I’ve had a busy week. Last weekend I went to the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference in Orlando (thank you AAP for the generous scholarship!) and yesterday I got back from Step 2 CS in Chicago.
The conference was a great experience, I met some awesome people and gained a better appreciation for what exactly the AAP does. I came away very impressed. The AAP does some great work overseas (see the Helping Babies Breathe project) as well as lobbying for children’s health in the United States.
Have I mentioned that I love Pediatrics? One day I’ll write about what led me to choose it as a specialty.
I also heard Atul Gawande speak! He’s a cool dude. He talked about how complex medicine is becoming and how we need better tools to handle this complexity (he advocates for the use of checklists). Good stuff.
Step 2 CS on the other hand was not so much fun. For those who don’t know, Step 2 CS is the “practical” Step exam. You see twelve fake patients and write notes on each of them. It also costs $1200.
I’m not a fan of this test for a few reasons. Check out this article which states:
“Of 17,852 examinees taking the exam in a given year, we predict that only 32 per year would not pass the exam on a repeat attempt. Even if no examinee had to use a loan to pay for the exam, the cost of identifying a single “double failure” would be $635,977; using the adjusted expenditure figure of $36.2 million, we calculate the cost as $1.1 million.”
Basically it’s an incredibly expensive test that serves little purpose.
Here is my question: why can’t we trust medical schools to administer this test? Get the AAMC to require a similar exam that meets certain standards in order to be an accredited as a medical school. Creighton already does this in order to prepare us for Step 2 CS and I have a feeling many other schools do as well.
Cut out the huge fees, cut out the inconvenient travel that interferes with our actual education (CS is only administered in five cities across the US) and cut out another source of anxiety for medical students. I see no downside to this.
Medical school sometimes seems like a series of hoops to jump through. While many are necessary, Step 2 CS seems especially arbitrary.
Anyway, sorry about the rant. Thanks for reading- stay tuned to the blog the next couple weeks. I am going to start giving away books that I no longer need and want to see others use! For free! It will be awesome.