Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Travelin' Man...
My ideal dream job in medicine would be that of a professional fourth-year medical student. You can sample all sorts of specialties for short periods of time, have little real responsibility, and you have the security of being the smartest you have ever been. The fourth year of medical school also allows for the ability to engage in "away rotations". This provides one with the means to "see the world" while paying in-state tuition. Some students do rotations at institutions where they may want to eventually serve as residents. But medical liability is beginning to raise it's ugly head here. From Overlawyered and the Raleigh News & Observer:
The malpractice issue has had a negative influence, however, in the kinds of learning opportunities medical schools offer. In years past, Halperin said, schools routinely let students do training stints at hospitals around the country. Now this practice is being curtailed, because medical schools are leery of carrying the liability for students working outside their hospitals.

Such subtle problems seldom get mentioned in the debate, but Halperin said the effect is long term. "It's inhibiting access to educational opportunities," he said.
The article points out that medical education remains in high demand in North Carolina:
Now, there is no shortage of students wanting to become doctors. At Duke University School of Medicine, 5,000 students applied last year for 101 slots; at UNC's medical school, 2,972 students vied for 160 slots; at East Carolina University, 705 competed for 72 openings.
Those numbers mainly reflect the quality of the medical education at Duke and UNC more than it reflects the "glut' of applicants. In 2003 there were 34,786 applicants and 392,118 applications (data here) so each applicant filled out 11 applications, on average. The 34,786 applicants was an increase of 3.5 percent from last year, but nowhere near the high of 46,965 in 1996. The application numbers are interesting. The school with the most applications in 2003 was George Washington University with 9,132 applicants, the least was Brown University with 162. The University of Illinois had the most matriculants with 313 and the smallest class, consisting of 46 students, was at the FSU College of Medicine, a medical school started in 2000.
Correction: An alert reader pointed out my mistake in the above post. The Mayo School of Medicine has the smallest class. Thanks for pointing that out.
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