Medical school gives students inside look

Prospective students for Mercer University’s School of Medicine gathered on Friday to attend the Discover MUSM event, where they were able to see just what the School of Medicine has to offer. Specifically for students looking at the Medicinal Doctor program, the event split attendees into four groups, where they were then led to four sections of the event. These sections included a tour of the school, a chance to experience the problem-based learning the school employs, a meeting with an admissions committee member in order to see what was expected of them when they apply, and also an interaction with a standardized patient.

“I think anyone can go to med school; but you have to have the discipline, the ability to stay calm and get out of your head and just let it be, and the passion to do it,” said Ambassador Melody Bowen. The Ambassadors are the public face of the medical school, and serve in events such as this, as well as working on interviews as a part of the evaluation process. With only eight chosen from each class, the competition to become an ambassador is almost as harsh as it is to get into the med school.

“The hardest part about becoming a doctor is getting into medical school,” said Ambassador Trent Dittmar, a second-year student at the School of Medicine. “After that, it’s easy.”

For first and second year students, the main focus is on book learning. How the Mercer School of Medicine goes about this is through a curriculum known as problem-based learning. This means that the students go through phases of learning, the first one being Biochemistry. They are given real-world simulation cases to go along with their study guide, which helps them study for their tests at the end of the year. At the end of every phase, which generally lasts six to eight weeks, the students are given two tests. One is a multiple choice exam that is meant to simulate the boards the licensing tests for medical students, while the other is an oral exam based on the cases that the students study. The only lectures that are given under the curriculum are known are Resources, and are available online for the students to watch at home.

Also, while in their first and second years, students only attend classes for three hours every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. After this, they spend the rest of their day studying. They can do this either in the library, the common area or the tutor rooms. The tutor rooms are where the students meet for classes, and can only be accessed by Bear Card, which ensures the safety of student possessions. “People leave their stuff here, their computers out, it’s really a family atmosphere. I never felt like I was in competition with anyone, I never felt like I couldn’t leave my stuff out,” said Bowen.

“My favorite thing about Mercer is the people. I know everyone in my class, in the class above me and the class below me. It feels like everyone cares about one another. When you help nourish and foster the learning environment, everyone is better because of it,” said Dittmar.

For those interested in attending Discover MUSM, the Mercer School of Medicine Savannah campus is hosting the event on April 4 in the spring.