MedWatch: MSU Medical School

"We teach medical students, that’s sort of the down and the dirty."

Lyn Conlon is a psychiatrist with Munson Medical Center, but she’s also a teacher.

"Across the board, we’re teachers as is any physician teaches the patients and in this case we’re teaching young doctors. I often refer to them as student physicians with the emphasis on physician. Because quite frankly, that’s who they are and they have to start getting that mindset. It’s OK to put your hands on the patient because you’re now going to be the doctor."

Dr. Conlon is the clerkship director for the psychiatric clerkship with Michigan State University in Traverse City.

She works with 3rd and 4th year medical students.

"I’m kind of fresh to the hospital scene. I just came off of two years of lectures and book studies down in East Lansing. What I’m doing now is just going through each rotation psychiatry, family medicine, surgery, the whole gambit trying to learn as much as I can to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life."

Kyle McDonald is one of 12 students enrolled in the program through Munson, and it’s not always easy to get in.

"My family vacationed up here a bunch growing up so I knew northern Michigan was beautiful, but I really wanted a smaller campus and it came down to trying to get here or Midland and it was such a popular campus actually it went to lottery to decide who was going to come up here," said 4th year Dearborn student Rachel Mason. 

The students like the personal attention they get at a smaller hospital.

4th year Indiana student Ian McKeag said, "we’re in communication with a lot of our old students who went to Grand Rapids, Flint, East Lansing and some of them have gone as far to say they’re a little jealous they don’t get as much hands on work as we do, a lot of one on one work."

And the good experiences these students have here may be enough to convince them to settle down in northern Michigan.

"The only way you’re going to get someone to come back and work in the general area is to show them what the area has to offer to establish relationships early on because once you have your contacts it’s going to be difficult to uproot yourself and try to reestablish contacts," said Dr. Conlon. 

That in the end would help the community, but in realty the patients here are already reaping the benefits.

"We need the community to know that kind of quality care and that kind of quality teaching is here we have basically gone from a community hospital to a medical center so that’s real important. Not just about prestige but in bringing in new technology and the ability to use that technology."

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