CALEDONIA, ND – A proud North Dakotan community looked on today as the University of Eastern North Dakota Medical Center (UENDMC) graduated its 75th class of MD recipients. Thanks to a change in grading system 4 years ago, the school has now produced more valedictorians in one year than it did in the previous 74 years combined.
“We got rid of standard letter grades back in 2008 and it’s changed the way that we do medicine around here,” beamed Dr. George Handschall, MD, the bespectacled dean of UENDMC. “Now our students are permitted to create their own grade, based on their perceived performance through each course.”
Indeed, this has been a stellar year for the North Dakota medical school, with nearly 100 percent of students subjectively falling into the top 10th percentile of their class. “In fact, we had such a hard time distinguishing class ranking among our students that we awarded valedictorian honors to all but one member of the class, who has not been seen since late in the second year,” reported Margerie Osteald, MD, the schools’ registrar.
“We want everyone to believe that they’re the best, no matter what. It goes along with our philosophy of confidentia quaerens competentiae, meaning – ‘Confidence seeking competence.’”
This transition away from the constraints of objective benchmarks of success is just one of a variety of strategies which educators are using to adapt medical curriculum to a rising generation of young people with a revolutionary definition of success. These “millennials,” as they have been termed, are not confined by the limitations of others’ realities regarding their performance. Instead, they choose to forge boldly ahead, conquering self-doubt with a confidence that others will recognize the same fountain of unique excellence that they find within themselves.
“I’m going to be a brain surgeon!” grinned Elizabeth Janeshaw after a 4 hour graduation ceremony where all 128 members were encouraged to give part of the valedictory address.
Although the school has noted a perceptible fall in USMLE pass rates, administrators believe that this is a transient phenomenon as the school adjusts its new curriculum.
“We let students engage the material in whatever way is most comfortable to them and tell them not to worry about tests. At the end of the day, the board exams are just another remnant of an outdated system for training doctors. What matters to patients is knowing that their doctors believe in themselves and in the treatment they prescribe. Everything else is fluff.”
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