Welcome, MD Class of 2024!Posted on August 26, 2020
A very warm welcome to our new medical students! We’re thrilled that you said #YestoNOSM. You have worked hard to get here and it has been quite a journey already. You’ve chosen a career of service and humbling work, one made up of heroes on the frontlines.
We are No Ordinary School of Medicine. NOSM was established with an explicit social accountability mandate, one that is internationally renowned. We are a major contributor to the health and well-being of the diverse peoples and communities of Northern Ontario, and you will soon be contributing to this mission.
As the newest members of the NOSM community, you will soon experience a collaborative atmosphere where your individual aspirations are encouraged and your successes are celebrated.
You’ll likely feel all kinds of emotions in the coming days and you may be asking yourself questions. Did you make the right choice? Was it worth the sacrifice? Absolutely. Without a doubt! The transition is challenging. Adapting from your previous life into medical school, then four years later into residency, will be even tougher. Let me try to prepare you for this first transition.
1. Act like a doctor starting now.
Most people, including patients you encounter, see you as a doctor now. That probably includes your family who will start asking you to look at rashes and examine their throats. This may seem weird to you. You may be asking yourself: “Do they realize they made a mistake admitting me?” I can assure you that NOSM’s Admissions team did not make a mistake. You are here because you deserve to be. You’ve earned it!
Research on imposter syndrome among medical students concluded that a quarter of all male medical students and nearly half of female students experience imposter syndrome. Be aware of this and note when or if it shows up in you.
With all of the privileges that come with this role, there are many responsibilities. Start thinking about your decisions, words and actions and how they might be interpreted by patients or colleagues. Watch what you post on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or other social media. Remember that doctors have high standards of professionalism. Check out these CPSO education modules.
2. Embrace kindness and respect.
NOSM is committed to creating a climate where learners, faculty, staff, and patients can expect the highest standards of respect, kindness and professional collegiality and civility. If we can embrace and learn from each other’s differences—including our race, gender, abilities, backgrounds, beliefs, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and our infinite number of inherent and acquired traits—a compassionate future awaits. We have come together to create a culture of diversity, inclusion, respect, social accountability and wellness. Let’s work in a culture of kindness and Respect the Difference™. Verse yourself now, so you have an understanding of our culture.
3. Accomplish the skill of “drinking from a fire hose.”
The amount of information you will be required to learn will be massive. You will have to learn to study more efficiently. The goal is not to memorize and regurgitate, but to develop life-long learning skills. Medical knowledge and evidence will forever be rapidly changing and evolving.
There also will be multiple teachers with multiple styles. You will be expected to learn new information more quickly than ever. Be ready to adjust your schedule and study habits accordingly. Most importantly, learn as you go and try not to cram it all in before an exam. In practice, there will not be a ‘notice’ of an urgent patient issue and no time to cram—you need to learn how to access the information you need and to use it when needed.
4. Stay well and become resilient.
You may get to be so busy that you start to feel like you are losing touch with your friends and family. You may feel pulled in many different directions about how to best spend your time. Your social relationships will need to be renegotiated. It can take an emotional toll. Please know that this is a normal experience. You are not alone!
Don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you need support in discussing this adjustment. Protect your own health by ensuring you carve out time to stay fit, healthy and take regular time off.
5. Be socially accountable.
You are embarking on a life-long journey. It will be amazing the first time you hear a murmur or correctly diagnose a disease, deliver your first baby, lead a team in a cardiac arrest resuscitation, or get your first research paper published. It will all be incredibly satisfying. Stay grounded in knowing that this work is for the betterment of people’s lives and communities.
You will hear the term “social accountability” a lot. NOSM adheres to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of the social accountability of medical schools: “the obligation to direct their education, research and service activities towards addressing the priority health concerns of the community, region and the nation that they have a mandate to serve.”
You are the changemakers. In being socially accountable you must attend to the needs and the diversity of the populations of Northern Ontario. You bring your own unique experiences to this diverse learning community. So welcome! Welcome to the rest of your life. You’ve got this and we have your back.
Miigwetch, thank you, merci, for saying yes to this incredible career.