Larner College of Medicine Students
Emergency medicine remains one of the most popular career choices among UVM medical students and our faculty has been honored with several teaching awards. Dr. Katie Dolbec is the Medical Student Clerkship Director, and the recipient of the Teacher of the Year Award for the Larner College of Medicine for 2021. The educational philosophy in the emergency department is teaching students a way to think, problem solve, and integrate material they have learned in their medical school careers to generate diagnoses on patients with undifferentiated problems. Our student rotation is such a valuable learning experience for students entering any field of medicine that, in 2017, the Larner College of Medicine chose to make this a required rotation for all fourth year medical students.
Students experience the breadth of emergency medicine across the spectrum of practice settings by rotating for two weeks at the University of Vermont Medical Center and for two weeks at one of our UVM Health Network community campuses (Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh, NY, or Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin, VT). This split curriculum shows students how different the clinical decision-making and resource utilization can be in an academic center, with various specialists and learners, compared with a community hospital, where there are very few residents or students. They also benefit from the one-on-one teaching and the procedural opportunities that come with being one of the only learners in the emergency department.
On the emergency medicine rotation, at all sites, there is emphasis on problem-oriented critical thinking. Students are encouraged to think through their differential diagnosis and present to an attending not only the most likely possibility for the patient problem, but also the most dangerous. They are also expected to formulate a plan for workup and evaluation of the presenting problem. Logic and reason are stressed. Direct attending supervision is supplied by dedicated academic faculty. Small group case-based discussions and hands-on simulations are a large part of our didactic curriculum. Students are asked to take responsibility for the care of their patients, including keeping the patient and family informed on the results of lab tests and imaging, informing them of the likely diagnosis, and teaching them about the diagnosis and future care required. The students are encouraged to begin thinking of themselves as essential members of the care team. Professionalism, integrity, and compassionate care is modeled by attendings and expected from all students in the emergency department.