A Day in the Life of a Medical Student
by Kevin Moser
A few months ago, I told you what a typical day is like for me as a medical student. But lately, I've been thinking about how new technology has transformed the "typical" into a more unique experience for each student. Instead of a "one-size-fits-all" educational model, Penn State College of Medicine has evolved and implemented current technologies to provide the best education possible for its students. Whether it is new equipment in the simulation lab or integrating social media into a course, technology has become an important part of our medical education.
One of the most obvious uses of technology today is Mediasite. Some of you might be familiar with Mediasite, but others might not. Coming from college, it was certainly new to me. With Mediasite, every class lecture is recorded and then uploaded to a website so that students can view and listen to the lecture at any time. The ability to watch any lecture online allows for much more freedom and individuality in each student's education. Rather than adhere to a set schedule, students can now benefit from watching lectures on their own time and in the environment of their choosing.
For some, it can be easy to lose concentration in a large lecture hall, but Mediasite offers a solution. Now, students can pause, rewind, and jump between sections of the lecture, or even re-watch old lectures if some concepts were confusing the first time. With the ability to choose when and where to watch lectures, students can take control of their own education and experience medical school in the way that helps them learn best—whether that includes using Mediasite, attending class lectures, or a combination of both. By employing new technology, each student can choose his or her own unique pathway to success in medical school.
As for me, my coffee is ready and my couch is calling; time to catch up on today's lectures.
I start my mornings the same way just about every day. I drive to the hospital, walk down the long main hallway past the Nittany Lion statue, pick up a coffee from the cafeteria, and make my way around the Crescent over to the lecture hall. To you alumni, this might seem like the average routine you had in medical school as well, except there's probably one major difference: as a second-year medical student, after two hours my lectures are over. Instead of sitting in a classroom for hours hearing lectures about basic sciences or organ blocks, three times a week we meet in our Problem Based Learning (PBL) groups and work through a patient case.
The next two and a half hours are devoted to hearing a chief complaint, developing a differential diagnosis, and discussing the details of that case. You may be familiar with the idea of PBL. After all, PBL started way before my time here at Penn State, but over the years its prominence in our learning has increased.
Classroom time is now over, and my classmates and I focus the rest of our day on researching and learning about what we have come across. Instead of hearing someone tell us the properties of a disease, we're discovering them for ourselves.
My average day in medical school might seem like a far cry from what some alumni remember, but I think these changes are for the better. We are encouraged to think clinically from the very moment we enter medical school. There's a sense of pride in figuring out a diagnosis and then spending hours at home delving into the details of a case. As students, we own our education, and in many ways set the course for our future development as physicians.
It's all in a day's work…