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Newbie Doctors Go Through Medical Boot Camp Prior to Entering Field


Newbie Doctors Get Crash Course Prior to Entering “Real Life” Medical Field

It isn’t uncommon for medical residents, freshly graduated from medical school, to be thrust into hospitals and responsible for injecting patients, delivering babies and dealing with severe physical traumas.  However, some medical schools are preparing their graduates using “boot camps” that simulate intense medical situations that doctors would face in real life.  This is perhaps good news for patients under the care of these new doctors because the boot camps could prevent medical errors caused by a lack of experience in tough medical situations.

Medical Boot Camp Available at Northwestern Memorial Hospital

The medical boot camp touts a 90% passage rate of its residents and is currently part of the Northwestern Memorial Hospital, adjoined to the Feinberg Medical School.  The program consists of 2-3 days of intense practice prior to residents being released to hospitals and working with real patients.  Residents are tested on a variety of skills, including handling newborns, giving bad news with empathy, and carefully listening to patients.  Dr. Diane Wayne, the medical school’s vice dean of education created the program in 2011 to avoid the so-called “July effect” or the increase in patient deaths that has been associated with when residents enter their rotations in July.  The program has received praise from the Association of American Medical Colleges and also received an innovation award in 2012.

Residents Provide Positive Feedback on Medical Boot Camp

Overall, those doctors who’ve gone through the medical boot camp at Northwestern say that they were satisfied with the program at that it helped to boost their confidence in their skills prior to entering “real life” medical situations.  Some residents reflect most on the toughest situation of the boot camp: an end-of-life discussion with an actor portraying a single father diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Tragic, yet real, situations such as these are a commonplace occurrence in the medical field, so preparing residents for what they will face is important for patients’ physical, emotional and mental health.


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  1. jc says:
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    I wish lawyers also had “boot camps” before newbie lawyers are allowed to sue doctors for medical malpractice.

  2. MEH says:
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    Lawyers’ “boot camps” are a reality. A three year full time course of study, a bar examination after graduationf from law school, and where available, internships and clinical programs. While all law schools do not have the requisite budgets to support internships and clinical programs, these programs are available so that new lawyers actually experience the demands and pressures of law practice. These demands include exercising proper judgment in making a determination to file any type of legal action. Physicians are not entitled to and should not expect any exemptions if their actions cause harm to their patients.