The University of Virginia’s medical school in Charlottesville is more than 100 miles away but every year four of its students find their way to Falls Church.
The one-month study of sort isn’t in your ordinary classroom setting, the students spend the time learning about family medicine from one of the schools graduates, Dr. Gordon Theisz.
Theisz, who operates , has hosted medical students on their family medicine rotation since opening the practice in 2005.
“When I went to UVA, they had us doing the same thing,” Theisz said. “It’s fun having the students here. They’re so bright.”
For a month at a time, third year medical students from UVA spend their days interviewing patients, conducting physical examinations and conferring with Theisz about patient’s symptoms. Theisz said the students either stay with family or friends in the area and if that arrangement doesn’t work, an office manager puts them up at her home.
In the last four weeks, Jennie Park has gotten engaged, conducted patient examinations and started thinking about the next two months when she will be on her rotation in surgery back in Charlottesville. Park, 26, who considered a career in medicine after a childhood trip to the doctor while battling pneumonia, said getting the real life experience is the best part of the rotations.
Though she has an interest in becoming an OBGYN, Park, 26, said she is trying to keep an open mind.
“Even if you don’t want to go into a certain area, you can use what you learned in the future,” Park said. “If someone comes in with stomach problems, because you went through the different areas, you can tell if the problem needs surgery right away or if you can treat it with medicine.”
Theisz, a 1998 graduate of UVA’s medical school, said each crop of students that come through his doors get smarter each year. He said it was on his rotations when he decided he wanted to go into family medicine after originally wanting to be a country doctor going by the moniker “Doc Gordon.” The animated doctor said he isn’t in the market for another family doctor at his practice but has written evaluations saying he would hire a particular student.
Theisz said he will leave his door open to his alma mater to keep sending future doctors to learn about family medicine.
“I don’t see this stopping anytime soon,” Theisz said.