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MD4 Samarth Patel Reflects on His SJSM Anguilla Experience

November 04, 2015
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Anguilla MD4 Samarth Patel, who will be moving on to the 5th semester Advanced Introduction to Clinical Medicine in Chicago, IL starting January 2016, pens a letter about his positive experience in Basic Sciences.
My first impression upon arriving at Anguilla was simply wow. The island itself is gorgeous; it has plenty of activities and a wide range of destinations to explore during your free time. The water is always turquoise and the weather is practically always sunny—what better of an environment would one need to focus on their studies? When I got to Saint James, the first day was orientation. I was a new MD1 and had no idea what to expect. The professors, the dean, and everyone else made us all feel welcome immediately. They gave us great, inspiring speeches that reminded us all of why we chose to start medical school in the first place. Saint James School of Medicine Bonaire Orientation 2015 My motivation to attend Saint James was hearing from a former student how he had just finished the Basic Sciences program, and felt 100% comfortable in moving on to the next step. He told me the school prepares you very well across the board, and that was all I needed to know. I have not taken the USMLE quite yet, but from taking the classes throughout my semesters, I can certainly say the school prepares you well, and is fully invested in your future success. Saint James prepares us for AICM, USMLE step 1, clinical rotations, residency and wherever our futures may take us in the field. Everything in the curriculum is integrated, especially when you take the CCBS course (Clinical Correlations of Basic Sciences). Dr. Scannell teaches that class; she is phenomenal! The class requires you to think back to your previous courses and learn how to integrate that information altogether from a clinical perspective. That is definitely one solid way to prepare for AICM and clinicals! In MD4, you take a class called Physical Diagnosis (PDI). Learn your material thoroughly in MD1-MD3; pay attention to your professors and read a lot, because you will need to be able to recall the information and apply it clinically in PDI and AICM. Dr. Page teaches the lecture and case study portions of PDI, and you won’t want to miss a word she says because she is absolutely amazing. Dr. Iliou and the other outstanding professors teach the lab portion where everything you learn in the lecture is applied hands-on. We’re given simulator patients that we have to diagnose as a team and individually treat, making it feel as close as possible to the real deal. Everything is viewed through a clinical lens. Physical Diagnosis Lab Saint James School of Medicine This class prepares you very well for AICM and clinical rotations: Countless students who have successfully finished AICM and USMLE Step 1 have said this very same thing. The exams we take—4 block exams per semester per class throughout Basic Sciences—truly prepare us for the USMLE. All questions are USMLE-style and they require you to dedicate time toward combining your medical school coursework with your USMLE Step 1 studying. For example, you will many times have your First Aid textbook open along with your lecture notes, lab documents and course textbook while studying for the block exams. Doing that will help in learning the material thoroughly. Every professor here at Saint James will go out of his or her way to help you if you are struggling. They all have a great deal of medical and teaching experience and will push you in the right direction without fail. Their lectures establish a foundation for the material you need to master before taking the USMLE step 1. Their labs prepare you with the skills you need to apply that knowledge to the exams, and also for when you are in the hospital. The advice I have for new students is this: Always keep an open mind and stay focused on your end goal, whatever it may be. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Be willing to accept changes and be eager to learn. Living here is an experience like no other; you will learn many life lessons here and you’ll see a positive change in yourself as the days go by. Like any new experience in life, if you keep an open mind and are willing to take on challenges put forth, you will have no problem succeeding. This program is rigorous; it will challenge you and it is not easy. Then again, what really is easy? Anything you choose to do in life requires you to work hard; it’s all about dedication. That is what it takes to make it through: dedication and an open mind.
"Living here is an experience like no other; you will learn many life lessons here and you’ll see a positive change in yourself as the days go by."
I’m glad I came to this school. I feel ready for any challenge or obstacle that lies ahead. A big reason for why I feel this way is because of how my professors have trained me from Day 1. I am looking forward to AICM. When I take my Step and when I get to the hospital, I will be able to truly apply everything I have learned--and that is what makes me excited.
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