Student Perspectives on the Impact of an Undergraduate Work-Integrated Learning Program on Admission and Transition to Medical School
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Work-integrated learning (WIL) is a form of education that integrates academic and workplace study. Such programs provide students the opportunity to concurrently develop cognitive and non-cognitive competencies. The purpose of this study is to explore which experiences and skills learned in a WIL placement are useful in applying to medical school and transitioning into the first year of a Doctor of Medicine program. All individuals who worked in the Rapid Response Radiotherapy Program (RRRP; WIL placement) since 2004 and had completed at least 1 year of medical school were invited to participate. Semi-formal interviews were conducted and transcribed. A thematic analysis was completed to identify recurring concepts, and quotes were selected to represent them. Of 39 eligible individuals, 14 agreed to participate (36%). Students identified the volume of work, achieving a work-life balance, and time management as challenges in first-year medical school. Five themes emerged regarding the impact of the RRRP on applying and transitioning to medical school: time management skills, mentorship opportunities, research experience, clinical experience, and career choice. WIL placements present a unique opportunity for undergraduate students interested in pursuing medicine to acquire skills and experiences that will help them succeed in applying and transitioning to medical school.
KeywordsWork-integrated learning Co-operative education Medical school Undergraduate medical education
The authors wish to thank the survey participants and the generous support of Bratty Family Fund, Michael and Karyn Goldstein Cancer Research Fund, Joey and Mary Furfari Cancer Research Fund, Pulenzas Cancer Research Fund, Joseph and Silvana Melara Cancer Research Fund, and Ofelia Cancer Research Fund. The authors would also like to thank Peggy Jarvie, Associate Provost, Co-operative and Experiential Education, for her leadership within the co-operative education program at the University of Waterloo.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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