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CLINICAL MENTORSHIP WITH COMPUTER SUPPORT David P. Yens ( ) Elizabeth DiNapoli ( ) Cheryl Evans ( ) New York College of Osteopathic Medicine New York Institute of Technology Supported in part by a Predoctoral Training grant from HRSA. PROBLEM.

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CLINICAL MENTORSHIP WITH COMPUTER SUPPORTDavid P. Yens ( DiNapoli ( Evans ( York College of Osteopathic MedicineNew York Institute of TechnologySupported in part by a Predoctoral Training grant from HRSA

  • A decreasing number of medical school graduates are selecting primary care careers and rural practice.
  • Encourage more students to select primary care by providing a mentorship experience to first (and second) year medical students with local or rural primary care physicians.
  • Combine the humanity of the primary care physician with technology to demonstrate the responsibilities, rewards and benefits of primary care and to obtain an introduction to clinical medicine.
  • National data continue to indicated a decrease in the number of medical school graduates selecting a residency in primary care.
  • NYCOM has typically had large percentage of graduates entering primary care residencies (31% selecting Family Practice from the class of 1999).
  • However, for the class graduating in 2002, only 13% selected a family practice residency!
  • Yet, most applicants to NYCOM claim that they desire a primary care career.
  • We believe that an exposure in the MSI and II years to the advantages and lifestyle of primary care will reinforce the early interest in primary care and Family Practice.
literature background
  • Many medical schools presently provide clinical experiences, frequently in primary care settings, during the preclinical phase of training.
  • All schools participating in the Interdisciplinary Generalist Curriculum Project (IGC) established longitudinal clinical experiences in the first or second year (Colwill, 1997). At a 1997 Association of American Medical Colleges meeting all participants in the IGC project reported excellent responses by students - and preceptors - to an early clinical preceptorship, but it was too early to assess results (personal discussion). No recent literature has been found regarding primary care medical mentorships.
project objectives
  • Establish a program where first and second year medical students will spend a half day in a primary care physician’s office at least once every four weeks (local track)
  • Create a curriculum for monthly visits for the two-year clinical program.
project objectives9
  • Establish an upstate program where first year medical students spend four weeks in an upstate rural primary care physician’s office during the summer following the MS1 year.
  • Create a curriculum for students in the four week rural clinical program.
project objectives10
  • Integrate computer activities into this clinical program to provide an added introduction to clinical medicine, to introduce students to the environment of the practice of primary care, and describe where primary care fits into the medical milieu.
student objectives
  • Through observation and interaction with their primary care Physician Mentor, the NYCOM Medical student will:
  • Observe the delivery of medical treatment of patients
  • Observe office/hospital functions and management
  • Observe diagnostic procedures and use of medical equipment
  • Observe the interaction between healthcare team members
student objectives12
  • After adequate experience, the student may be permitted to do history-taking and possibly physical exams under the direct supervision of the mentor, depending upon the comfort level of the mentor.
  • Provide a structured mentorship experience with a primary care physician starting in the first year of medical school.
      • Local year-long program
      • Upstate summer program
  • Provide a comprehensive curriculum manual
  • Supplement the mentorship with computer-based content
  • Foster continuation of the mentorship experience by encouraging and facilitating the use of e-mail for continuing communication.
The basic assumption of this project is that we can successfully encourage students to select primary care at an earlier point in their training and maintain this goal throughout their medical training.
structured local mentorship experience
  • Questionnaires created for students and potential mentors to permit matching and optimize compatibility
  • Letters about the program sent to all osteopathic primary care physicians in the NYC area
  • E-mails about the program sent to all 1st year NYCOM students
  • Respondents completed the questionnaires
structured local mentorship experience16
  • All potential mentors and students interviewed by the Mentor Coordinator (Ms. DiNapoli). Expectations about the program conveyed to both parties.
  • Mentors and mentees matched
  • Times of visits arranged by the mentors and mentees
  • Visits initiated and continue
structured upstate mentorship experience
  • Questionnaires created for students and potential mentors specially designed to address the rural environment
  • Letters about the program sent to osteopathic primary care physicians in New York north of Westchester County
  • As above, E-mails about the program sent to all 1st year NYCOM students, respondents completed the questionnaires, and all potential mentors and students interviewed by the Mentor Coordinator. All potential upstate mentors interviewed. Mentors and mentees matched.
structured upstate mentorship experience19
  • Mentors and mentees arranged starting dates with the Mentor Coordinator.
  • Students spent one month at the rural sites. Housing was either provided or arranged. Students received a stipend of $930 for the month.
  • Daily activities included learning about the physician’s office and practice, learning to interview and perform physical exams, rounding with the mentor in a hospital, observing (and practicing) the use of osteopathic manipulation, learning about the rural community and rural medicine, etc.
computer augmentation
  • A manual of information was prepared for both mentors and mentees. Many Internet sites exist for topics to be addressed in the mentorships. We provide references to these sites.
  • The manual has been converted to a Powerpoint presentation that can be shared with mentors via a video plus audio format, to be initiated during the summer.
  • To encourage continuity of the mentorship, we expect the mentor and student to maintain contact via e-mail. Although the students are highly knowledgeable about e-mail, many mentors use it only occasionally. We have initiated training of mentors.
  • All participants in the project through June, 2005 (5 Groups) were asked to complete a questionnaire concerning their attitudes about the program. Results were tabulated and are below.
  • The value of the project will be determined by the percentage of students participants who enter primary care compared with those who did not participate. It’s too early to determine this yet.
  • Almost all students would strongly recommend the program to other students.
  • 69% of local and 100% of rural students indicated plans to continue in primary care. HOWEVER, self-selected sample.
  • The survey results indicate a strongly positive response to the program from all groups.
  • However, a small number of students had time problems or conflicts
  • In the 3rd year of the project:
    • Mentoring manuals were completed and distributed this year, but 4 students and 1 mentor used the manuals (9 mentors did not recall receiving manuals).
    • 3 students used internet as part of project.
    • 1 student and 1 mentor communicated by e-mail
  • NOTE that this is a volunteer program, which may limit the number of participants.
  • Long term goal – most students will participate
    • Required activity or
    • Elective with credit given
  • In a new problem-based learning track, 30-40 MS1 students will participate in a mentorship
ms3 followups
  • Followups with 3rd year students from the rural component found one (of 4) doing all rotations upstate and one doing several upstate rotations; both were very positive about the experience and felt they were more likely to select a rural primary care practice. Rural mentees were more likely to have a significant clinical exposure than local mentees.
  • Rural mentors were positive about the students they had and would take more students if space is available. Rural mentors willing to work with students are in demand for clinical electives.
  • Most mentors use e-mail but few have maintained contact with students – something we need to emphasize in the future.
  • Colwill, Modifying the Culture of Medical Education: the First Three Years of the RWJ Generalist Physician Initiative. Acad Med 1997 Sept; 72(9), 745-53.
  • See also:
    • Cronau, H. & Haines, D.J. Medical Students Summer Externship Program: Increasing the Number Matching in Family Practice. Med Educ Online, 2004:9:3
    • Veitia, M; McCarty, M; Kelly, P; Szarek, J; Harvey, H. The Interdisciplinary Generalist Curriculum Project at Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University. Acad Med 2001 Apr; 76(4 Suppi);S97-9.
    • Ricer, RE; Fox, BC; Miller, KE. Mentoring for Medical Students Interested in Family Practice. Fam Med 1995 Jun;27(6), 360-5.
  • This project is funded in part by Title VII Grant # 1 D16 HP 00149-01 from the Bureau of Health Professions, USPHS.