Last Tuesday, AUC held one of the best and most helpful events I’ve been to here on campus… the Clinical Symposium!! As our school’s affiliated teaching hospitals are spread across the United States from California to New York, and across England, the school makes an effort to bridge the familiarity gap between the Basic Sciences here in St. Maarten and the Clinical Rotations abroad. Every year in May, the school flies down program directors and representatives from these hospitals across the U.S. and U.K. and hold an all-day event of seminars about the core rotation fields, meetings, a nice outdoor luncheon (with a live steel drum band), and a fair where we as students get the wonderful opportunity to learn more about the hospitals where we can do our clinical rotations and talk one-on-one with the people who will run the show for our third and fourth semesters as medical students.
There were at least 20+ hospitals represented at the symposium, but as I was most interested in hospitals in the New York area and in the U.K., I got to visit the booths from these areas (and not to mention got lots of free goodies at the same time): Ealing Hospital, Epsom General Hospital, Wexham Park Hospital, Blackburn Royal Hospital, Kingston Hospital, Queen’s Hospital, Worthing District Hospital, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, Brooklyn Hospital, Nassau Hospital…
The representatives from the U.K. clinical sites brought with them their classy British accents while those from the New York area brought their strong New Yorker accents. While I visited booth to booth, I felt I had traveled across the U.S. and Britain visiting these hospitals. There are so many hospitals to choose from to do our clinical rotations, and we were lucky that instead of having to visit them to help us decide, they came to us, here in St. Maarten. After the symposium, these clinical rotation sites were no longer just names on a list to me. They are faces, conversations, and they are handshakes.
I really enjoyed the Clinical Symposium and met many of the key people who will be helping me on my journey towards becoming a doctor. I still have a year ahead of me before I need to decide where I want to go, but an opportunity like this to learn about my choices and the exciting possibilities, especially directly from the people managing these sites, is not to be missed.
To future AUC students: You’ll only have one chance during your stay on the island to attend the Clinical Symposium in May (or March or April, depending on the year). I highly recommend it! Some tips for when you go:
- Consider dressing up a little. It’s not necessary to wear too fancy (i.e. not necessary to wear shirt/tie), but don’t look too sloppy either. You may meet the site representatives later down the line, and they may be the ones who assess you as a student. The doctor I am rotating with right now came to the Clinical Symposium to represent Royal Blackburn Hospital.
- Definitely come with questions in mind and after meeting with program directors, write your impressions down in a notebook. Save all the brochures and information sheets that the site passes out to you. The information you gathered at this fair will come in really handy when you are deciding on where to go for rotations after passing Step 1… Trust me!
**COMMENTS FROM READERS**
John Lusins MD, Class of 2006
Great to hear you enjoyed the Symposium. I remember fondly choosing between those two areas as well. I ended up heading to the U.K. and had an amazing experience at Wexham Park Hospital. While the teaching is top notch at all places, it was the Attending:Student ratio of 1:1 at Wexham vs. 8:1 at Wyckoff in Brooklyn that did it for me. I returned after my 3rd year and enjoyed Wyckoff for 4th yr electives once I had a generous handle on the basics. Thinking back, I wouldn’t change my 3rd year for anything. And don’t believe what anyone says about difficulty matching if you go overseas. My colleagues and I all matched in our specialty. Good luck making your choice and keep writing.