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Academics Alum Features

ER doc lauds unique learning outside the classroom

Nick Menth ’07 didn’t have to come far to study at Saint John’s. He graduated from St. Cloud Technical High School and wanted to play soccer and add to the rich history of CSB and SJU graduates who have gone on to careers in medicine. He served as a chemistry teaching assistant, researched molecular genetics and studied abroad after his sophomore and junior years, in Spain and China – where he participated in microbiology research at Southwest University.

He also participated in the Innovation Scholar program, which provides outstanding liberal arts students from Minnesota’s private colleges and universities the unique opportunity to engage in the business development of new medical innovations in real time. Teams of four students, led by MBA student team leaders, complete projects identified by Mayo Clinic and early-stage medical companies.

“Obviously you have to do the classroom and lab work, but there are so many other things you can do at Saint John’s and Saint Ben’s that help form a fantastic foundation for a pre-med student,” said Menth, who graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2013 and has become an emergency room physician serving North Memorial hospitals in Maple Grove and Robbinsdale.

One of his instructors as an undergrad was Dr. Steve Jameson, who works in emergency medicine in St. Cloud. Menth said that played a role in sparking his own aspirations. He said his daily routine now is “controlled chaos” that requires mental triage and communication with a team that serves a large and diverse patient population.

“I was looking for a career where I didn’t know what I was going to do every day,” Menth said. “I wanted to show up for work and be surprised and challenged. Working in an emergency room isn’t for everyone, but I appreciated a little of the adrenalin rush that comes with it. I also wanted to see patients who hadn’t been seen before me, where I was the first one to see if I could solve their problem. And two other reasons are that there’s a tremendous amount of patient contact, both with hands-on intervention and with communication.

“Like any career, it can be stressful. But with the proper training and background, it becomes what you’re used to.”

Today, he occasionally works with medical students, participates in lectures, and may one day get involved in a more traditional academic setting again. He most enjoys bringing students interested in pathology to see it on shift in real time.

“There are a lot of rewarding parts of my job, but one of the most is working with medical students and watching them run a case, see a patient and come up with ideas and treatments and diagnoses,” Menth said. “We talk about all the options they get to choose from. It’s very rewarding to watch them come into their own.”

For pre-med students, he said it’s important to focus on more than academics. Whether it’s research or shadowing or volunteering at a hospital or in the community, all those build a strong foundation for a medical career.

“I think participating in a lot of different things as an undergrad sets you up for success in medical school because you learn time management and you’re exposed to different people and perspectives,” he said. “And take advantage of the opportunities Saint John’s and Saint Ben’s offer outside of health care exposure. Get involved in whatever interests you in life in general. That will help you maintain a happy perspective as things get busier and busier in your career.”

Nick Menth

Nick Menth ’07 served as a chemistry teaching assistant, researched molecular genetics and studied abroad after his sophomore and junior years en route to medical school and his current position as an emergency room physician serving North Memorial hospitals in Maple Grove and Robbinsdale.