Alumni Spotlight : Hunter Caskey, MD, MBA
My experience of the island life: I transferred in during clinicals so I did not spend anytime in St. Lucia (except to visit as a tourist and loved it) so I wont be able to comment well on it but, I know from my other island experience in the Caribbean the adjustment to island life is focused on the bare essentials that you need to focus and be happy. The main focus is centered around self care and making things run as smoothly as possible. You do not want to get side tracked in settling in and side tracked with the logistics of living but instead want to hit the ground running so you can focus on your studies. With that being said, self care is as important than ever, it is a high stress time and you have to focus on your mental health as well. enjoy the island when you get time. I tried to make it a point to watch the sunset as often as I could, eat with the locals, try out new things, enjoy what it feels like to truly live on the island as a local as it will be the only time you are ever able to do that.
My classroom/clinical experience: Autonomy is key. Med students get support but you have to put the work in, if you dont, you wont make it. come down ready to work hard and play hard when you can.
The Clinical support is a huge asset of IAU, a key portion of your studies. My advice is you have to network and learn as much as you can; networking is key for residency spots just like any job. People don’t want to hire strangers to work with for 3-4 years, they want to hire people they feel like the know and like. Get as much facetime interaction as you can, find events where you can do this, try to shadow for free during gaps in rotations. Many places will offer this and is well worth the time and money. Become memorable on rotations. Such as being nice, helpful, engaged, speaking to others like you would a friend, get to know people – helps them pull your application out of the pile of applicants. It is not uncommon for a typical program of 5 to receive over two thousand application so you have to seperate yourself. most programs will entertain shadowing or face to face opportunities as they are invested in finding applicants they like. lots programs want Step 3 now if you’re an IMG, so if off cycle and have time, knock it out. lots of people failing that test now and programs don’t like it. hurts their success numbers as all that is tracked of course. many programs now wont renew your intern contract without the completion of step 3 so best to get it out of the way ASAP so can focus on your specialty.
My experience with MATCH: Success. Once you match you are golden, it’s like getting the golden ticket at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I am a Chief now as a third year and I moonlight all over town and have no issues getting jobs or licensure issues. I received over 10 offers a week for jobs when I graduate. My wife, also a IAU alum, is a year below in the same program, we have a family friendly psychiatry program in Oklahoma and now have 2 kids.