Connecting to the Waiting Patient: Trainum Pioneers Positive Change for Students

April 26, 2019 by School of Medicine Webmaster

School of Medicine students Evan Rajadhyaksha and Nicole Calautti are excited about the Yapp app.

I love that our faculty and staff are constantly asking themselves, “What’s best for our students?” A great example of this is how Heather Trainum, Clerkship Coordinator for the Department of Surgery, took the initiative to find a cellphone app — the Yapp app — that has replaced our hardcopy clerkship manual with a virtual one.

All of our clerkships enable third-year medical students to evaluate different specialties as a future career choice. The Surgery clerkship provides an exposure to common surgical problems, develops basic clinical decision-making skills in this patient population, and creates opportunities for students to demonstrate technical skills appropriate for their level.

The clerkship manual has been an important resource for students through the clerkship experience. Traditionally, they have been filled with reams and reams of paper, including handouts and reference information. For clerkship coordinators, the process of assembling binders and handing them out to students took about a half-day every 6 weeks. Despite that effort, the binders were too bulky for students to carry and often had out-of-date information, such as schedules that frequently changed.

Relics of the past: Binders and carts are replaced with cellphones and apps.

Not satisfied with the situation for either students or the clerkship team, Heather decided to find a better way. She assessed the process, researched different options, and learned of a cellphone app — used by surgery residency administrator Kristen Dudley for residency documents — that could get the job done more effectively and at a fraction of the price. In February 2018, Heather converted the paper clerkship manual — that giant, awkward binder — to the Yapp app and began using it with the new class of third-year medical students.

Paper binders were costly, bulky, and too often contained outdated information. Heather Trainum, Clerkship Coordinator for the Department of Surgery, championed a better way for students.

The Yapp app has now been used for ten clerkship rotations, and the change has been amazing. In addition to letting Heather update materials in real time, the use of Yapp has saved more than a week of her time each year and reduced the Department of Surgery printer and binder costs by $1,700 a year.

The really important part, however, is how this change has affected our students. They love it. Having a digital clerkship manual that is portable and updated regularly allows them to focus on their lessons and their “waiting patients.”

Fourth-year Evan Rajadhyaksha discusses the benefits of Yapp — and how he used it during his clerkship year — with first-year Nicole Calautti.

Building on the Surgery clerkship’s success, the Pediatric and Medicine clerkships adopted Yapp and produced similar savings and student benefits. Now, the Curriculum Committee has determined that use of the Yapp app is a best practice and all clerkships are using it for their manuals. We expect that this change will save roughly $11,500 and 120 hours of binder preparation time each year.

Thanks to Heather and all who were involved in making this positive change for our students!

R.J. Canterbury, MD, MS, DLFAPA
Wilford W. Spradlin Professor
Senior Associate Dean for Education

Filed Under: Education