Preclinical Students – Even though may you may still be mainly tied to the books to gain clinical knowledge, there are ways to apply knowledge of FABMs within community service and service to my school. Everything I did was based out of a student group we started (see students.factsaboutfertility.org to learn more). With the help of FABM experts in the Dallas area and resources from our school, we were able to invite guest speakers to campus for a week-long lecture series, host a 12-hour preclinical elective, created a fertility booth for the annual university health fair, and trained students to teach the methods within the first year. There are several more ways to serve the community with knowledge of these methods, and all you have to do is identify a need and create a plan to fill that gap. Here are some steps to consider:
· Survey the population whom you hope to serve. What is there baseline knowledge? What are their needs? What are their wants and goals? What are their current resources?
· Network with experts in your area. You will need help with any project you start. Perhaps you will need instructors of a method, physicians in a clinic, potential guest lecturers.
· Consider starting a student group. Finding other students who are interested in these methods and organizing projects is a great way to put to use all of your talents and interests. More information on starting a student group can be found at students.factsaboutfertility.org.
Clinical Students – as a third year medical student on clerkship rotations, I was able to apply my knowledge of FABMs many times although one day in family medicine clinic stuck out as particularly impactful. A woman had come in with a complaint of vaginal discharge, and I was sent in to get the thorough medical student history and physical. Upon talking to this woman, she described for me perfectly her normal fertile mucous. I took this opportunity to teach her the basics of her cycle and what she will sense during each phase. She looked amazed. In fact, she said, “I always wondered when I ovulated. I have been trying to get pregnant for years.” After more discussion, we found out that she had a history of hospitalization for an STD. At that point, we were able to more effectively refer her for infertility work up.
- Look for opportunities to teach patients. Women may come in with gynecologic complaints on any rotation, from ob/gyn to pediatrics. As a medical student you will have time to take a thorough history and time to educate your patient. Take advantage of the time!
- These methods give you a strong foundation to understanding mechanisms of gynecologic and reproductive pathology. You will definitely you your baseline knowledge from these methods while studying for your shelf exams.
- Integrate your knowledge of FABMs into presentations or research for your clerkships.At times you will be given the opportunity to present on topics that interest you. This can be a great time to integrate your interest of FABMs with your clinical duties.