Summer is full of promise. Kids are out of school for three months and many families take advantage of this time to take vacations or enjoy leisure time before sending the kids back to school in the fall.
Like you, we at Vanguard Skin Specialists love summer, but believe it or not, we barely slow down. In fact, the pace picks up a bit as summer brings with it a changing of the guard. This is a phenomenon that occurs in hundreds of hospitals and medical institutions across the United States. That’s because summer is when men and women finishing up residency programs move on, as do more experienced team members. The positions aren’t left unfilled, however, as new residents and team members step in during the summer months.
Changing of the Guard
Vanguard Skin Specialists’ Pre-Health Program goes through a similar process. Talented young people from all over the country descend upon Vanguard to join the Pre-Health program. Beginning as scribes, students receive hands-on training and gain professional experience in a medical setting. We work directly with the students. Vanguard physicians and mid-levels work side-by-side with students who gain practical advice on school applications, how to interview and more. Students even receive letters of recommendation from Vanguard supervisors.
Each of these students has a vision and a goal: to become doctors, physician assistants (PA), nurses, or other health professionals. The Pre-Health students spend two years at Vanguard before departing in the spring to further their education in medical, PA or nursing school. We welcome new students are soon after.
The best part of the timing is that we get great new staff to fill vacancies of those who are departing; the downside is this occurs right during the summer crunch – one of busiest seasons for dermatology.
Why We Do It
It’s true. We hire fresh college students who have very little medical experience.
It’s also true that we cannot imagine Vanguard without the energy and excitement that our Pre-Health candidates bring to the practice. Our students enter the program knowing that our patients are their patients. These future medical providers see medicine as a calling and enthusiastically enter the practice, working hard to care for our patients.
Dr. Vinh Chung shares, “I coach our Pre-Health candidates, telling them that they are cut from the same cloth as or medical providers. The only thing standing between them and us is time. It is rewarding, to watch the students develop as professionals, as they embark on their health careers. Graduates of our Pre-Health program currently practice as doctors and mid-levels in Colorado Springs and elsewhere.”
Vanguard has a fantastic tradition of encouraging students to fulfill their dreams of becoming medical professionals. As we send off Pre-Health candidates to their prospective graduate schools, we fulfill the tradition by presenting each one with a bottle of wine, which is called “The Prisoner.” Each of Vanguard’s medical providers signs “The Prisoner,” aptly named for the occasion.
Vanguard tells the Pre-Health graduates that they are about to embark on a long road. It will take hard work and determination to become a doctor. They will feel at times as if they’re in prison. There will be long hospital shifts, often on holidays. They’ll face what seems endless days, to the point that day and night will blend together and they won’t be able to tell one from another. On those hard days, in the wee hours of the night, perhaps studying at two in the morning, the graduate student will look up at that bottle of wine on the shelf and be reminded that all of us at Vanguard are cheering them on. When they finally finish that long road, holding their diploma in hand, they’ll open “The Prisoner,” to toast their achievements and celebrates with those loved ones and friends who were there each step of their journey.
Vanguard Skin Specialists is Southern Colorado’s premiere dermatology and plastic surgery practice. Our team of providers is dedicated to exceeding your expectations at every visit. Our board-certified dermatologists, Mohs surgeons, dermatopathologist, plastic surgeon, facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants all work together to provide you with superior care with outstanding results. Learn to love the skin you’re in by calling Vanguard Skin Specialists at (719) 355-1585 to schedule an appointment in our Briargate, Pueblo, Broadmoor or Woodland Park offices.