Are you a prospective medical student? Did you ever wonder what it be like to get sneak peak at the medical concepts you will be learning? I have spoken to the new people who are coming to SJSM next year and they are eager to start studying. They asked for the notes so they can have a head start on their studies. Unfortunately, the teachers of SJSM would not like their lecture notes to be passed on like that so I can’t pass it on. Most of the professors who teach the basic science courses in Saint James School of Medicine are PhD researchers in medicine, while some others hold MBBS degrees. Luckily, students of Saint James School of Medicine are very supportive of the new students and they are very resourceful. To the new student don’t get anxious to learn the medical concepts, enjoy yourself in USA/Canada while prepare yourself for the brutal 16 months you will spend in Bonaire or Anguilla. I know living Bonaire is hard if you have a tight budget, I don’t know much about Anguilla though; I heard it’s far more modern than Bonaire but yet expensive.
Surprisingly, I found some Kaplan Medical videos floating around the web. The concepts shown in this video is exactly what you will be learning in Saint James School of Medicine. It’s a short clip but it’s a good sneak peak of the information that you will be exposed to.
Health Fair The SGA of Saint James School of Medicine held a health fair a while back to provide free medical treatment to the community. We spoke with the local church and arranged the event on October 31st to give back to the community. We set up different stations for the patients to check up with their blood pressure. BMI, height, weight, vision, dental, and other medical measurements were taken and counseling were given based on their health status. Yes, luckily we have an experienced dentist as a SJSM student in the MD4 class, and he offered his services free to the community. We also had a BBQ arranged by the MD3 students. It was a success, and several pictures were shown in the Bonaire Reporter, a local newspaper. On of them I posted below.
Deposit Yes, the Bonairians will give your money back if you put a deposit down to get your residency permit. I got my money back and it was a stressful process. For the new upcoming students, you don’t have to put down any deposit for immigration. The policy was by the Bonairan government, but now since the island is taken over by the Dutch, no deposit is required to get a residency permit. Also, in order for you to leave the island, make sure you get your passport stamped with the exit stamps. If you don’t do so then there could be problems at the airport.
Final Block Tests The MD4 students are getting rowdier day by day as the time is drawing closer to the end of the semester. MD4 students are running around getting things prepared for the white coat ceremony and getting things sold and packing things up. All the tickets out of Bonaire have been sold for half of the weekends of December. There are only weekend flights that fly to USA. Only in rare times will a plane go to USA any other time. We have 2 blocks of tests left and I have to be focused. The excitement of finishing Basic science and getting out of Bonaire is among all of us.
Clinical Preparation It feels good to know that we’re on our way to clinical clerkship. Even though AICM is an introduction, we will be in a hospital setting so, it feels good to know that we are closer to our goal of becoming MDs. The only obstacle we have to overcome is the dreadful USMLE. My parents said the clinical package came to our house in the States. We all have to get CPR certified before the class starts in AICM.
White Coat The white coat committee seems to be walking around taking pictures and video recording and discussion out loud what to do for the ceremony. Every semester the MD4 class makes a white coat presentation of fun times and they present it to everyone in the ceremony; for our class, the talented white coat committee is making one and I hope it turns out good.
The last 30 days seems to be the most hectic; in 30 days I am leaving Bonaire. I got myself in a position where I have to complete so many tasks in less than 30. All MD4 students are to complete a big research project and present the project. The research project requires using principles of epidemiology. We can work in a group of 4 to 5 people. Epidemiology is not my favorite subject nor is it interesting. The topics covered are very boring and to me yet I have to learn the material; the subject is basically biostatistics.
Other tasks I have to keep up are studying for PDI and Systemic Pathology. Honestly, I am so sick of coming to class every day. I study better while I’m in the comfort of my home. I am far more focused on the subject when I am in my room with no one around me to distract me. However, by Saint James School of Medicine’s attendance policy, all students are required to have 80% attendance per block in order to take the block exams.
The SJSM newsletter came out and 52 students have applied to the national match program so, it looks as if SJSM is improved a lot in terms of helping students pass Step 1. Tuition went up $500 from $4,500 to $5,000, if this keeps on going up then SJSM will no longer be the cheapest medical school to go to. Clinical tuition increased also; it’s now $7,500. Before, when I was an MD1, the tuition for clinical clerkship was $6,900; so it went up by$600. I hope they don’t increase it anymore until the school gets federal loans otherwise students will have to take long breaks from months to years in order to pay for school.
As for AICM, many classmates have talked to Chicago office and found a very strict policy for the first clinical semester.
Before anyone can take the USMLE Step 1 exam the following conditions must be met by the student:
– Take AICM Semster
– Pass NMBE Exam
– Pass ExamMaster Exam made by the school
Once the conditions are met, the school will give the green light to take the USMLE Step 1. Don’t think you can take it without the permission of SJSM. No medical student can take the USMLE Step 1 without the permission of a medical institution.