Into the abyss: fifth semester. Part 4: the Xavier orientation
The Xavier orientation was held at the GMC office (see previous post in this series). There is a separate Xavier office immediately adjacent to GMC, but it does not contain a meeting room.
There were three speakers: the chief registrar, CM, the clinical director, Dr. Z, and the rotations coordinator, MS. The whole thing lasted three hours.
Most of the orientation was about schedules and sequences for Kaplan, rotations, and Step 1. Certain things have to be done in a specific order and within certain time frames; a misstep will throw your schedule into disarray and may force you to take a wasteful leave of absence or miss a test deadline. For example, various documents like immunization records and the police clearance must be in your file a month before your first scheduled rotation, and application for a Step 1 test date must be filed in time to allow for the long delay in processing it. It's rather complicated, and there's no point enumerating all of it here because it will certainly change by the time you get to the orientation.
A packet was handed out containing the following documents:
1. Course schedule for ICM and GIR. Each class meets for five consecutive days, four hours per day. For ICM, you should have your own stethescope and blood pressure thingy; as your PDI teacher will tell you, no two instruments are exactly alike, and you will perform best if you use something you are accostomed to. If for some reason you don't have these, they can be bought locally.
2. Administrative contact list. Contains the address, phone number, and email address of all the key players for the fifth semester and beyond. They emphasized that only email arriving via the official school email server will be answered. The only exception is when you can't get your email to work, in which case you can send a complaint to CM using your personal email account.
3. An ExamMaster brochure, on the back of which is the email address of CM, whom you will have to contact to switch your ExamMaster access to the "clinical portal" from the "basic sciences portal" which you currently have access to.
4. Leave of Absence Request form. A leave of absence must be approved by Dr. Z; current valid excuses are financial hardship, more time to study for Step 1 (but you must have a firm test date to get this leave of absence), and personal tragedies.
5. Transcript Request form.
6. A list of all the libraries, with their addresses, phone numbers, and hours, located in and around Atlanta.
7. The Clinical Student Handbook. The first 13 pages of the full document which can be found online. It lists the required and optional rotations, all the various documents you must have, and details about conduct, appearance, behavior, evaluations, housing, and tips on how to succeed in rotations.
Overall, the orientation was positive and all questions were answered. There was a little bit of confusion over scheduling by students who are taking the Kaplan Live Prep in distant locations and whose schedules don't exactly match those doing the CenterPrep in Atlanta. Such issues seem to have been resolved by the three aforementioned personnel.
One thing you must be sure of: don't get behind in your tuition payments. At almost every step of the way from orientation to graduation, a check is made with accounting at the New York office. If your account is not "clear", i.e., if you owe anything, they won't let you do anything. Also, your records must have all the documents specified in the clinical handbook (immunizations, police clearance, passport photos, curriculum vitae, etc.) one full month before you start rotations. You don't need any of those things for fifth semester, so don't go running around looking for a doc to give you shots while you're still in Aruba.
Make sure you get your white lab coat when you graduate Basic Sciences. Rotations require that you wear a short white coat with your school logo on it; the one you get at the white coat ceremony is sufficient. You are expected to have a clean one on every day, so you will have to buy few extra coats. You can place orders for these at the Xavier office in the Atlanta Medical Center. You won't need the coats during fifth semester, but you must have them by the start of rotations.
Brain surgeon to another: "Hey, this isn't rocket science".
Rocket scientist to another: "Hey, this isn't brain surgery".
Forum Moderator - Xavier Aruba