As I write this, I’m also looking at emails received from faculty at our affiliate hospitals across the United States and the United Kingdom. Many of us are still processing the AUC Clinical Symposium held recently on our St. Maarten campus: an overload of ideas, insights, and numerous shared touchpoints on how to improve the AUC experience. That last part is really the point of bringing us all together: we need to continually ensure that these partnerships are preparing our students for the healthcare systems they want to enter.
This annual event is an important part of our AUC culture. We bring our clinical faculty to our St. Maarten campus in order to connect them not only with the medical sciences faculty, but to integrate them into the full experience of being an AUC medical student. It’s a great occasion for bonding around education, the core of the AUC mission.
AUC does not have a teaching hospital that can accommodate all of its students. Therefore we enter into agreements with hospitals in the United States to ensure that our students receive excellent clinical training. We also offer clerkships in Europe, knowing that many of our students crave international experience.
These affiliations, through which we pay the hospital directly for training, are win-win. We secure quality clinical training for our students. The hospitals get a preview of future resident candidates plus funds they can potentially use to better their hospital, whether it’s a renovation, funds to pay a resident, or funds for the indigent care that safety net hospitals provide.
I was a family medicine clerkship director at an LCME-accredited US medical school. The challenges were the same. Part of our mission was to train medical students, but that the fact is that it costs clinical sites money to train students. A student in training adds supply cost simply by donning gloves with you for a procedure. The practice also incurs administrative costs when it uses staff time to coordinate the student’s schedule. In my practice, these costs were minimal, but the opportunity costs were quite large. A supervising physician who allows a student to have the type of patient contact needed to develop his or her skills is slowed down—this doctor can expect to see fewer patients or pay additional overtime. When the physician’s practice is not compensated for providing clinical training, the practice either loses revenue or passes the cost on to the patients. Why would a practice agree to train medical students? Some physicians, like me, really enjoy teaching and would opt to make less money, or if they were salary paid, lose out on some of their productivity bonuses.
At AUC we are very grateful to our clinical affiliates who provide their time, expertise, and -- very, very important – their enthusiasm to teaching AUC students. AUC partners with hospitals that have a true commitment to training medical students. At our recent symposium it was wonderful to meet with faculty whose personal mission is aligned with our students.
Dr. Heidi Chumley
Posted April 21, 2014 11:08 AM