The rotation is open to both medical students and residents from a variety of different specialties and interests. The goal of the medical student rotation is to build the bridge between the basic sciences and the clinical years. At the end of the rotation, medical students and residents are expected to be able to explain the pathophysiologic mechanisms underlying the development of a toxidrome as well as recognize the clinical presentations of some of the most common overdoses we see at the bedside. They should also be able to evaluate and initiate treatment in patients with substance use disorders, including opioid and alcohol use disorder. We hope to give them a solid foundation as they will be taking care of these patients on the floor and potentially in hospitals without medical toxicologists. We regularly have dozens of rotators on the service each year. Rotators receive a core set of lectures while on the rotation. They actively evaluate patients at the bedside and are given the option of participating in clinic.
In addition to regular didactics, we hold a formal didactics session every week. Topics vary and include classic and current journal articles and textbook chapters as well as presentations. Presentations include the management of interesting cases and general principles of medical toxicology. In addition, outside speakers may deliver lectures and toxicologists from the St. Louis region regularly join in the sessions. Rotators can also participate in our Scholar Track sessions and trips to the herpetarium, botanical gardens, or Bayer.
The rotation is highly popular with both the residents and medical students. Additionally, multiple graduates have gone on to excellent medical toxicology training fellowships because of their experience at Washington University.