FAQS: 2nd-3rd Year Transition from Syracuse to Binghamton
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Do the people in Syracuse have an advantage over me because this is such a smaller hospital setting outside of an academic institution?
Absolutely not! In fact it may actually be to your advantage to be a clinical campus student. Look at it this way. You went to high school with the purpose of getting into the college of your dreams and you went to the college of your dreams to get into the medical school of your dreams. Every step along the way was just a means to get to the next step. Now you are trying to use your medical school years to get into that residency program of your dreams and the clinical campus can provide you with some advantages on that front. The clinical campus really prepares you more to be an attending than it does to be a resident because of the amount of direct one on one contact you have with attending physicians. Sure, Syracuse may prepare you to function better in a residency program because you see how a bigger residency program functions from a standpoint of schedule and demands on the residents, but what it does not do is give you continued and prolonged access to attending physicians. At the clinical campus you will be first assist in many surgeries and you will be able to actually deliver babies! Not only do your Syracuse brethren miss out on many of these opportunities but they will also miss out on establishing personal relationships with attending physicians (the ones who will write your letters of recommendation for your residency application). Bringing back our idea of "means to get to the next step" the relationships that you make with attending physicians at the clinical campus will go a long way towards getting you into that residency with such personal letters of recommendation.
Beyond that "means to get to the next step" idea, the concept of continuity of care at the clinical campus is unparalleled because of the family medicine rotation. You will be placed with an attending physician for one half day of every week of your entire 3rd year in their office seeing their (and eventually your) patients. This could not be more perfect practice for the types of continuity clinics that you will have to work during residency. Again this is just another way of practicing for that next step in your medical education. Many program directors will be highly impressed with this unique yet innovative idea to prepare medical students for certain aspects of their residency.
The family medicine rotation also gives clinical campus students an advantage because it really does provide them with a break from the monotony of what some clerkships will become. Sure, there will be some clerkships that you absolutely love and hate to miss that half day a week for family medicine but there will be clerkships that you cannot stand. In Syracuse the only escape from those clerkships is the shelf exam and the next clerkship. In Binghamton you get to escape from that hated clerkship one half of one day of every week during the entire rotation.
Don't be concerned about pathology either. You will see what you need to see to do well on your shelf exams, to do well on the USMLE Step 2 exam, and to be prepared for your residency. People are sick no matter where you are training. Honestly you may see less volume of cases with "weird" diagnoses that may help during a residency but in Binghamton you are first line for those "weird" things. In Syracuse, as a tertiary referral center, they are often sent patients from outside institutions already with a diagnosis for the sole purpose of treatment. In Binghamton you are sifting through all of the data and making that diagnosis before sending the patient to the tertiary care center.
Is there a physical campus building?
Currently the clinical campus headquarters are located at 420 Robinson St. in Binghamton, NY as part of the Greater Binghamton Health Center in the Garvin Building. Parking is provided conveniently at this location for students. Directly across the street is a "castle" that is currently unoccupied. This is the future home of the clinical campus as they have just secured 12.5 million dollars to begin renovations. "The Castle" is a certified historical landmark that the Greater Binghamton Community is extremely proud of because of its unique architecture.
Where will I complete my rotations?
A majority of your rotations your 3rd year will take place at Wilson Memorial Hospital in Johnson City, NY. There is also the possibility of rotating through Binghamton General Hospital or Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, both in Binghamton, NY. Also, as part of an extension of the clinical campus the Guthrie Health System and Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, PA also provide opportunities/requirements for rotations. There is also the possibility of completing your OB-GYN rotation in Norwich, NY and your Geriatrics rotation at the Oxford Facility in Norwich, NY. Your family medicine preceptor will be located in a private office somewhere in the Greater Binghamton Area.
Will I need a car?
Yes! Transportation is an absolute must when you are a clinical campus student. Not only do you need a car, but you need a reliable car. In addition to the possibility of having to be in multiple hospitals on the same day you will also need a car to get to your family medicine site. These family medicine sites can be located up to 45 minutes from Binghamton.
Where will I live?
Binghamton and the surrounding communities of Johnson City and Endicott (The Triple Cities) really do have a small town feel which can limit your living opportunities. Keep in mind however that there is a major university in the city (SUNY Binghamton) with plenty of housing options available because of that high demand. The great thing about medical school is that the 3rd year starts well before the SUNY Binghamton students move back into town or begin looking for apartments and thus the medical students do have first dibs. Be sure to check with the Student Affairs office at the clinical campus for the latest information on housing.
Is there a good/cheap gym that I can join?
There are plenty of gyms that are available and all of them offer very competitive student rates. Be sure to check with the gym that is most convenient for you from a location standpoint. Also, remember that because you are a student in the SUNY system, you have privileges at SUNY Binghamton. If you go over to the student ID center at SUNY Binghamton and tell them you are a SUNY Upstate student they will provide you with a photo ID to get you access to the gym and other facilities at the university. This access also does extend beyond the gym and you do get library privileges etc. through the university.
What opportunities do I have to go to Syracuse in my 4th year even if I wanted to stay in Binghamton the entire year?
One of the greatest perks about being a clinical campus student is free 4th year housing in Syracuse for up to 2 months as long as you maintain a residence in Binghamton. (i.e. you can't be one of those people that moves to Syracuse and just wants 2 months of free housing) This allows you the opportunity to stay (read: not move) in Binghamton for the duration of your medical school training but still affords you the opportunity to go to Syracuse to do that "important" rotation in your specialty or other areas of interest. The housing that is provided is in Clark Tower with overflow housing at the Park View Inn. The Clark Tower room is a studio apartment equipped with full sized refrigerator, stove, oven, sink, television with cable, window air conditioning, and full bathroom. There are also computer rooms on two of the floors that allow you free access for printing and the Internet.