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June 2008

Volume 28 | Number 2

Collection of Articles

Academic Preparation for Medical School: Similarities and Differences Between What Allopathic and Osteopathic Medical Students Perceive to be Important
Kerry L. Cheesman, Ph.D.
Ian Cheesman
Derek Gibbons

The authors report the results of a survey administered in the fall of 2005 to osteopathic students at 7 Midwestern osteopathic schools. The study was a follow-up to a 2003 survey administered in 2003 to students at 8 Midwestern allopathic schools. Students were asked to identify undergraduate courses they deemed “essential to success in medical school, and those deemed irrelevant or not helpful…”. In addition, students were asked to respond to an open-ended question “asking for any comments they would like to pass on to premedical advisors.” One interesting result was that the “osteopathic students surveyed [338] were, in general, less likely to label undergraduate courses as irrelevant". Perhaps not surprisingly, the “notable exception was calculus.” The authors found the open-ended responses generally fell in three categories.

  1. Tell students to take more upper division biology
  2. Tell students to be well rounded
  3. Be sure students understand what osteopathic medicine is

Examples of responses for each category were reported in Figure 6 of the article.

To Be or Not To Be: A Comparative Study of Factors that Influence Commitment to Career Choice Among Pre-Health Students
Steven Bair, B.S.
Cynthia Fitch, Ph.D.

A series of three surveys was administered to students at Seattle Pacific University during the first semester of their undergraduate studies. Students completed the surveys in the first of 3 courses required for pre-health students. The authors describe the results and the context in which the surveys were administered. The surveys were designed to elicit information about students’ choice of career, specifically why they chose one of the health professions. Findings included that altruism plays a significant role in choice for pre-health students. The authors also explored factors that influence students’ redirection away from a health professions career. Questions for future study are suggested including: “Does academic performance take on a more significant role when examined over two or three years rather than just a single term? and, “…how can advisors effectively use this information to give their students the tools and resources that they need to make informed career decisions?”

Creating a Clinical Internship Program For Your School
Cathy L. Pederson, Ph.D.

Dr. Pederson describes a step-by-step process for implementing and maintaining a clinical internship program at an undergraduate institution. Although time-intensive, she believes that the benefits to students and the institution of a well thought out program outweigh the time commitment. Her article should be a “must read” for anyone planning to arrange clinical internships for students. Dr. Pederson provides the program eligibility criteria used at Wittenberg University and how health professionals might be reached as well as suggestions for meaningful evaluation.

The Relationship Between Hope, Career Maturity, and GPA for Underrepresented Minority Premedical Students: Advisement and Counseling Implications are Presented
Paul Henry, Ph.D.
M. K. Gordon

Hope, as operationalized in this study, is more than wishing for something. The authors reference a book by C.R Synder in which hope is described as a “cognitive process” with “three primary components: (a) a goal (or anchor points); (b) the cognitive willpower or energy to get moving toward one’s goal (this is called the agency component); and (c) the perceived ability to generate routes to get somewhere (this is called the pathway component)”. For this study the Hope Scale was used to measure individual students’ level of hope. It and the Medical Career Development Inventory were administered, along with a battery of other tests, to 86 students enrolled in MEDPREP. GPA, when added to Hope-Pathways increased “prediction of career maturity.” The authors suggest that “hope intervention” can be a useful method for advisors and counselors who look for ways to “increase the sense of agency and pathways that people have for the goals in their lives.” This is of particular importance when barriers, and perception of barriers, have and continue to influence career development.

Health Degree or Peace Corps Service? Master's International Provides the Best of Both
Adrienne Benson Scherger

Master’s International (MI) combines Peace Corps service with the pursuit of a graduate degree. The author intersperses her prose with comments from students, thus providing overall perspective and glimpses into individuals’ experiences and motivation for pursuing acceptance to an MI program. Ms. Scherger states: Master’s International takes the strengths of dedicated aspiring health professionals and puts them to good use in serving the neediest populations…around the world”. MI students do this while developing their knowledge in the area of public health. For example, at the time the article was written MI student Mary Berghaus was in Honduras “working on HIV prevention and child survival”. Students generally spend one year taking courses on-campus, “then spend a full 27-month term in the Peace Corps, during which they work on a project related to their degree program”. When they return to campus, they finish their degree requirements.

Study Abroad in Pre-Health: Problems and Perspectives
Anders Uhrskov

As Director of the Danish Institute for Study Abroad, the author presents general reasons for including a study abroad component in undergraduate education. The article also is of interest because he gives a description of a course titled “Health Care in Scandinavia.” Students taking this course engage in the comparative study of different approaches to financing and delivering health care. Readers of this article are provided with a tantalizing glimpse at the issues. The author concludes, “One major purpose of study abroad is to inform and inspire students to a life-long habit of comparing and critically discussing the problems of one’s own system with the problems – and solutions – of other systems”.

Lessons Learned from the Premedical Advisor's Reference Manual
Carol Baffi-Dugan, M.A.

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