Frequently Asked Questions
Will I do as well on my USMLE testing as I would if I stayed in Morgantown?
Yes. Charleston students perform as well on Boards, matching in subspecialty residencies, etc. And, we clearly feel they have much more direct patient care training (quantity and quality per given level of training).
Will I get similar didactic teaching to what I would in Morgantown?
Student perspective: The didactic experience is very rotation dependent, but on a whole I believe we get less didactic learning here than in Morgantown. However, we make up for it in that we probably get more clinical experience and more hands on experience as compared to our classmates in Morgantown. Additionally, on certain rotations, we get more teaching on rounds from the attending and we get very good one-on-one teaching experiences with the residents. This is especially true of the medicine rotation, which is exceptional.
Student perspective: I felt that I received ample didactic teaching on rounds during my internal medicine rotation. Pediatrics also provided a decent amount of informal teaching both on rounds and in clinic. The amount of teaching received on OB/Gyn is highly dependent on the resident with whom you are working. Family medicine does not offer as much informal teaching in the hospital and clinic, but the textbook is an excellent source of basic information. My rural rotation was very educational as the physician with whom I worked was very enthusiastic about having a student, but again this will vary among students and the different sites for their rural rotations.
Will there be opportunities to participate in research?
There are many opportunities to participate in research in such areas as interventional cardiology, diabetes, and cancer treatment, among others. In many cases, clinical research is actually easier to do in Charleston than in Morgantown. There are fewer students, and therefore each can get more individual attention from faculty involved in projects.
The Research and Grants Office currently oversees more than 300 open protocols, both clinical trials as well as investigator-initiated research. The Institutional Scientific Review Board has members that will consult with students regarding ideas, research designs, and data analysis.
The CAMC/WVU Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects office provides guidance and support to new researchers regarding how to conduct studies to assure human subjects protection, in compliance with institutional guidelines and federal regulations. Research activity with students is viewed as exciting and enjoyable, and students at Charleston can expect to receive a lot of encouragement and support.
-Dr. John Linton, faculty
Will I have opportunities to do procedures?
Student perspective: I have been able to perform all of the central lines and arterial lines that have come my way on my medicine and surgery rotations. I have also had the chance to perform paracentesis a couple of times. On my OB/GYN rotation, I got to do a lot in the OR, as well as on my surgery rotation. If you are interested, the residents will let you do a lot. I have had the chance to do quite a bit, especially compared to my fellow students in Morgantown, from what some of them have told me.
Is there a medical library?
The West Virginia University Charleston Division supports a full service medical information center for medical students, faculty, staff, and residents.
You can access our web page at lib.wvu.edu/charleston. From the home page you can access EbscoHost (full-text), The Cochrane Library (full-text), Health and Wellness Resource Center (full-text), MD Consult (full-text), PubMed, and a host of other digital resources.
Through our access to the National Library of Medicine and OCLC services we can assess the collections of all national and international medical libraries for borrowing books and journal articles. Many times, your requested article can be sent digitally to your e-mail account.
What about the computer system at WVU Charleston?
Student perspective: I find the computer system at WVU-Charleston is comparable to the system in Morgantown. However, in our clinical training, we do much less library research and web-based lectures. When the need arises, we have access to computer terminals in patient care areas, much more access than our counterparts in Morgantown. We have the same network ports, technology access and printer privileges with 24 hour access as the HSC in Morgantown.
What is call like in Charleston?
[Please keep in mind that call experiences vary considerably]:
Internal Medicine -- Typically every fourth night with an intern and a senior resident, typically quite busy (Memorial more so than General) with a majority of the time being spent in the Emergency Room evaluating patients for admission. Sunday-Thursday nights are covered by a night float team, so call ends at 11 pm. Friday and Saturday calls are overnight. Excellent opportunity for learning diagnosis and patient management as well as paperwork duties (i.e. orders, h&p). Good supervision and an opportunity to see a variety of patients. Third years regularly have an opportunity to learn procedures if a patient case warrants one.
Family Medicine -- There are three or four calls during a student's two week inpatient rotation. Call is taken from home and covers all three divisions of CAMC as well as Thomas Memorial. Call is taken with one resident. Call experience can vary considerably. The pace is typically slower and therefore, may allow for more teaching.
Pediatrics -- Call is similar to Internal Medicine as students will be on with an intern and a senior resident every fourth night, but only during the four week inpatient rotation. ER and direct floor admissions can be quite busy especially in the winter months. Admissions are typically not as complicated and all ICU admissions are covered by the senior resident. Somewhat less autonomy on pediatrics, but supervision is very good.
Psychiatry -- There are usually approximately eight calls over a six week period (no psychiatry call while on neurology). This is also taken from home and frequency of being called in can vary by resident and patient load. Good opportunity to learn psychiatric patient evaluation skills. Can be extremely busy on occasion.
OB/GYN -- typically busy nights. Students take call with an intern and a senior resident approximately eight times during the rotation. Call covers obstetrics patients only, but is taken throughout the entire rotation. Plenty of opportunity to follow laboring patients and participate in deliveries and C-sections. Earlier in the year (July and August), opportunities to deliver babies may be fewer as new interns are learning and need to do deliveries as well.----NS, MSIV
What is different about the education experience in Charleston?
Student perspective: Something that makes the educational experience at the WVU Charleston Campus different to me is the undivided, one-on-one attention we students have with our attendings and residents. Because we are a smaller class in Charleston, we as students have more opportunities to do central lines, learn how to throw stitches, do ABGs and lumbar punctures, etc. There may be times where there are only 4 to 5 students per rotation as opposed to 8-10 in Morgantown. Because of the small ratio, I believe that the Charleston group has more hands-on experience as compared to Morgantown.
What opportunities differ for Charleston-based students?
The main thing that Charleston based students will find different is the ability to attend live football games. It is a 2 and-a-half to 3 hour drive to see the Mountaineers play, and even further to Pittsburgh.
We also don’t have opportunities to participate in research in the basic sciences, although clinical research opportunities abound.
Otherwise, we have most of what they have in Morgantown. Plus, we have an airport 10 minutes from here which can take us to where they have everything else.