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Thread: Prospective from a Graduate - My Experience at SHSU

  1. #1
    RabbiDoc is offline Newbie 513 points
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    Prospective from a Graduate - My Experience at SHSU

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    Dear Colleagues,

    I would like to share with you my experience with Spartan Health Sciences University School of Medicine.

    Let me first start off by saying, I am not an employee of the school nor do I have a stake in its finances what-so-ever. This is a true account of experience.

    I graduated from Spartan in December 2006. I entered the May 2003 class with 25 other students. I completed 3 years of undergraduate education at a prestegious university in Canada and enrolled at Spartan for my medical school education. I did plenty of research prior to choosing Spartan. I looked into every caribbean medical school in existence. I found graduates of Spartan who were practicing by doing online searches and I would call them directly (sometimes at their private clinics) to ask them about their experience. In retrosepect, that may not have been the best way to go about things but at the end of my research I felt comfortable with attending Spartan. I was on this forum reading every post and posting my own questions. I felt my research of Spartan was comprehensive and I decided to attend.

    I arrived in Vieux Fort, St. Lucia in May of 2003 expecting resorts and Miami living. I was dead wrong! The first thing I wanted to do when I arrived, was fly right back home. I met other students who were going to be starting in my class, and we all felt scared. We had arrived in a developing nation where the roads were rickety, the system completely different, and feeling like you're on a rock in the middle of the ocean a million miles from the comforts of the USA/Canada. I had traveled to many foreign countries beforehand, and seen poverty plenty but actually living in a developing nation was a whole other animal. I remember seeing the school for the first time and thinking "this is it?". I was unsure if I would make it to my dream of practicing medicine. Many others around me had negative attitudes and this scared me even more. Before school started, I met with upperclassmen and felt somewhat comforted - "these people can do it, so I can too", I thought.

    I rented an apartment at the Kimitrai hotel. They have apartments for rent that overlook the ocean. I lived away from the school and away from where everyone else lived as I was trying to live the most luxurious life possible in this developing small town in St. Lucia. I spent huge amounts of money living here and it was great for the most part. The school had a driver pick me up every morning and bring me to school - at no additional cost. I would host parties for my classmates in my luxury apartment and generally have a good time. I felt safe. After spending thousands and thousands of dollars per month, I decided to move after completeing my first trimester. The cost of living had become too much. During my second trimester I lived in a nice apartment owned by a Mr. Roydn. It was in a heavily student populated area in a place we called "The Alley". "The Alley" was an alley where many students lived. It was great and I was saving alot of money living there! Roydn was great and lived in the main part of the house down below. It was safe.

    I'll back the story up a little - I started first tri and was cautiously optomistic about the education I would receive at Spartan. My professors were pretty good. Most of them were from India. I remember the Anatomy professor was phenomenal! He has since left from my understanding. I had my first examination of medical school and we all studied so hard - I scored well. I was pretty excited. I graduated with all honors my first trimester. Second trimester was more difficult. There were many more classes than first, and different professors to deal with. Two students had failed out and a couple students had transferred in from other schools. I did well in secondary tri, but did not score all honors this time. I tried my best and did very well. Third tri and fourth tri were a little easier. During my study for classes, I would always supplement textbook reading with a concurrent review of Kaplan USMLE Step 1 material. I graduated fourth tri and completed the comprehensive examination and left the island for the USA. I was so happy to leave!

    I took off 12 weeks after 4th tri to study for USMLE Step 1. I studied on my own and studied hard every day. I took USMLE Step 1 and passed on my first attempt. I scored reasonably well. I started my rotations at St. Anthony's Hospital in Chicago, IL. You could only go there if you had passed USMLE Step 1. I started with IM and completed most of my core rotations there. I took USMLE Step 2CS and CK while in the middle of my 3rd year and passed both on the first attempt. I did electives at Cook County Hospital and Rush University (which I set up on my own) in Chicago. I went to England for 2 rotations (just for fun) and I set those up on my own as well. I returned to the USA after 4 months of living in the UK and completed my electives in Chicago. I had to do one rotation (Pathology) at Jackson Park Hospital in Chicago. JPH is crawling with caribbean medical students. It is a run-down hospital in the projects of Chicago. I wanted to get out of there the moment I walked in. I finished my required 4 week Pathology rotation (which was actually not too bad) in December 2006. I graduated the same month and received my MD degree. At this time, I was also interviewing for residency positions throughout the USA. I decided not to return to Canada for residency.

    After receiving my degree in December 2006, I applied for ECFMG certification. I got this within a few weeks and applied to take USMLE Step 3, so I could match on an H1-B visa. I passed USMLE Step 3. I matched into a great Family Medicine residency on an H1-B visa. I completed my residency and started practicing as a Hospitalist in 2010 in a beautiful hospital in a very large metropolitan center 120 miles from the Canadian border. I love my job and have a great lifestyle. I make approximately $400,000 annually and Im living a good life. I work a week on and a week off. I therefore have 2 weeks off per month. I usually work 1 of these weeks doing extra shifts (so that I can make 400K) and I usually travel with my wife the other week to some exotic destination. We take trips to Europe and Asia and South America every 6 to 8 weeks. We recently came back from a month long vacation in Africa. I drive a brand new BMW convertible. Life is good and owe it in large part to Spartan!

    This story is not meant to brag about my accomplishments or what I have. Its meant to give you a true account of a graduate who started out just like you wondering "could I ever make it if I went to Spartan". The answer is yes.

    I studied pretty hard while on the island, but I had fun too. I did my share of partying but I never lost sight of my goals. Spartan is NOT for those who need their hand held. Its for those students who know how to self study and self teach. You must be very motivated. I had a clear game plan from day 1 of medical school. I would ready USMLE Step 1 material for every class and supplement my lectures and textbook reading with USMLE review. I studied hard for Step 1 after finishing basic sciences. I never failed any classes in basic sciences and I always aimed for honors. I rotated at good hospitals - although where you rotate really has no bearing on if/where you'll get a residency. I studied hard for Step 2CS and CK. My rotations did not provide me with all I need to pass those exams - again it was alot of self-teaching. The school definitely has its issues - back then administration could be dodgey at times and tell you half truths. In the end I made it. Nobody cares which school I graduated from. Nobody knows pr cares what "the big 3 or 4" are. Once I was in residency, where I went to school didnt matter and was never even questioned. Now that Im in practice, its where I went to residency that people ask (if they even ask that). Nobody cares if you went to Spartan or Yale. All they care about is that you have a license to practice medicine, are board certified, are of good moral character, and know how to do your job well.

    FYI - many in my class made it with similar stories, some did not. What we all had in common was keeping our eye on the prize and having a game plan from day 1 of medical school. We all partied and enjoyed ourselved within a limit, never losing focus of the end goal. Spartan can help you attain your dream - you will have to do all the hard work though. There will be no handholding from this institution. Spartan is for those who know how to study on their own and self-teach. Spartan will provide you a ticket to sit the USMLEs and attain ECFMG certification - you have to do all the leg work. Im thankful to Spartan for the opportunity they afforded me - if they did not admit me, I may not be in the position Im in today. I hang my Spartan degree in my office proudly and every time I look at it, I remember the work that went into it and the value of it.

    Good luck to you in the pursuit of happiness and attainment of your dreams. Spartan can help. And, they'll do it a little cheaper than the rest.

    Im never on this site. If you PM me you will likely not get a response back. Im sorry about that.

    BTW - every student from every school complains about how their school sucks, especially when your doing your rotations. Every school has the same issues. Some are bigger and prettier but the internal issues are the same. Don't be fooled! A foreign school is a foreign school - when it matters, nobody will say "Ooo, he went to St. Georges and she went to Spartan". Nobody cares.

    Off to pack now for a 5 day shopping trip to Hong Kong with my wife

    RabbiDoc
    Last edited by RabbiDoc; 09-22-2012 at 07:23 PM.

  2. #2
    docmobile is offline Junior Member 511 points
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    I Appreciate your success story. can you tell me what the total cost of education was including living expenses, tuition, hospital fees and travel? What other schools had you applied to and visited prior to matricutaing there? docmobile.

  3. #3
    RabbiDoc is offline Newbie 513 points
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    Total cost at the end of it all was $153,000 USD. I paid that off within 1.5 years of graduating from residency. I applied to, received acceptance from, and visited Saba, MUA, AUC, Ross, SGU, and Spartan. All were legit, Spartan was the cheapest. Every school's students had the same complaints believe it or not.

  4. #4
    RN2DR is offline Junior Member
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    Buhpi, It's good to hear your story. I agree with you. The experience was different than expected, however, it was well worth it. If the students can stay focused and just study they can make it through the journey. The end result is a degree in medicine (MD) and a great life without limitations. Good luck to everyone.
    OB/GYN Oregon

  5. #5
    coyfish is offline Newbie 510 points
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    I wouldn't believe anything said here. Block of lies.

    If you think making 400K in FAMILY MEDICINE just 2 years after coming out of the caribbean and getting a mediocre residency is possible ... you have a big reality check coming your way. And getting 2 weeks off every month ... that is absurd and not even remotely believable.

    Average pay for FM physicians coming out of US schools is MUCH less than that and they work very hard generally speaking. One of the most overworked / underpaid branches of medicine. A radiologist, cardiologist, surgeon, etc coming out of a great US school / residency wouldn't be making that much.

  6. #6
    laricb is offline Member 542 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by coyfish View Post
    I wouldn't believe anything said here. Block of lies.

    If you think making 400K in FAMILY MEDICINE just 2 years after coming out of the caribbean and getting a mediocre residency is possible ... you have a big reality check coming your way. And getting 2 weeks off every month ... that is absurd and not even remotely believable.

    Average pay for FM physicians coming out of US schools is MUCH less than that and they work very hard generally speaking. One of the most overworked / underpaid branches of medicine. A radiologist, cardiologist, surgeon, etc coming out of a great US school / residency wouldn't be making that much.
    I agree this guy is from fantasy land looks like he makes $1000.00 an hour

  7. #7
    docmobile is offline Junior Member 511 points
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    That does sound a bit far-fetched. Not sure what a 'mediocre residency' is, if it is ACGME accredited, it will still lead to Board Cert. I do know a FP who is working in a high-volume primary care clinic seeing about 200pts. a day (multiple drs.) If he is more than just an employee, he may be possibly making that much. 2 weeks a month is too good to be true! The current entry level pay for FP seems to be about 160-180K.

  8. #8
    docmobile is offline Junior Member 511 points
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    By the way, I certainly haven't heard of pay reductions just because someone graduated from a Caribbean school.

  9. #9
    docmobile is offline Junior Member 511 points
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    Within 1.5 years of completing residency? Wow, what was your secret? Did you have a spose supporting you so that you could use all your pay on loan payments? Did you have free housing and no other living expenses? You should rite a book about that one!

  10. #10
    darman is offline Newbie 510 points
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    What state/province are you currently working in?

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