Felix was one of the very first students to enrol at EDU. In this interview, he explains his reasons for choosing to study at Europe’s first digital medical institute of higher education, describes his experiences with the Digital Campus and talks about a special moment that occurred during the first clinical rotation.
EDU: Hello Felix, how did you come to EDU?
Felix: Unfortunately, I did not graduate from high school with a perfect score. So, I did not get a place at a university at first. I did not want to study abroad. Then I started training as a surgical assistant at Helios. I saw an article about EDU in the hospital magazine, and it mentioned that your admittance was not based solely on a perfect score, but also and especially on social competency as well as the capacity for empathy in dealing with others. I really liked that. In addition, the thought of being able to study digitally, i.e. from anywhere – at least the theory-component – was really appealing. I could identify with this spirit immediately.
EDU: What do you like about your studies at EDU?
Felix: A number of things: Of course, it is great not having to drive to the university every morning, but being able to have a relaxed breakfast and then attend an online lecture on the laptop. Studying from home is definitely my personal preference. Since we learn the theory in English, I think our chances of having an international career as doctors are quite good. The importance that our curriculum assigns to evidence-based medicine was also an important reason in choosing EDU. I have friends at state universities who have never had anything to do with this subject. But what I like the most is the fact that I was able to put my theoretical knowledge to the test of clinical reality at the patient’s bedside from week ten of the programme. We have three months of clinical rotation in each academic year right from the start. To have the chance to practically apply your theoretical knowledge under supervision, that does give you a really good feeling.
EDU: What is the teaching on the Digital Campus like?
Felix: Usually I will sit down at my laptop and start studying even before the start of the lessons in our virtual classroom. The preparation includes multiple choice questions, which allow us to check whether our independent studies are keeping us well-prepared for the lessons. In the class itself, we discuss the material together as a group. The classes are not teacher-or-lecturer-centered in a classic way, but everyone participates and contributes, or they have questions about the material they have worked on during their independent studies. After a short break, we continue with a quiz on the prepared material. We have 30 minutes to answer the questions. Every Monday the tutors present a patient case that I work on with my team over the course of the week. On Fridays, we present our strategy.
EDU: When they think of digital learning, some people imagine it to be a study programme undertaken in a metaphorical small quiet chamber, away from the world. What are your experiences?
Felix: I actually think we have a lot of contact with each other. We have classes every morning in our virtual classroom, we solve cases together online, we chat, skype or talk on the phone. In the virtual classroom, we also study together for the exams at the end of the modules. A fellow student lives near me, so we also meet in person once in a while.
EDU: You mentioned that you particularly enjoy clinical practice. Could you give us an example of what a day in clinical rotation looks like?
Felix: That depends a bit on the hospital unit, of course. In gastroenterology, for example, it was like this: starting work on the ward at 7:30 a.m., taking blood samples, then doing the rounds; documentation, overview of medication, taking blood samples again, placing vein accesses, taking medical histories and submitting them to the attending physician; after the lunch break, a meeting with the ward physicians. In the afternoon we would also have some time to get to know other units.
EDU: What has stayed with you the most from your previous rotations?
Felix: During our rotation in anaesthesiology, we had some ward physicians who demonstrated and explained many procedures for and to us. Under the supervision of the doctors, we were even allowed to become active ourselves. There were students in their 8th or 9th semester from other faculties at the hospital with us. They were astonished how advanced we were as first year students.
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