On behalf of the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Counseling & Wellness Services, I want to thank you and all of the (COLLEGE DOGS©) teams who came to the School of Medicine last week to provide stress relief to our medical students!
There is a saying in medicine that trying to learn everything there is to learn in medical school is like trying to take a drink of water from a fire hose! Our students must learn vast amounts of detailed information in several subject areas each quarter, this in addition to a host of supplementary required and volunteer activities. The expectations of our students are great, and their expectations of themselves are even greater. As finals approach, I’m sure it won’t surprise you to know that their stress levels are often palpable.
The (COLLEGE DOGS©) teams who visited were nothing short of remarkable. Audible gasps of delight, smiling student faces, unmistakable expressions of authentic happiness and visible signs of relaxation began the moment the first dogs arrived and lasted well beyond their departure. Indeed, the entire atmosphere of the 5th floor of the T-Wing changed, and was noted by staff and students alike. Several students, in fact, have commented to me that their ability to study and to focus last weekend without the usual pre-finals elevated levels of stress took them by surprise! It is no exaggeration to say that our students loved all of the dogs, and prized the interactions with the humans accompanying each of the dogs as well. They are already asking for (COLLEGE DOGS©) to return soon!
Thank you so very much for coming to the U.W. School of Medicine. We eagerly look forward to scheduling a return visit soon!
Joanne Estacio-Deckard, LICSW
Director, Medical Student Counseling & Wellness Services