Hi! Kirsta Hoffman here, Appleton native, but a Minnesota Gopher by heart (sorry, Badger fans!). We just returned from a two-week break where many of us slept, celebrated the holidays, and even had the opportunity to hang out as a group in the Wausau area! After such a relaxing break, I figured the new year would have a slow start, but instead we have hit the ground at an all-out run, getting right back to where we were last semester. Currently, we are finishing our last block of Anatomy and have started Foundations of Human Behavior, Medical Neuroscience, and Bench to Bedside, along with continuing our Clinical Apprenticeship, Continuous Professional Development, and Pathways courses. While it has been a little stressful, I personally like it because it represents how our lives will be once we are practicing physicians. Aside from learning the basic sciences and learning how to apply this knowledge clinically, medical school involves learning how to manage tight schedules, stress, health, and all the other important aspects of our lives. We may not be perfect at it, but we are always getting better.
Sometimes, medical school is amazing and I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn the intricacies of the human body, how problems cause diseases and illnesses, and how these impact the lives of patients. Furthermore, I can’t imagine being in a different place. MCW’s model of getting students into the clinics right away has been a huge benefit; it allows us to gain early experience working with patients and applying our ever-growing clinical knowledge, and it gives us the opportunity to experience a specialty we are interested in early on. Since September, I have spent time each week in a Family Medicine clinic and so far I have helped examine and diagnose patients with different aches and pains and other symptoms, learned how to do many aspects of a physical exam, and have even had the opportunity to witness a birth with my preceptor. It has been a fantastic experience so far and is definitely paving a potential path for me into this field.
While you may find some similar aspects of early clinical training at other medical schools across the country, you will not likely find a more supportive environment in an academic setting. There are no gunners and there is no cut-throat competitiveness, just a supportive atmosphere where we each want each other to succeed, and we have the full support of an amazing administrative staff. The community is such an important aspect of the school as well - the local physicians, health systems, hospitals, and the Green Bay community at large are incredibly supportive of the MCW mission to produce community-based physicians. I have never felt so welcome into a school in it’s entirety, and I am really looking forward to seeing where we all end up.