Effective Career Planning Programming at Osteopathic Medical Schools
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1. We use a monthly open forum over a noon hour, to allow students to meet and ask me (and our other career counselor) any questions about matches, careers, how to make their residency applications stronger, etc.
2. We built Careers in Medicine into our tiered-model of advisement for DOs. This model, and the details of its components, are below.
TIER 1: Online, accessible and comprehensive support "Careers" tab on our student portal.
We created an online resource on our student portal to help students get access to important Careers information. This Career tab is organized based on the phases of Careers in Medicine, but it offers more individualized osteopathic career support: PCOM Match Lists, a link to the Opportunities database, questions to ask programs to prepare for residency, resume templates, and an online letter of recommendation tracker are all available from the Career tab.
TIER 2: Face-to-face, accessible group support "Careers" Presentations Starting early in the third year, we begin a series of presentations aimed at focusing students on their residency selection process. Next year we plan to start these presentations in the students' second year.
These presentations do not follow the presentations developed by Careers in Medicine, as they were not a good fit for our student population.
Instead, we focus the series on (1) getting to know yourself, (2) the program director's perspective of you, and (3) the actual "nuts-and bolts" of applying.
TIER 3: Face-to-face, accessible individualized support Individual Career Sessions Shortly after the first Career presentation in the beginning of the students' third year, students are encouraged to schedule an appointment with me or Patience Mason (our Georgia Student Affairs coordinator) to discuss their career options. These appointments last about an hour in length, and help the students to focus their next year to result in a positive match outcome.
TIER 4: Online, accessible supplemental information Careers in Medicine site The Careers in Medicine site is integrated into the "Careers" tab and the Individual Career Sessions. The assessments and specialty pages are the most helpful components of the site. In general though, because the site is not an exact fit for our student population, it is not as heavily emphasized as other tiers of our services.
TIER 5: Online, accessible supplemental information Residency Help Desk (ResHelp) ResHelp is the final tier of our support model, and it provides fast responses to residency questions. The Help Desk is an email inbox that three people from our office oversee. Responses are given within one business day. It provides a "life line" for students who have specific nuts-and-bolts questions about the process of applying. Since our students are often on away rotations, they need access to a convenient method of support. ResHelp fills this need.
3. We distribute Careers in Medicine passwords to first-year students in their first quarter. We offer a workshop after hours with sandwiches and introduce the system. In the spring we hold a wellness fair addressing vocations, targeting first and second-year students. We will have laptops set up and promote the use of the site. We reach third-year students with presentations during the week of OMS-III testing where we go through some exercises that are scripted by CiM. Physicians are present for the OMS-III event and keeps things focused on osteopathic residencies and processes. Also, the physicians lend the discussion credibility.
Resources for Advisors
Specialty and Geographic Distribution of the Physician Workforce: What Influences Medical Student and Resident Choices?
The Roadmap to Residency
Choosing a Medical Specialty E-Book
Strolling Through the Match AAFP
Charting Outcomes in the Match