Journey to DMSPA Doctorate

Journey to DMS | Chapter 11

This is the final chapter of Journey to DMS. On December 11th, 2021, I graduated from Lincoln Memorial University’s Doctor of Medical Science program

LMU Doctor of Medical Science
Lincoln Memorial University Doctor of Medical Science
Doctor of Medical Science in Primary Care Medicine
Doctor of Medical Science in Primary Care Medicine

Be it known that on recommendation of the faculty and by virtue of the authority vested in them the Trustees of Lincoln Memorial University have conferred upon you the degree of Doctor of Medical Science with all the honors, rights, and obligations appertaining thereto. Given at Harrogate, Tennessee in the United States of America, on the eleventh day of December, in the year of our Lord, two thousand twenty-one.

Taking My Final DMS Exams

You have satisfactorily completed the prescribed Doctor of Medical Science curriculum in Primary Care Medicine with all the honors, rights, and obligations appertaining thereto. Given at Harrogate, Tennessee in the United States of America, on the eleventh day of December, in the year of our Lord, two thousand twenty-one.

Toward the completion of the program, we took several mock Family Medicine Board exams. One was through the NEJM Knowledge+ program and the other was via TrueLearn. I didn’t study for these exams, per se, but they were intended to gauge the effectiveness of the program in improving clinical acumen. The NEJM exam was 100 questions and the TrueLearn exam was 200 questions. 

I scored over 80% on the NEJM test which seems to have put me comfortably in the upper quartile, at least. I scored 69% on the TrueLearn exam which put me above the national average and in the 73rd percentile overall. The national average was 64%. My highest scoring categories were Endocrine and Geriatrics and the lowest was Nephrology. 

I feel that I could have done better had I studied (as if it were an actual board exam). But I’m still content with my scores given the fact that I’m being compared to family medicine residents preparing for their boards. 

My Class Presentations

During the 9 specialty modules, I presented to my classmates and the physician mentor several times. Here are a few of my presentation titles:

  • “I Hate You. Don’t Leave Me” A Case Study in Borderline Personality Disorder
  • An Elderly Woman with Cognitive Dysfunction and Gait Abnormality
  • A 61-year-old Female with Polyarthralgia and Fatigue
  • Anemia and Renal Failure in a 21-year-old Female
  • A 71-yea-old Male with Hyponatremia and Shortness of Breath
  • Progressive Weakness and Weightloss in an 18-year-old Female
  • Asymptomatic Alkaline Phosphatase Elevation in a 55-year-old Woman
  • Vaginal Bleeding in a 64-year-old G0 White Female
  • Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy

As you can tell, I’m great at coming up with original titles! For each presentation, I would create a PowerPoint summarizing our group’s week-long discussion as well as reviewing fundamental principles of evaluation and management.

Finishing the program is a bit surreal. Over the last 17 months, I’ve grown accustomed to seeing patients all day, reading and working through assignments when I could, and then coming home to read for several more hours. Though it’s now February and graduation was 2 months ago, I still feel awkward coming home and not doing homework. 

I bought myself a new nameplate for my desk and had several scrub tops embroidered with my new credentials. I don’t introduce myself as “doctor” but several observant patients have made sure to point it out. It would be nice to be acknowledged more often, but that’s not why I went through the program. That and I hate conflict and I’m just not ready to argue about it. I have another PA student coming in the Spring, I’ll be sure he or she knows what my name is!

Interested in starting from the beginning? Check out Chapter 1 of the Journey to DMS series:

7 thoughts on “Journey to DMS | Chapter 11

  • I would just like to say thank you and let you know how grateful I am for you taking the time to not only document, but also share your journey! These 11 “chapters” have been invaluable to me and provided wonderful insight. This is indeed the type of program I can get on board with to deepen my medical knowledge.

    • Thank you, John! This was the original intent of the blog. We’re so glad you found it useful.

  • Ronnie Arnold Jr

    I truly enjoyed and appreciated following your journey to gaining your doctoral degree. Congrats on your accomplishment! I did have a question I was looking at enrolling in LMU General Medicine Doctoral Program for new graduates after graduation. I was going to combine attending the program while also completing a rural hospital primary care residency. In your opinion do you think that would be doable and beneficial? Thank you in advance for your response.

    • If you’re referring to the Primary Care Medicine tract within the DMS, I think it would be doable while completing a PA residency, but you’ll certainly have your work cut out for you. You might want to find out the type of didactic requirements your particular residency program has–if there’s already a big emphasis on lectures, Grand Rounds, journal clubs, etc., adding the DMS on top might be too much. I spent 10-15 hours a week working on my DMS.

      • Ronnie Arnold

        Ok thank you so much for the reply! Do you think it would benefit overall as a new grad transition into becoming better qualified to work autonomously by doing both?

        • I do think it will make you a better clinician although getting some experience under your belt will make that extra education even more meaningful–I had 10 years of primary care experience when I entered the DMS. I don’t think it would have been quite as helpful to me had I gone through it right after PA school. You might want to just focus on getting through your residency (or your first few years) and then start a DMS down the road. By then you’ll have a better understanding of where your deficiencies are and where you need to improve.

          • Ronnie Arnold

            Perfect thank you so much!

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