It seems like only yesterday that I was sitting where you are, just finishing my first year of medical school and wondering if I'd ever get a chance to use all my new knowledge on a real live patient!
Well, I have good news for you!
You don't have to wait until your third or fourth year of medical school to get some hands-on experience!
The dean has invited me here to tell you about the university's rural opportunity program.
If you enroll in this program, you can have the opportunity this summer, after your first year of medical school, to spend from four to six weeks observing and assisting a real physician like me in a small rural community.
You won't have to compete with other students for time and attention, and you can see what life as a country doctor is really like.
The program was designed to encourage medical students like yourselves to consider careers in rural communities that are still understaffed.
It seems that medical students are afraid to go into rural family practice for two reasons.
First, they don't know much about it.
And second, specialists in the cities usually make more money.
But, on the up-side, in rural practice, doctors can really get to know their patients and be respected members of the community.
I participated in the program when it first started and spent six weeks in a small rural town.
Let me tell you, it was really great!
I got to work with real patients.
I watched the birth of a child, assisted an accident victim, and had lots of really practical hands-on experience—all in one summer.
And to my surprise, I found that country life has a lot to offer that city life doesn't—no pollution or traffic jams, for instance!
My experience made me want to work where I'm needed and appreciated.
I don't miss the city at all!