It takes more than a rigorous dose of science and chemistry during college to prepare someone to become a health professional. The work is incredibly demanding, and most who enter the field do so knowing that it is not easy. We need well-rounded people dedicated to improving the human condition. Drury’s incredibly well-respected pre-health program is bolstered further by the surrounding emphasis on the humanities. This broadens the perspective of Drury students, preparing them not to be just ordinary clinicians, but to be extraordinary.
Drury University has a long history of educating successful healthcare professionals, and the range of careers of our alumni spans the gamut. The diversity of the professions and the ever-changing nature of the field put special requirements on the faculty and the students who are in the pre-health fields. The most successful healthcare professionals graduate from singular undergraduate programs that position them for acceptance to the best professional schools. Drury University is proud to serve as such a conduit. We are recognized by professional schools for preparing healthcare professionals who are talented and equipped to learn in a highly dynamic set of fields. These schools’ confidence in Drury’s pre-health science curriculum, faculty and students is evident in the impressive array of ‘early admittance’ agreements we have.
At its May 2015 meeting, Drury’s Board of Trustees approved a proposal from the Office of Academic Affairs to restructure the academic affairs division. The proposal was endorsed at a faculty meeting by a significant majority. The initiative created three new colleges: The College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS), The College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences (CNMS), and the College of Graduate Studies (CGS). It also designated the three existing schools (Hammons School of Architecture, The School of Education & Child Development, and Breech School of Business) as standalone entities rather than departments. The number of departments also decreased by six.
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Drury pre-health graduates are unique in that they study the liberal arts in addition to a demanding pre-health curriculum as undergraduates. This prepares them for professional schools and careers in which they will have peers who come from backgrounds of narrower focus in their undergraduate work.
Drury alumni are evidence that wonderful things happen when we widen students’ focus by requiring courses in the arts, languages, literature, history and more as part of their undergraduate work. Students who can appreciate many different types of people and perspectives become medical professionals who are more understanding of the patients they serve.
The proof that this broader focus works is apparent: an impressive 85-90% of Drury students who apply to medical school are accepted. Drury graduates get jobs and give back to their communities. They bring the understanding gained during their undergraduate work to their places of work every day.
We offer four great examples of how the liberal arts at Drury, combined with a solid pre-med curriculum, sets students up for the lifelong success they dream of when they first step onto campus.
When asked to think about their mentors, some people protest that they never had one. But after some thought, most people realize that someone or something along the way was instrumental in helping them arrive at a certain place in their lives. Recognizing these people, experiences and ideas that can serve as mentors is an essential exercise in gratitude for all of us as we think about where we’ve come from, where we are now, and where we’re headed.
This issue, the last in our four-part series which has featured 300 words on mentors, a student, alumna and faculty member engage in this exercise in gratitude and recognize their mentors.
A gap year is defined as taking time off between life stages to explore interests or to identify a focus for the future. Students may spend the year traveling, volunteering, working or any combination of the three. This trend began in the U.K. in the 1960s, and the gap year is growing in popularity in the U.S.
Drury University has seen a steady rise over the past three years in graduates taking a gap year. The 2012-2013 class reported that just 1.3% of graduates were taking a gap year. The following year, the 2013-2014 class reported that 13.4% of graduates were taking a gap year.
It is a magnificent accomplishment to be selected into medical school, but this is only the beginning. Drury faculty members strive to instill in their students the essential habits of mind for making judiciously thoughtful choices for their careers and lives. Such choices are vital for sustaining a sense of balance through the ups and downs healthcare professionals will encounter during a lifetime of service. Drury continues to evolve and adapt to the needs of our students to give them the experiences and coaching they need to choose wisely.
My interaction with the group of people offering medical care demonstrated that the biggest moral challenge in hospitals isn’t primarily associated with the issues discussed in my class. It is much more about the character of individual medical professionals and the quality of community in the hospital system itself. When I told those gathered about the character ethics of Stanley Hauerwas, the leading Christian ethicist in America, they nodded in approval.
In the 1970s Hauerwas came onto the scene with a simple message: the moral life is not primarily about quandaries. In spite of the way that most universities teach ethics today with survey courses featuring hot topics to be debated, Hauerwas was convinced that our deepest moral reflection isn’t about actions and decisions in the face of tough circumstances; rather, it is about our character or “the ethics of virtue.” What kind of persons are we on a daily basis? What are the character traits or virtues we embody? And what form of community is required to nurture us to become better people?
Dr. Jonathan Groves was a professional journalist for 14 years before he began teaching at Drury in 2005. During his post-graduate work he studied how the Internet is changing the face of journalism at the University of Missouri’s Reynolds Journalism Institute, and he now explores new media and its impact on journalism.
Groves is a faculty advisor for KDRU radio. When he’s not teaching, you can find him in his cozy yellow office in the Shewmaker Communication Center.
The landscape of undergraduate pre-health education has shifted, and I am proud to say that Drury University is at the forefront. Our progressive minor programs in behavioral neuroscience and community health provide students with opportunities to examine determinants of health through sociological, psychological, anthropological, philosophical and biological lenses. Students in our behavioral neuroscience program gain an understanding of brain circuitry and genetic influence on behavior. Community health students are able to recognize healthcare disparity, promote equity and mobilize health-related resources at the community level.
Drury students are provided with the foundation to become effective health practitioners in the field of modern medicine. The #DruryDifference is apparent in pre-health education.