefit from, but the barrier to entering medical school is incredibly high. Consider not only the length of medical school, but also the traditional 4 years of college education before it and the ~2-5 years of residency afterwards. This is a long time, especially if your family is not well off to help pay debts, or you are a non-traditional student who has some years on them and a family to provide for. Does having an 3-4 years of undergrad make a difference compared to 2 years? Does every student need the summers in medical school? I think it is important to have different opportunities to cater to differing future medical students.

 

I think it's important for applicants to have that choice, but realistically, most people don't get to choose between two or more medical schools.

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