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Inpatient Clerkship Student Expectations

Responsibility for Learning: The process of learning involves integrating new knowledge with prior experiences and information to create a broader understanding. It requires reflection, planning and self-assessment.

Medical knowledge, skills in gathering and organizing data and excellent judgment are components of behavior that describe an outstanding student. Yet, perhaps the most important behavior is attitude. Students who create opportunities for their own learning, take pleasure in learning and who are willing to teach others are highly regarded by other team members.

It is a satisfying experience for students to carry forward the knowledge and skills developed in the first two years of medical school, as well as in their clerkships preceding the Inpatient Internal Medicine Clerkship, and see the integration of multiple disciplines in providing patient care. Medical knowledge from the basic science courses and Foundations of Clinical Practice, as well as concepts from Biomedical Ethics and Health Law, have particular relevance when dealing with patients hospitalized with acute illness. We hope that students will develop a solid foundation of skills and knowledge that will be applicable across the continuum of their training not only in internal medicine, but across all specialties.

Professionalism: The Department of Internal Medicine emphasizes the importance of this competency in the clerkship because it is the framework of all we do and who we are. It is a lifelong commitment to personal excellence and continued professional development. It is a standard of conduct towards our patients, as well as healthcare colleagues, and demands we aspire with each encounter to achieve the following expectations:

  • Show respect for time, both for clinical experiences and learning opportunities
  • Show respect towards others
  • Dress professionally
  • Demonstrate appropriate behavior under stress
  • Deliver the best possible care to each individual patient, regardless of race, age or ethnic differences
  • Conduct oneself in an ethical manner
  • Take responsibility for learning
  • Maintain patient confidentiality and discuss patient information only with those involved in the patient's care

Clinical Experience: Students are considered to be important members of the inpatient team assigned to the internal medical service for the care of patients. As part of the teams, students should expect to work with residents, attending staff, specialty consulting physicians and other healthcare personnel. The clerkship emphasizes the importance and rewards of experiential learning. Through direct patient contact and increasing responsibility for patient care, by observing the skills of residents and staff and by ongoing self-directed learning, students will acquire the clinical knowledge and skills necessary to care for patients. Both written and oral communication skills are emphasized. Students will learn to elicit an accurate history, perform a focused physical exam, formulate a reasoned differential diagnosis for each patient problem and begin to develop appropriate treatment plans for these problems. In addition, students will learn to synthesize this information into a concise presentation and to communicate medical information through comprehensive, well-developed medical documentation. Students make invaluable contributions to patient care and are encouraged the students to learn and experience as much as they can during the rotation.

Conferences: There is great breadth to internal medicine and while it will not be possible to teach students all of the body of knowledge during the six-week clerkship, there are a number of scheduled conferences that are available to students to supplement the clinical experiences.

Case-based Learning (CBL): During the clerkship interactive teaching sessions dedicated to internal medicine core topics are offered. The Teaching Resident facilitates this learning experience.

Internal Medicine Grand Rounds: Each Thursday afternoon at 1:00 pm in Med Alumni Auditorium (E331 GH) the Department of Internal Medicine presents Grand rounds. Students are expected to attend two (2) Grand Rounds during the six-week rotation.

Resident Core Conference: Monday through Friday residents come together for educational sessions. Students are invited to join their teams at these sessions.

Community Time: The Department of Internal Medicine feels it is important that students remain connected to their Learning Community and that they continue to promote and support the vertical integration of student life and medical education, two key goals of the Learning Communities. Every Tuesday from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM is designated on the schedules as "Community Time." During this time students are encouraged to return to their community space in the MERF to check mail, meet friends or make new friends over lunch, and engage in conversation with M-1's and M-2's who are anxious to learn what students are experiencing in the clinical years. Please take advantage of this opportunity to share knowledge of the third year with the first and second year students who are anxious to know what might be in store for them as they progress through the curriculum and move from the basic science years to the clinical years.