By John Burrow, MD
Dr. John Burrow, orthopaedic surgeon, has students from the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (EVCOM) shadowing him as part of their medical school curriculum. Dr. Burrow explained how he actively trains medical students to prepare them as future physicians.
Tell us why hands-on experience is essential for medical students?
The world of medicine is complex and ever-changing. Between the continuous development of cutting-edge technologies, increased focus on specializations and the drastic shift in the health care system over the last three years, deciding to pursue medicine as a profession can seem daunting and overwhelming. For my EVCOM students, I need to give them the space to experience firsthand what life as a physician can entail. The first few years in medical school are just books and tests – being introduced to the various specialties in real-time helps them to nail down what they are most interested in and give them the opportunity to see if medicine is an area they want even want to pursue.
What do you enjoy most about working with students?
I enjoy seeing their progression from start to finish, from not entirely understanding the ins and outs of the role to beginning to put the pieces of the puzzle together in their brain, leading to better interactions with patients, an ability to think more critically and ask questions. All the information they absorb can be used throughout their time in medicine, if not practically, which will help them be a more well-rounded physician.
What helped you the most as a student to get through medical school?
It’s so important to keep an open mind during your time in rotations. When you’re in school, you need to be malleable. Certain experiences during rotations can completely change a student’s mind, even on what field they choose for specialization. It’s also important to thoughtfully consider every rotation because you never know what may change your mind.
What final advice did you receive during your time as a student that could be helpful to future physicians?
To be a physician, you must be a go-getter and be willing to put in the work. There is also nothing that can prepare you for what is happening in the world now or what is potentially to come. But stick to your core principles – do good work and take care of your patients – and the best outcomes will happen. Is this profession for everyone? No. Does this get easier with time? No. But would I do it all over again? Absolutely.
Dr. John D. Burrow is a fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon at Orthopaedic & Spine Center in Newport News, Va. Dr. Burrow focuses on treating arthritic or injured hips and knees, with a special interest in Adult Joint Replacement and Revision Surgery. osc-ortho.com