Crossing Bridges

After seven weeks with my nose glued to the books learning as much as I could about the renal, endocrine, and gastrointestinal systems as well as nutrition (yes all that somehow fit into seven seemingly short weeks), I was ready for a break from t

Wearing my white coat with my stethoscope hanging around my neck, I knock. I introduce myself while going through a checklist in my mind: say hello, ask how the patient would like to be addressed, start with the chief complaint.

It’s hard to believe that only five and a half months ago I anticipated sacrificing all free weekends, dreaded walking up the seriously underestimated hills of San Francisco, and walked into class with nonexistent anatomy knowledge among other thi

“Mr. Hayward is a 45-year-old African-American male with hypertension who presents with dyspnea on exertion…” Patient narratives like the one above traditionally open with a mention of race. That has begun to change, however, as UCSF and peer institutions move to discourage this practice—in some cases as early as in the first months of medical school.

An unexpected advantage of introducing a new curriculum has been the fervent solicitation of student feedback. Through a renewed emphasis on feedback and change, first-year students will not only cross Bridges, we will help build it.

This year, UCSF introduced Bridges, a new curriculum for first year medical students. The new curriculum involves 1.5 preclinical years instead of two, and features three major components: Foundational Sciences (FS), Core Inquiry Curriculum (CIC), and Clinical Microsystems Clerkship (CMC). With so many moving parts, trying to understand each piece is a challenge even for the first year medical students experiencing the new curriculum. Synapse’s newest column, Crossing Bridges, provides an insider view from five first year medical students as they break down the new curriculum’s different components.
For UCSF graduate students, the question “What do you want to do after you graduate?” is not a simple one. Many of us enter into graduate school with the intent of becoming PIs, but that goal does not always last.