Core Clerkship Descriptions

Medicine

The objectives of the Medicine clinical experience are to provide opportunities for students to develop patient evaluation skills, productive self-learning techniques, a sound pathophysiological approach to medical disease, a concern and awareness for the patient’s needs, and personal professional behavior.  Students spend eight weeks, divided into two 4-week blocks, assigned to the inpatient General Medicine Service.  An additional four weeks are spent in outpatient services.  Bedside clinical teaching is emphasized by asking the student to perform patient evaluations, to contribute to the care of selected patients, and to participate in the clinical rounds of the services.  During this clerkship the student receives intensive instruction from the Internal Medicine house staff and faculty.  In addition, the student is expected to undertake independent patient-oriented reading and to systematically review pertinent information introduced during the preclinical years. Finally, students attend a series of clinical conferences including medical grand rounds, morbidity and mortality conferences, clinical subspecialty conferences, and organized courses in electrocardiography and nutrition.

Surgery

The Surgery 8-week clerkship is divided into two 4-week rotations, one on general surgery and one on surgical specialties.  During the surgical clerkship, the student is afforded the opportunity to participate actively in the diagnosis and therapy of patients suffering from both acute and chronic surgical illness including both ambulatory and bedridden patients.  The clerkship is interwoven with teaching ward rounds, clinical conferences, symposia, and a reading program with weekly examination and reviews on all aspects of surgery and the surgical specialties.  The goals of the surgical clerkship are to provide students the opportunity to develop adequate knowledge, basic manual skills, and attitudes about surgical disease that should be encompassed by every practicing physician.

Family Medicine

The Family Medicine clerkship introduces students to the principles, philosophy, and practice of family medicine, including fundamental concepts of comprehensive, continuous, cost-effective, family-oriented medical care. Students participate in the care of patients in various outpatient and inpatient settings. Students will have the opportunity to practice clinical problem solving in the undifferentiated patient and to improve their basic clinical skills. Students are expected to gain basic knowledge in the diagnosis and management of common family medicine problems, health promotion/disease prevention, and geriatrics.

Obstetrics/Gynecology

The Obstetrics & Gynecology clerkship provides students with opportunities to prepare to function as a house officer capable of providing preventive care and treatment or competent to identify the patient’s need for direction into an appropriate care environment.  Supervised direct patient experience occurs in the obstetrical wards, operating room, labor and delivery suite, emergency room, and the obstetrical, gynecologic, family planning, and cancer detection clinics.

Pediatrics

The Pediatric clerkship addresses issues unique to childhood and adolescence by focusing on human developmental biology, and by emphasizing the impact of family, community, and society on child health and well-being.  Additionally, the clerkship focuses on the impact of disease and its treatment on the developing human, and emphasizes growth and development, principles of health supervision, and recognition of common health problems.  The role of the pediatrician in prevention of disease and injury and the importance of collaboration between the pediatrician and other health professionals in stressed. During this clerkship, students spend time working in outpatient and inpatient settings.

Psychiatry

The Psychiatric clinical clerkship is designed to familiarize the student with the personality traits, illnesses, and emotional disturbances that affect health and productivity.  It is an opportunity for the student to develop and strengthen clinical skills in interviewing patients, formulating treatment plans, and carrying out treatment with patients who have psychiatric illness.  The clerkship is arranged so the student may select the assignment area on the basis of particular interest, i.e., an inpatient/outpatient setting.  The student’s role in the clerkship is arranged to allow for considerable experience in the working relationship between patient and “physician” in the treatment process.  Seminars have been developed to allow the student an in-depth appreciation of the various psychiatric states and emotional problems that affect the general practice of medicine.  The student-staff ratio allows for small groups of students to meet with faculty, thereby enhancing learning.  The clerkship is an opportunity for the students to look at their personal feelings and values and understand how they influence patient care, to learn how to deal with psychiatric disease, and to become more comfortable in dealing with the personalities of patients with organic disease.

Emergency Medicine

The Emergency Medicine clerkship introduces third year students to the specialty of emergency medicine and reviews principles of emergency care that will benefit a graduate entering any specialty.   Medical students are entrusted with many responsibilities and duties throughout the rotation.

Neurology

The Neurology core clerkship is designed to give the student experience in evaluation of patients with neurologic disorders an opportunity to master the neurological exam in inpatient ward and consultation settings, as well as outpatient settings.  The student will be expected to participate in the complete care of assigned General Neurology Ward patients and patients on the Stroke Specialty Wards.  Students will also participate in Neurology consult rounds and have an opportunity to see consult patients.  Students will be assigned to either the University Hospital or VA Neurology wards/consult services for two weeks of the rotation. They will also spend one week of the rotation of the Stroke wards service and participate in stroke specialty clinics during that week.  One week of the rotation will be devoted to participating in a variety of general neurology and specialty clinics.  Students are required to perform appropriately focused history and physical exams, prepare written and verbal presentations, interpret laboratory data and develop a differential diagnosis and management plan on all assigned patients.  Students will also attend neurology morning report, the MS3 Neurology Lecture Series, selected Neurology Residency Lecture Series topics and Neurology grand Rounds.