Letter to New Medical Students (3)

You can begin learning to care for patients by first caring for each other.  There will be times when a classmate can relate to your life better than anyone else.  To help you get to know each other we will give each of you a booklet containing, for each class member, their name and photograph, home town, undergraduate institution and something personal that they offered to share.

We have scheduled several required social events early in the year.  For part of these, we will put you in small groups and ask you to share how you came to be here, how things are going and what your hopes are for your career.

Because cadaver dissection is emotionally difficult for some students, we have scheduled this for later in the year than is usual.  There will be a session in which you encounter the cadaver a day before dissection begins.  We prefer that you choose your partners for this class.  Let the Dean’s office know who your partners are by November 1.  If you do not have a partner by then we will assign you to a team.

Just as in my medical school, we have no grades here.  Being a physician necessitates personal responsibility for education throughout a career.  Being a physician also brings you into a community of mutually supportive scholars.  Competition for grades does not contribute to either of these areas and is unnecessary for people already motivated enough to be in medical school.  Examinations will be provided to help you assess your level of mastery of the material but they will be optional.  There will be a space on your exams for a password that will enable you to find your exam score on the Internet and how it compares to your classmates but solely for your personal information.  No one else can access it.   During the clinical years you will receive written feedback about your performance.  If you are unhappy with your results, resources are available to help you.  The only exams you must take and must pass in order to graduate are the National Board Examinations Parts I and II.

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