Dr. Cindy Duke reveals interesting aspects of reproductive endocrinology and uses her preceptor experience to help students and preceptors be more effective.
Dr. Cindy Duke is a board-certified OBGYN and a reproductive endocrinologist based out of Nevada. Reproductive endocrinology is a specialization that focuses on the first twelve weeks of pregnancy and complications in that time frame. It is also an OBGYN specialty that works with both male and female patients. It allows medical students and physicians to see a patient base they would usually not see in a core medical clerkship, such as those wishing to freeze eggs and sperm or about to undergo gender reassignment surgery.
She precepts a wide variety of clinical students from MD/DO students to nursing students. Medical students rotating through will often have problem-based learning (PBL) coursework that helps to supplement their clinical training and problem-solving skills.
She believes strongly that a preceptor should be a clinical educator with a passion for the training they will be implementing. Those that are obligated to precept may lack this intrinsic motivation and the clinical rotation may suffer for all parties involved. However, it can be a very rewarding experience and the preceptor may learn as much as the student. Also, setting aside time at the end of each day to go over student questions and discuss complicated patients is a great benefit to the learning environment. This offers students a “safe space” to ask questions without judgment.
For physician and patient safety, it is important to let the medical student know what to expect in a medical specialty learning environment. Explaining the unique precautions to that clinic or prohibited actions ahead of time is a proactive measure for everyone’s safety. Lastly, facilitating the opportunity for medical students to experience those tasks that are allowed create a safe medical and learning environment.
Cindy recommends that medical students rotating in any OBGYN rotation or specialty become very familiar with female reproductive cycles. Knowing the menstrual cycle, hormonal fluctuations, and how to influence or alter these cycles is a keystone of reproductive endocrinology. Prior to clinical rotations, she encourages medical students to think of three questions or topics they are interested in regarding the clerkship. This allows a preceptor to be aware of this opportunity if it arises and share it with the student.
When asking for Letters of Recommendation, a medical student that is enthusiastic when asking is going to have much greater success. Cindy points out that a student may want to use a script. Stating, “here are some things I really liked about my rotation with you” will give the preceptor information on which to base their LoR. You do not need to feign interest in the specialty if you do not plan to go into that specialty. You can also ask a preceptor to write a general letter at any point. Then, when a medical student decides on a specialty, contact the preceptor and ask if it can be tailored to that career path.
Dr. Duke is also the host of the GriPSSI Podcast! Catch new episodes to get into the mind of a fertility clinic physician.