Didactic Years and Team-Based Learning in Health Professional School: Preparing to be a Lifelong Learner

Didactic Years and Team-Based Learning in Health Professional School: Preparing to be a Lifelong Learner

Applying to health professional school can be daunting. There are pre-requisite courses, standardized tests, essay questions, and of course – interviews. It can be easy to forget what health professional school is really all about: gaining expertise in a subject area, and becoming a professional. Throughout all of this, one of the most important skills you’ll develop along the way is the ability to learn. Traditional programs can be thought of in two parts: didactic years and practical years. In medicine, didactic years are the first two years of classwork, spent learning about anatomy and complex pathophysiology. These are followed by practical years, two years in the clinic learning the practical application of your knowledge from the first two years. The skills you need to succeed in both environments – academic, and practical – are very different. Didactic years test your ability to absorb vast amounts of information, and demonstrate your knowledge on a multiple-choice exam. Practical years test your ability to build rapport with your team, and your ability to contextualize the information you’ve absorbed. Both sets of skills are important, but once you graduate, what do you really need to succeed in your future career? It comes down to your ability to learn independently. Times change, our understanding of complex pathophysiology deepens, legal precedents are set and broken. Your team, and your role on that team, will change – even the fundamental organizational structure of a hospital can change. Staying ahead of the curve won’t be easy, but it will be a part of your job. To become a leader in your field, you need to first...
Dressing for the Medical, Dental, or PA Interview

Dressing for the Medical, Dental, or PA Interview

Whether you are interviewing for medical/PA school or your future job, you need to look the part. Applicants receive points for and against their attire, so your clothes will be noticed. No, maybe attire isn’t the reason you will get into the school of your choice, but it can certainly be a negative mark on your file. Don’t let one outfit be the reason all your hard work is ignored. In fact, appearing ‘polished’ can help highlight some of your ‘real’ achievements, and make you seem like a much stronger candidate! Below are a few tips from someone who has survived the process and lived to tell the tale. Yes, you have to wear a suit. It’s far better to blend in that to be the “girl who came in the sweater” (actual quote from a faculty member). Men, the usual suit is fine with a tie and don’t forget a belt. Women, if you’re going to wear a skirt suit, ensure the skirt stays at your knee when sitting. Wear comfortable and appropriate shoes. Do not wear heels unless you know how to walk in them. You will be completing a tour at some point on your interview and you need to be able to keep up with the crowd. Men definitely wear plain socks with your dress shoes. If you’re not going to wear plain ones, make them interesting! My old program director loved to tell the story of how she couldn’t forget one of her applicants because of his socks. Now, it’s not the reason he was accepted, but not a bad thing to be remembered...