Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Eighteen MD/MBA Students Complete Summer Preceptorships Despite COVID-19 Limitations

Eighteen MD/MBA Students Complete Summer Preceptorships Despite COVID-19 Limitations

Each summer, a cohort of students earning a dual MD/MBA degree participate in summer preceptorships. This course is a joint effort of the TTU Rawls College of Business and TTUHSC’s School of Medicine. These preceptorships are typically shadowing experiences where students are on site, either at TTUHSC, UMC, or another medical institution in Lubbock. Students must complete 150 hours of field experience and develop projects that focus on healthcare management.

This year, due to COVID-19 and safety precautions being taken all over our city, these students were forced to complete their preceptorships in unconventional ways. While it was a combination of face-to-face and virtual, most met with their mentors via Zoom for the entirety of the summer and never stepped foot on campus. Despite the challenges that had to be overcome, all eighteen of the students in the preceptorship course this summer successfully completed their projects, with many planning to publish manuscripts of their research.

zoom call

The final project for this course is a research poster. Students had the opportunity to present their posters at the end of the summer in a session that is attended by their classmates, physicians, and administrative staff across Lubbock healthcare organizations. This year, the poster session was held via Zoom (image 1), with each student presenting his or her research and answering questions from the audience.

Projects for this summer course range in topic from telemedicine to surgery reimbursement rates to analysis of productivity in clinics, the OR, and ER. As you can imagine, many projects this summer focused on COVID-19. More specifically, the response of multiple institutions amid the pandemic, increased telemedicine efforts, and PPE procurement.

Abdurrahman Kharbat was one of the students that focused on PPE related issues during the pandemic. Kharbat lead a team that worked on decontaminating PPE supplies for West Texas hospitals and clinics. “This opportunity has transformed my understanding of organizational structure and management and has been invaluable to my continued education” said Kharbat. “This course is one of the best scholastic opportunities that TTUHSC has to offer.”

Rachel Kortman worked with Dr. Tim Howell, the Senior Vice President at UMC, to compose a policy outlining the process for the redeployment of the newly cross-trained scribes. “Because of this field experience program, I was able to interact and build relationships with the Emergency Center Leadership Team and attend multiple administrative meetings” stated Kortman. “As a student who strives for success in every area of life, the opportunity to work with Dr. Howell this summer during the COVID-19 pandemic has taught me the value of resilience, transparency, and effective communication while holding positions of leadership during a crisis.”

This unique course offered to the students of the School of Medicine allows for an exclusive and in-depth look at the innerworkings of healthcare organizations. Their research efforts and findings have already been recognized as useful and progressive by many departments they were placed in, even in spite of the unusual conditions our students had to navigate. Student Marcus Gonzales noted “It was a difficult time for all of us due to the pandemic, but I sincerely appreciate the efforts to make this experience as meaningful as possible. I know that my classmates and myself are grateful for the opportunities given to us to work with leaders in their respective fields and we all took something valuable from this course.”

We would like to extend much gratitude to those who served as preceptors for our students this summer and worked diligently to ensure that the students had valuable experiences. Brent Magers is the Professor of Record for the course, and it was my pleasure to serve as the teaching assistant for it.