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Hello you folks at Dal...

I was wondering at what point in the curriculum do you begin learning patient oriented techniques (interviewing, physical examination - etc)? When do you start working with the simulated patients? What type of facilities do you have for this?

 

Thanks,

-ticket

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Guest CaesarCornelius

Hey

 

This is a short answer which could actually be much longer.

 

We get communication skills sessions right away. Our first simulated patient interview is in october. So far I have interviewed about 10-12 SP's. We also have a clinical methods session every tuesday (starts in jan) which we rotate through GI, REsp, MSK, Cardiology and learn physical exam along with pt interviews specific for each area.

 

two of our SP interviews are taped and then we get put in small groups and watch them all. Then we say good/bad points.

 

We have a learning resource centre (LRC) which has 3 pseudo-clinics (they look very real) with about 7 examination rooms in each clinic. There is a huge staff (who love training SP's and teaching medical students) and there is a pool of probably 200 SP's.

 

I think there is more I could say, but Im in a bit of a rush. DO you have any other questions?

 

CC

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Hi CC,

Thanks again (so many times now!). Your response answered my questions.

 

I did think of one more... When do you start to use your skills? When I was there for an interview, I think I remember someone mentioning that there were rural visits in the first year. Is that right? How long are they and when do they happen?

 

The reason I have all of these questions is that I've been accepted to a couple of schools, including Dal, and I'm trying to make my decision btwn them. I'm looking to head back easy, Halifax seems great and Dal's program is really well respected. But my background is not in in the life sciences, and I'm worried that the COPS learning will cause me to miss important info, and make medical school that much more difficult for me. I'm trying to decide whether I should be trying to stick with a lecture based program.

 

CC, [or anyone] when you're not in such a rush, maybe you can comment my concerns.

 

Thanks,

ticket

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Hi Ticket--

Maybe I can address some of your concerns.

First off, what separates Dal's curriculum from come of the other "PBL" programs is that it incorporates both didactic lectures and COPS (pbl)-based elements. For most units we have lectures that establish a basic framework of knowledge and then in tutorial we get the opportunity to flesh out the ideas in more detail through a specific case-study. The recommended textbooks are available in the bookstore and on reserve and really we aren't expected to know more than what they tell us we'll need to know (and generally they teach us what we need to know in lecture or make the point in tutorial that we should learn it and then we discuss it in a small-group setting).

Second--I don't have a background in the life sciences, and nor do many of my classmates. And even those who did "relevant" undergrads weren't well-schooled in all the basics when we began. We have kinesiologists who were new to biochemistry, immunologists who never did anatomy, you get the picture. You learn what you need to as you go along and, for the most part, most people are on the same page by the end of the unit (give or take a specialized Master's degree in some instances :D ).

As for when we begin to use clinical skills:

We have our first interviewing session with simulated patients in late October. If you do a clinical elective, you will begin to see patients (with your physician supervisor) as early as mid-October. We start our formal clinical skills sessions in January--4 students to one specialist.

As for rural visits first year, nope. We make a geriatric home visit once during the year and four visits to a family with a new baby, and I guess some of those families lived a little out of the city, but those assigned to those families had cars.

Congratulations on your acceptance and let us know if you have any more questions.

Best,

17

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Guest CaesarCornelius

Hey

 

(Insert what 17 said here)

 

 

 

On another note, if you are worried about missing things, you shouldn't. We get a list of objectives at the end of the week which say something like this "1. Explain the different types of fetal heart abnormalities and how they arise.....10. Understand the genetics of CF", I know my examples are a bit broad, but med is not about going into super detail about any particular topic, it is about getting the information you need to understand the issue at hand. Dal is a great school and halifax is a very nice small-big city.

 

I am always here to answer questions..

 

CC

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Thanks both of you.

Both posts were very insightful and helped ease my worries. I'll let you know what I decide as soon as I make my final decision :eek

 

Cheers.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest Ticket

...to the next person on the OOP waitlist.

 

I have finally decided to turn down my position at Dalhousie and attend Memorial in September.

 

It was a really tough decision. I struggled for a couple of weeks between the two schools, and I really, REALLY appreciate all the help everyone has given me in the past two months. Halifax and Dal obviously have a lot of benefits, but in the weighing of the pros and cons, I felt that I would be happier at Memorial for medical school. Let's hope I've made the right decision for me!

 

I'm sure someone on the waitlist will be very happy to take my spot!!

 

And the rest of you, I'll see you at the Dal-MUN conference!

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