The pandemic has tested students’ resilience and patience, forcing them to learn in a remote setting that replaces face-to-face teachings and physical-touch experiences with an online watch-and-learn alternative. It’s a tough environment for any student but the burden is magnified when students can no longer practice interaction skills and in-person initial patient assessments. Though it is beyond frustrating, especially as the global health crisis lingers for an indeterminant period, always remember that Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) faculty is here to support and guide, now more than ever. 

Following are some ideas about how students can pull through this unprecedented time: 

  • Find Allies — through the RUSM student portal, Microsoft Teams and course canvas pages, you can share stories and connect with other students facing the same challenges.  
  • Study Buddy — complete a form through canvas that highlights your needs, strengths and study habits so you can collaborate with the best partner. 
  • Reach Out — to professors who’ve been assessing and redirecting lesson plans to try and accommodate anyone who may be struggling. Provide new suggestions that may be helpful. Check out inspirational alumni stories on our RUSM blog that highlight how physicians are coping with the changing healthcare landscape. 
  • Find New Ways to Self-Motivate — restrictions and lack of socialization make it tough to stay motivated. Recharge by connecting with an old friend and sharing a few laughs. Surround yourself with positive thoughts, pictures of family and friends and inspirational images of your future as a healer.  
  • Stay Focused — again, not something that’s easy these days. Professors understand this and are willing to help; contact them.  
  • Give Yourself a Break — graduate studies are tough, but medical studies are elevated a few notches. It’s ok to need extra help now, whether it’s from instructors, classmates, friends or family. 
  • Time Management — always a crucial element when you’re thrown so much work in a small amount of time. RUSM is known for its rigorous curriculum that invigorates the strengths of its students. Give yourself enough time to complete a project, knowing it may take longer than if you were in a classroom or part of a clinical rotation. If you still can’t meet the deadline, reach out to your professor to proactively communicate what you’re going through. They are here to help every step of the way. 
  • Post Regularly — get in the habit of connecting with peers and instructors the same way you stay in touch with friends and family. Your academic life requires the same commitment and dedication. The more you feel part of the online experience, the better you’ll do.  
  • Coordinate a Small, Working Group — schedule times to meet with a smaller group of classmates to brainstorm strategies, share information and collaborate in innovative ways.  
    • Create Virtual Patients — set the scene… list symptoms, how the patient presented and talk through the diagnoses. Then add or remove a symptom and repeat. Find ways to challenge each other and turn it into a fun and rewarding experience.  
    • Research Real Patient Cases — search for historical medical cases online and only read the symptoms first presented. Then work as a team to try to figure out the progression and the medical route. Once you’ve exhausted all the possibilities, read the rest of the case to see if you’re correct. 
    • Call on Family/Friends — ask your loved ones about past doctor visits… have them recount their symptoms and what they first told the doctor. Then ask questions and find out if your diagnosis mirrors what happened. 
  • Sleep Time — recharge your batteries, aiming for a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night to avoid mental fatigue. Learn more about the importance of sleep from the American Medical Association


Though you’re being challenged in ways never imagined, don’t forget that RUSM professors are working tirelessly to meet the needs of all medical and clinical science students. Read more about programs currently underway or launching soon that will better assist you.   

Get motivated about your medical journey by reading invigorating stories about Rossies on our Care for Caregivers site, RUSM blog or through our social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Check out a story with our associate professor of behavior sciences, Dr. Laurie Helgoe, who reminds us about the importance of personal wellness right now.  

If you have any questions or concerns, please email student affairs in Barbados or Miramar, or if you need further assistance, please contact the RUSM Wellness & Counseling Center


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In 2020, 91% of RUSM students passed the initial step of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) on the first attempt. And in 2022-2023, results show yet another strong year for RUSM with a 98% first-time residency attainment rate* thus far. Located on the island of Barbados and with a network of more than 15,000 alumni, RUSM is one of the largest providers of doctors for the U.S. healthcare system. RUSM graduates practice in all 50 states and in Puerto Rico.

*First time residency attainment rate is the percent of students attaining a 2023-24 residency position out of all graduates or expected graduates in 2022-23 who were active applicants in the 2023 NRMP match or who attained a residency position outside the NRMP match.