Sanford School Of Medicine – Early Clinical Exposure

One reason I chose to come to the Sanford School of Medicine here in South Dakota, is because of the early exposure to real clinical medicine.  Sanford SOM is known (by those in the area) for it’s amazing clinical experience especially in the MS3 and MS4 years.  The medical students at this school work almost exclusively one-on-one with attending physicians.  Usually there is no senior student, intern, junior resident, senior resident, chief resident, or fellow blocking the third year medical student’s view of the action.

But little is known about the early clinical exposure in the MS2 year.  Here at the Sanford SOM, the second year classroom schedule ends at the end of March.  A transition to the clinical world takes place over the end of March and early April, and then the real fun begins.  Each MS2 gets paired with a rural family practice physician somewhere in the state of South Dakota, and we spend an entire month with them.

Almost all of us were exposed to serious trauma, OB/GYN, geriatrics, pediatrics, general medicine, emergency medicine, and some even were scrubbing into surgeries.  I personally was rounding on hospital patients, putting in stitches, doing history and physicals, seeing clinic patients, seeing nursing home patients, and assisting with surgery.

To give you an idea of how much exposure we had, I personally logged in over 200 patient encounters.  Some of these include:

  • Ear aches
  • Multiple Myloma (Cancer)
  • Well Child Visits
  • Physicals
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pneumonia
  • Allergies
  • Head trauma
  • Broken ankle/foot
  • Knee injury
  • Elderly falls
  • Vertigo and Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Hypothyroid
  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Flu
  • Breast Lump
  • Headaches
  • Low Back Pain
  • Smoking cessation
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Warts
  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Hypertension
  • Syncope
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Strep Throat
  • Hernia
  • Seizures
  • Cough
  • Acid Reflux
  • ADHD

I was also lucky enough to get to do some cool procedures too!

  • Interpret X-Rays, CT scans, and MRIs
  • Assist with ultrasound of the bladder, cartoid arteries, and pregnancy
  • Put in stitches
  • And scrub in and first assist on 8 surgeries including open appendectomies, laproscopic cholecystectomies, C-sections, and a hysterectomy.  
So, here’s a taste of the clinical exposure we get at this medical school.  If you’re interested to read more about what I have to say about the Sanford SOM, read my medical school review Part 1 and Part 2.  It was an awesome first clinical experience, and I cannot wait to get started with the 3rd year!