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Alumni panel offers career advice

OU-COM graduates meet new students, tout Careers in Medicine program


From left, Douglas Stanley, D.O. (’82); Barbara Bennett, D.O. (’84); and Christopher Loyke, D.O. (’88) Sharon VanNostran, D.O. (’98)

By Richard Heck

Aug. 21, 2009 

Don’t be too hasty in making a specialty decision, and take advantage
of the new Careers in Medicine program, a panel of distinguished
OU-COM alumni told first-year students.

“Think about what you really like,” said Sharon VanNostran, D.O. (’98), during the August 14 panel discussion, which also included Douglas Stanley, D.O. (’82); Barbara Bennett, D.O. (’84); and Christopher Loyke, D.O. (’88). Earlier this summer, Loyke became president of the Ohio Osteopathic Association after Bennett’s term ended.

VanNostran advised students to utilize OU-COM’s new Careers in Medicine (CIM) program, which involves mentoring and an interactive web site that helps students learn about medical specialties and assess their own goals and values. “You can learn a lot about your personality and what you may like about certain rotations (with the program),” she said.

The CIM program connects students to professional mentors and encourages a wide range of experiences. Often the “free” summer between the first and second years of medical school can prove useful, as well as the year following medical school, said VanNostran, who took an extra year of rotations to make sure family medicine was the field for her. “Before, I thought that I would be a pediatrician,” she said. 

According to Stanley, reactions to clinical rotations often indicate a student’s affinity for a certain field. “The rotation that excites you—that gets you up before your alarm clock—that’s the field you should be considering. If you have to hit the snooze button, then it’s probably not the one,” he said.

Stanley added that when choosing a specialty, students shouldn’t make money their primary concern. “The financial thing is a small part of it. It will fall in place,” he said.

At the panel, designed as a question-and-answer session about osteopathic medical education, students inquired about residencies and other postgraduate education opportunities.

Bennett urged students to consider all aspects when choosing a residency program, including lifestyle and geographical factors. She said she chose family medicine for its variety. “I am interested in everything from pediatrics to internal medicine to geriatrics,” she said. “Family medicine encompasses all of that.”

Loyke advised patience when choosing a specialty. “Most people don’t make a decision until pretty late, and even then they can change their minds,” he said, adding that a strong network of colleagues and peers can help with the decision-making. “We’re here for you,” Loyke said.

“At the CORE sites, there are a lot of OU-COM people,” Bennett said. “They would love to talk to you. We are here to help you—all of our alumni are.”

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Last updated: 01/28/2016