Original Publication
Open Access

Transitions in Medicine: Four-year Complementary Process-oriented Curriculum for Medical Student Guidance

Published: September 29, 2014 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9904

Included in this publication:

  • Instructor's Guide.docx
  • Session 6 (Choosing a Specialty).ppt
  • Session 7 (Succeeding in Fourth Year).ppt
  • Session 8 (Crushing Your Interviews).ppt
  • Session 6 Curriculum Guide.docx
  • Session 7 Curriculum Guide.docx
  • Session 8 Curriculum Guide.docx
  • Student Guide.pdf

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


Introduction: Numerous transitions exist in medical school—from undergraduate to medical education, from didactic to problem-based learning, from institutionally generated to national standardized examinations, from classroom study to clinical clerkship training, and from learning clinical medicine to determining a future career path. These transitions can have significant impact on academic performance, cynicism, dishonesty, substance abuse, depression, and suicidality. While faculty- and staff-led support programs are often offered to assist students, peer-led programs may provide even more support for coping with these transitions. Student mentoring has also been identified as an important factor in student satisfaction and career development during medical school. Methods: Herein we describe a 4-year, noncompulsory course, Transitions in Medicine, that provides a mechanism for peer-led support and guidance through the many transitions in medical school. Recurring seminars focusing on process-oriented as opposed to content-oriented preparation are offered at key points within a student’s medical school career. During each session, upper-class students provide targeted guidance and discussion about the important concepts, strategies, and preparation necessary at each transition. This resource includes an instructor’s guide, PowerPoint and narrative descriptions of each seminar session, and a sample student survival guide designed to complement the 4-year course. Results: This course has been effective and had significant impact on the culture of our institution. Several prior publications outlined in the resource have documented the effect of the course on student anxiety and academic performance. In addition, we offer further explanation of the tangible benefits that have been realized, including but not limited to benefits on student anxiety, early student planning, student preparedness, and student-to-student mentoring. Discussion: The principle of “paying it forward” underlies student participation in this course. Students and faculty and have commented that as an apparent indirect benefit of the course, this important principle has been fostered and emphasized in its incorporation into the curriculum.

Educational Objectives

By taking part in this course, learners will be able to:

  1. Develop an early awareness of and appreciation for the transitions in medical school.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of a complementary process-oriented approach to the challenges, transitions, and milestones in medical education.
  3. Foster an interactive environment conducive to developing rich peer-to-peer support throughout medical school as well as an opportunity for informally promoting peer-to-peer mentoring.

Author Information

  • Roy Strowd, MD: Wake Forest School of Medicine
  • Erika Borgerding: Wake Forest School of Medicine
  • Sarah Kittner: Wake Forest School of Medicine
  • Devin Haddad: Wake Forest School of Medicine
  • Sara Fletcher: Wake Forest School of Medicine
  • Marcia Wofford: Wake Forest School of Medicine
  • Ann Lambros: Wake Forest School of Medicine

None to report.

None to report.


Strowd R, Borgerding E, Kittner S, et al. Transitions in medicine: four-year complementary process-oriented curriculum for medical student guidance. MedEdPORTAL. 2014;10:9904. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9904