Fast-tracking medical training could have harmful effects, OU dean says

Medical students need adequate experience and information to make the best career decisions, said Dr. Dewayne Andrews, executive dean of the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine.
by Kathryn McNutt Modified: January 16, 2014 at 10:00 am •  Published: January 15, 2014

Fast-tracking medical school to produce doctors quicker and reduce their student debt could have some unhealthy consequences, an Oklahoma expert says.

“There's just an awful lot to learn. There's a lot of experience they need,” said Dr. Dewayne Andrews, executive dean of the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine.

Fewer than a dozen of the nation's 124 medical schools are offering or actively considering three-year programs, according to a Kaiser Health News article published Tuesday.

NYU School of Medicine launched its program in September with 16 members of a 160-member class, and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock graduated its first three-year class in 2013, according to the article.

Forcing quick decisions?

Shaving a year off the traditional four-year track would require students to be in school year-round their first two years with no breaks and could push them to make career decisions too early, Andrews said.

Choosing a specialty is something they figure out as they go through clinical rotations in areas ranging from surgery to obstetrics and gynecology during their third year, he said.

“I started medical school convinced I was going to be a surgeon,” Andrews said. But he discovered over time that internal medicine was his passion.

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by Kathryn McNutt
Higher Education Reporter
Kathryn McNutt covers higher education for The Oklahoman and NewsOK. Since joining the staff in August 2000, she also has worked as the Breaking News editor, Metro editor and assistant Local editor. A native of Oklahoma City, she graduated from...
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