Rotating at UNC REX Healthcare

For the first time, UNC School of Medicine students will have the opportunity to conduct clinical rotations at UNC REX Healthcare in Raleigh. Marc Weinberg, the first student to take advantage of the new partnership, will soon complete his training there.

Rotating at UNC REX Healthcare click to enlarge Amanda Allen, MD, Krista Wuchter, MD, and Marc Weinberg

This week, fourth year medical student Marc Weinberg will become the first UNC School of Medicine student to complete a formal rotation at UNC REX Healthcare. Weinberg can’t say enough good things about the experience.

“I have had a great experience here at UNC REX. I knew coming in that I would be the first student to complete this rotation, but everyone I’ve worked with has been incredible and I’ve had the opportunity to benefit from working so closely with Dr. Allen and Dr. Wuchter,” Weinberg said.

UNC REX internists Amanda Allen, MD, and Krista Wuchter, MD, are the physicians leading the new rotation. Both Allen and Wuchter (formerly Krista Fajman) are former chief residents at UNC Hospitals. They are excited about being able to build this rotation from scratch and introducing a little teaching into their practice.

“We want to always be approachable, we want Marc to always feel comfortable asking questions of us,” Allen said. “We thought back to our experiences as medical students and pulled from the best of our learning opportunities in creating this experience for Marc and future students.”

One of the unique aspects of this training experience is that there are no resident physicians at UNC REX, removing a level of hierarchy from the traditional care team structure.

“I’m really treating this like a first intern year. I love the trust that the team has in me and how we have all been able to work so closely together,” Weinberg said.

In all, Weinberg has worked closely with four UNC REX physicians and more than 10 hospitalists, splitting his time between the care of established patients in the morning and newly admitted patients in the afternoon.

For the time being, UNC REX will host one student at the time. As the program become more established, Allen and Wuchter say they would be interested in possibly extending the opportunity to more students.

Beat Steiner, MD, MPH, UNC School of Medicine assistant dean for clinical education, said this rotation at UNC REX is a key learning opportunity for UNC medical students.

"One of the things that we are really emphasizing with the new curriculum is that our students can contribute to the care of patients. Our curriculum prepares them to work in different types of teams, learning from nurse practitioners, residents, and attendings, but also helping to care for patients,” Steiner said.

Weinberg is pursuing this rotation as part of the TEC curriculum’s Individualization Phase, which allows students to select training opportunities based around their interests and future goals.

“There is great benefit to our students being exposed to rural settings, to suburban, and urban settings and the different ways patients in those places need and receive care,” Steiner said. “Rex is a place that offers outstanding clinical care in an urban setting, so it’s a great place for our students to learn.”

Weinberg’s month long rotation will come to an end this week, when asked what he would say to students considering the rotation as a future option, he said: “Since I got here, I have felt like a key part of the team, and had the opportunity to get a close look at the wonderful care being provided here at Rex.”

Steiner said he encourages any physician interested in hosting a student for a clinical rotation to contact him.

“In the past, you may have thought ‘oh, having a student around is going to slow me down,’ but that’s not true,” Steiner said. “We know that students can have a positive impact on patient care.”

Steiner says students are able to spend more time with patients, bring fresh eyes to quality improvement projects, and play a key role in patient education.

"Students are often able to stay behind with patients to continue speaking with them, reinforcing the messages of physicians," Steiner said. "If a physician prescribes a certain medication, for example, the students will often stay with the patient, answering questions and making sure the patient really understands the instructions. In many cases, they will also be tasked with making follow up calls to patients, ensuring they are taking the medications as prescribed."

Allen and Wuchter say they are exciting to have this rotation up and running and look forward to welcoming more students to Raleigh.

“I know our patients and their families have benefited from their interactions with Marc, and we look forward to future students making the same great contributions,” Allen said.

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