Avera Clinical First Steps – Final Impression

So that’s it. The six weeks of the Avera Clinical First Steps has flown by. Was it worth it?


Yeah I’d say so. I highly recommend it to any student next year, but especially those who have no hospital experience. Sure the free food and the stipend are nice, but they aren’t the main reason to do this. If you don’t have any hospital experience this is a great intro. While it does seem like Avera is trying to strut their stuff during the entire six weeks of rotations, they really do have a lot to offer and many students from our group were surprised at the size and range of specialties and services that Avera offers.

It is really interesting to see what the outpatient OT, inpatient PT, RNs (of every variety), patient care supervisors, patients, radiology technicians, pharmacists, food service, respiratory therapists, wound ostomy, lab technicians, and medical technicians are doing on a day to day basis and how these all work together. Although I knew what a lot of these people did daily due to my prior clinical experience, I did learn a quite a few things.

But the clinical shadowing isn’t the only interesting thing the First Steps has to offer. Almost every noon during lunch a physician from a different specialty is brought in to talk about his/her specialty. I found these to be very beneficial. Every physician speaker was great and candidly answered questions students had about the specialty. Besides trying to expose students to different specialties, the First Steps also does a great job introducing us to the business side of medicine. While at times a bunch of this seems boring and useless, other things seemed very applicable and extremely interesting such as coding and physician recruitment.

Although there are many options for the summer between the first and second year of medical school, the Clinical First Steps is a solid choice and one I highly recommend.