Top 10 reasons why you should choose Dalhousie
Med I and II electives in ANY area of medicine
Between January and April of Med I and October and April Med II, you are given a half day per week to complete a hands-on elective experience in ANY aspect of medicine you choose. You can do two half year electives, or one full year elective. It can be purely clinical, purely research-based, or a mix of the two. You can work in any field from neurosurgery to family medicine to geriatrics to Music in Medicine to international health to medical ethics, etc., etc., etc. Seriously, the sky is the limit. Students get a chance to "kick tires" in various specialties and explore their interests. Preceptors generally want to show students how great their specialties are, so you should get the opportunity to see and participate in some really cool procedures.
Early clinical experience in Med I and Med II
In addition to your elective time, we have a Skilled Clinician class that continues through Med II. Each week, you learn history taking and physical exam techniques in various fields. We all love getting a taste of real medicine with simulated and volunteer patients. That's why you want to go to medical school, right? These programs give first and second year students bedside exposure to the diseases you learn about in class and tutorial. It's a nice warm up to clerkship in third year (minus the call shifts!). Dal Med prides itself on graduating physicians with excellent communication skills and bedside manner. Right from the get-go, the curriculum backs that up.
This word takes on a whole new meaning when you study medicine at Dal. To us, Euphoria is an outstanding annual variety show where all four Med classes compete for bragging rights and the coveted Euphoria trophy (Dal is only a competitive program for one night each year). The show has been running for decades and is easily the most anticipated night of year here at Dal Med! All proceeds from the evening go to a different charity each year. Anyone and everyone are invited to witness the incredible talents of our students through music, song, dance, or any other form of entertainment! It's an opportunity to show off talents you didn't know you had. The best part about Euphoria is that it brings the class closer together. Former Dal students say that Euphoria memories stick with them for a lifetime.
There's no "I" in DAL MED
ight from the first day of Orientation Week, your class is in this together. Med school is a mighty beast to tame on your own. Why bother when you're surrounded by 110 bright minds with different perspectives from your own? Some of us like to fly solo in the books most of the time. Whatever floats your boat. But since so much of our learning happens in small groups, why not lean on each other when it's time to bear down for an exam? Everyone comes in with different strengths, ranging from a solid background in biochem and physiology to an uncanny ability to communicate with children. It seems that in every unit, whoever has a background in a certain subject will always volunteer to tutor the rest of us before the exam.
Most importantly, Dal Med is not a competitive program AT ALL. Period. We operate completely on a Pass/Fail system. Have you heard of the saying P = MD? You see your number grade, but no one else cares. Just needing to pass doesn't breed complacency. Averages on most exams are in the 80's. At the end of the day, we study hard because we want to be good doctors.
You should know that Dal is all about checking your ego at the door and learning as a group.
The class parties are legendary!
We recognize that parties aren't for everyone, but for the rest of you - read on! How do we unwind after a long unit or just a tough week in the books? We party in the student lounge upstairs in the Tupper Building! That's right, you don't even have to leave school to get your dance on or just enjoy the tunes. We have a licensed bar, all student-run, with very cheap drinks. Every lounge party at Dal has a hilarious theme. Ridiculous costumes are always welcome, actually encouraged. And YES, sometimes we head downtown afterwards dressed like it's Halloween. We welcome all song requests, especially Bon Jovi, Journey, and other gems that we know you love. Med school is a tough go, so laugh at yourself once in a while! Lounge parties are the perfect remedy for a stressed out medical student. No prescription required.
If we're not in the student lounge we have other incredible class bonding events that will be sure to capture the hearts and souls of everyone in the class. Including progressive dinners where members of the class cook delicious food and serve drinks while the rest of the class congregates and enjoys the delicious food only to be followed up by a mass migration to dessert and more drinks. There are also innumerable opportunities to jump on one of our off campus bandwagons to ski trips, golf/mini-put courses, surfing, TreeGo and so much more!
Ever thought of capping off a fine day of studying anatomy, metabolic pathways and viral infections with an evening of singing? How about stepping back in time to take a glimpse at medicine through the ages? If the thought of a double blinded randomly controlled trial bores you to tears (or even if it doesn’t!), maybe you might consider a film, photographic or narrative projects dealing with aspects of medicine or humanity that catch your interest. The Medical Humanities curriculum at Dalhousie is brilliant. It allows the freedom to explore your interests in art and humanities to build a more holistic and balanced understanding of medicine. After all, we are in fact probing, scoping and suturing real live humans. You sign up for the Medical Humanities program through which you do your clinical elective. From this point onward, the sky is the limit. Dr. Ron Stewart, the guru of the Humanities program, will support most anything - so be bold! Be brave! Completing an elective through the humanities mean you will have the opportunity to attend a variety of seminars, exhibits, and conferences. It is usually done in addition to a clinical elective, but any interesting and insightful project is accepted. Furthermore, you can expand your musical interest one of the many choral groups in the Music in Medicine program: the TestosterTONES, the VocalChords, the Dal Med Chorale, the Tupper Concert band...need I go on? Last, but not least, there are opportunities aplenty to find funding for whatever project ideas you can dig up through the muddle of new medical knowledge pouring into your brains. The Humanities program is truly unique and a real gem to have as part of medical education. For more info, visit the Medical Humanties website.
Student-friendly, diverse curriculum
You probably hear a lot of gossip about the amount of lecture vs. tutorial in the curriculum at Canadian medical schools, including Dal. Then you start thinking about how else the Faculty will keep you busy from Monday to Friday each week. They are ridiculously good at that. Dal is all about balance. Our curriculum is a delicious concoction of lectures, group discussion in tutorial, independent learning, labs, and everyone's favourite: bedside patient care. One of the best things about Dal Med is that there is a clinical focus in every aspect of the curriculum. The official name of our curriculum, CBL, stands for Case Based Learning (see FAQ's for a description of CBL). It's very rare for us to sit there in lecture asking ourselves "what does this have to do with taking care of patients?" The faculty know that we are training to be physicians, not immunologists or geneticists.
The subjects are all integrated allowing for a smooth transition as you finish each unit and become more of a smarty pants than you already are!
After everyone's interview, we are offering a presentation that (among other things) will give you the skinny on what a typical week in Med I is like.
EUPHORIA!!!! And other extra-curricular endeavours
Euphoria is that awesome. Period. While you're here on interview weekend, we plan on showing you as much of this year's show as possible. While the video doesn't completely do it justice, we know you'll catch the bug. We sure did last year. Besides Euphoria, Dal Med provides its students with every opportunity to get involved in extra-curricular activities both at and outside the med school. There are plenty of student-led societies that cultivate interests in everything from Emergency Medicine to triathlons to wine-drinking to Global Health to political advocacy on health care issues. The list goes on. If you want to start a new group of your own on an issue that is grinding your gears, we won't hold you back.
Outside of school, our singers sing, our dancers dance, and our athletes play just about any sport. The point is Dal Med encourages us to diversify our schedule to de-stress and remind us that there is more to life than just being a med student. Sometimes the schedule gets overwhelming, but do yourself and your patients a favour and turn off your type A personality once in a while.
Accessibility of all specialties
The Halifax Infirmary, Victoria General Hospital, and the IWK Children's Hospital are all less than a five minute walk from the medical school. Halifax is home to physicians in all medical specialties, from cardiac surgery to pediatric infectious disease. The bottom line is you don't have to take a 45 minute bus ride to shadow a transplant surgeon, or whatever turns your crank. It's all just a block away, literally. Most docs seem to be open to students who want to come in for an afternoon to see what they do for a living. You won't have to make special travel arrangements for this. Virtually all of our clinical teaching and patient contact experiences are done at these nearby hospitals. Dalhousie = convenience.
The great city of Halifax
For years one and two of medicine at Dal, YOU DON'T NEED A CAR! Why? Because Halifax is the perfect mix of big city amenities with small town accessibility. We are offering tours on interview weekend that will show you around the Dal campus and answer any questions you may have about getting around town.
The greater Halifax area has a population of under 400,000. You won't see most of these Haligonians because everything you need is downtown and in the adjacent South End.
With three major universities and a few local colleges, Halifax is a student-friendly city with plenty of great restaurants, cafes, bars, and retail shopping. The nightlife is impressively diverse for a place this size. You can head to an Irish pub for some good old-fashioned Maritime fun, or bust a move at a nightclub of your choice. We get some pretty good concert acts coming to town as well.
Halifax has something most other Canadian cities don't have: the ocean! The Halifax waterfront is beautiful, especially in the summertime when it is constantly buzzing with festivals, concerts, and plenty of tourists from all over the place. Historic Citadel Hill provides an awesome view of the entire city and a beautiful green patch in the heart of Halifax. Call it our little version of Central Park. Point Pleasant Park is only a short walk south from downtown, right on the ocean. It's a convenient, green escape from downtown, not to mention the best place to run without worrying about passing motorists. But this is the Maritimes, so the drivers will probably stop for you anyway.
One last thing...Compared to bigger Canadian cities, it's relatively inexpensive to live here. Chew on that.
The great city of Saint John
First and foremost, it's ESSENTIAL that you realize that the education you will get at DMNB is the exact same as what you would get at DMNS. The curriculum is run exactly the same, and you will access the instructors the same way your Nova Scotia classmates would. You also have the unique opportunity of getting paired with a physician in practice to be your mentor. Your mentor is there to help you out with questions regarding school, medical practice and life in general. Things have run very smoothly so far... at least once the lecturers learned to click the blinking green button that comes up when someone from either campus has a question. Things will be smooth and equal for you as well. One of the bonuses of a smaller class is the close relationships that you are able to from with the docs at the SJRH. This is not only helpful for electives, interest groups and face time but also when it comes to research.
Our anatomy and histology labs are located in the Saint John Regional Hospital, which is a 2-minute walk from our building. We have brand new clinical skills teaching units on the main floor of our building which are designed to simulate a real examining room . We now have four med classes kicking around DMNB with 120 students total. About 80% of our lectures are teleconferenced to NB from NS, but this doesn't affect how NBers interact with the lecturer.
Overall, Saint John is a great place to be a student, and it makes a good home for a young professional (even if they're only young in heart, mind, or body). Though the population is smaller than Halifax, it definitely has all the amenities. The Saint John Regional Hospital and the DMNB facilities are located in the area of Millidgeville, North of the city centre. The beautiful uptown area boasts a busy waterfront, diverse restaurants, cafes, bars and shops. The other major shopping district is located on the city's East end. A lot of cultural change has happened in the past 10 years, and this change has been for the better.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Rockwood Park is only a stone's throw away from the university. It encompasses 890 hectares of Acadian mixed forest, many hills and several caves, 10 fresh water lakes, a fully-equipped campground, an 18-hole golf course, the Cherry Brook Zoo, and the Lily Lake Pavilion & cafe. The Irving Nature Park features over 20 km of walking trails, along sandy beaches and woodlands. There is excellent sailing on the St. John and Kennebecasis rivers and thrill seekers can jet-boat or zip-line over the Reversing Falls. For arts enthusiasts, the Imperial Theatre not only hosts top shows, but is itself an attraction due to its faithful restoration to its 1913 original design. The city also boasts many galleries and museums, including the New Brunswick Museum.