Mike Fazio (left) and Rafal Banas (middle) give a demonstration on a hospital staff member at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital. Fazio and Banas are set to finish a clerkship in Vernon as part of their third year studies with UBC.

Mike Fazio (left) and Rafal Banas (middle) give a demonstration on a hospital staff member at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital. Fazio and Banas are set to finish a clerkship in Vernon as part of their third year studies with UBC.

Med students make Vernon rounds

In August, Rafal Banas and Mike Fazio of UBC’s Southern Medical Program will complete an Integrated Community Clerkship in Vernon.

There’s a first for everything but it’s not often that they’re met with such success

In August, Rafal Banas and Mike Fazio of UBC’s Southern Medical Program will complete an Integrated Community Clerkship in Vernon.

It marks the first year Vernon was included in the clerkship.

With the ICC’s past success throughout Canada, Vernon was added to the participating communities and has met with success for both the students and the staff.

“Our faculty are quite excited to have them and see them go from the beginning of third year and not knowing what to do with a patient, to very nearly being practicing physicians at the end,” said Dr. Allison Rankin, Vernon’s ICC Site Education Lead.

The ICC takes place in the student’s third year and requires students to work with local family doctors for two afternoons each week, an opportunity that isn’t common in traditional clerkships.

It allows students to not only experience a more hands-on approach to the field but also provides the experience of a doctor-patient relationship they otherwise might not receive.

“We get to be involved in their care from the time of their admission to the hospital until their discharge and follow up in the community. We may end up seeing out patients in Emergency Department, round on them during routine hospital visits, assist surgeons in OR, and eventually see them in the office on an outpatient basis,” said Banas

And according to Rankin, with the unique structure, it’s not just the student who is doing the learning.

“It always benefits physicians when you’re practicing to have students because you’re continually having to ask yourself, ‘why is it I’m doing this?’” said Rankin.

“You get asked questions about things you’ve being doing for years and it just kind of reminds you.”

The unique curriculum differs from that in bigger cities and can benefit both those who are moving on to specialize and those pursuing a career as a family doctor. Subjects are spread throughout the year as opposed to students spending periods of time studying each subject separately.

“VJH is a busy community hospital that has multiple medical specialties. We are privileged to get first-hand teaching from various specialists. There is enough both acuity and chronicity in all aspects of medicine.”

“The repeated exposures help maintain knowledge rather than learning something in a short period of time and then forgetting it,” said Fazio

Fazio, who hopes to specialize in either pediatrics or obstetrics and gynecology next year, credits his mentors for helping him with his decision to specialize.

“There’s a good crew of teachers here and part of my interest came from their excitement in the field,” said Fazio.

While the students are certainly benefitting from this unique learning experience, according to Rankin, having a program like this is also a benefit for smaller communities like Vernon.

“I’d like to see the community just be excited that there are learners here and that the hospital here is supporting these UBC students. They may be the physicians we see here in the very near future,” said Rankin.