The medical student choosing to spend his or her fourth year at Gundersen Health System will be provided with an outstanding opportunity to design a fourth year that best suits their current educational needs as well as create an excellent foundation for their future practice. It is envisioned that the students who take advantage of this opportunity will be headed towards one of the primary care specialties, however, it is not by any means offered exclusively to such students.
The students need to know that the Gundersen network consists more than 40 regional locations in addition to the main campus in La Crosse. Our network has a service population base of roughly 580,000 people; primary care services are provided in regional locations as well as in La Crosse.
In addition, the La Crosse campus serves as the tertiary referral site for the majority of our La Crosse and regional based patients. The only programs currently not in existence at the La Crosse campus are the treatment of major (greater than 30 percent) burns and transplants (solid organ and bone marrow).
Therefore, a student would have the opportunity to advantage of a wide variety of primary care experiences in both La Crosse and the region. These experiences can be supplemented by specialty and tertiary subspecialty experiences in La Crosse.
"Spending my 4th year at Gundersen was the high point of my medical education. The academic environment, extensive one-on-one faculty interactions, flexibility, and unmatched camaraderie provided a superb learning experience."
—Todd Kowalski, 4th Year Medical Student, 1999-2000, UW-Madison
Housing is provided for the students. Their La Crosse "home" will be a two-bedroom townhouse or a one bedroom apartment within walking distance of the hospital. As is our custom, breakfast and lunch are provided at our twice daily conferences and the dinner meal is provided for students if they have on call or hospital responsibilities at dinner time.
The students are genuinely looked upon as part of the Gundersen family for their year in La Crosse. As their housing is in the midst of the resident housing complex, it is expected that they will develop many lasting friendships with their neighbors. They and their families will be invited to participate in all extracurricular activities outside of the hospital including city sports leagues, etc.
"My 4th year at Gundersen was a great experience! You are able to set up your rotations to meet your needs. You are accepted as a valuable part of the team by both residents and staff, and are able to participate in all the resident extracurricular activities. In several respects you are treated more like a first year resident than a medical student. There is free housing and several activities in the resident housing area in which you can participate - volleyball, barbecues, etc. I highly recommend it!"
—Mike Bryant, 4th Year Medical Student, 1999-2000, UW-Madison
It is not the expectation that the students spend 100 percent of their fourth year in Gundersen facilities. Should they wish to take a month or two elsewhere, we would be pleased to allow them to do so. On the other hand, should they envision the desire to spend much more time than this "away" we really should discuss this before commitments are made on either part.
Perhaps the best way for the students to get a feeling for the quality of this experience would be for them to discuss with a student who has spent their fourth year with us. Quite frankly, I think that the students could be far better "salesmen" for their experience than could I.
"Spending my fourth year at Gundersen allows me to consistently work with attendings and residents who are excited to teach, and to challenge me to take on responsibility. I have the opportunity to do more hands-on learning than I expected to do as a medical student. Having 24-hour access to the medical library and excellent daily noon lectures on a variety of topics also enhance the learning environment. Flexibility in scheduling to accommodate my academic interests is the rule rather than the exception. The housing provided is spacious, comfortable, and close to the medical complex. I strongly encourage anyone interested in spending their 4th year in a community hospital setting to consider Gundersen Lutheran"
David H. Chestnut, MD
Director of Medical Education
Gundersen Medical Foundation
Associate Dean for Western Academic Campus
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
—Gerlyn Brasic, 4th Year Medical Student, 1999-2000, UW-Madison
"It is a privilege of the highest order for us to once again have this opportunity to host the students here for their fourth year. I pledge to them and to the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health that their educational experience will be second to none, and I want you to know how very much we all appreciate this opportunity to participate in the education of the medical school's fine students. Please let me know if there are any further questions about this opportunity."
Contact Dr. Chestnut at (800) 362-9567, ext. 52081