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Outpatient 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.

For the Outpatient Internal Medicine Clerkship, it is assumed that students will carry forward the knowledge and skills developed in the first two years of medical education as well as from the clerkship experiences.  Medical knowledge from the basic science courses and Foundations of Clinical Practice as well as concepts from clinical education will have particular relevance when dealing with patient problems and the care of these patients.

Students will learn in many ways during this elective; through reading, observing others, working with patients, practicing skills, self-assessing and receiving feedback. Students will be expected to assume responsibility for learning during this elective as well as to spend time reading to help build and increase the fund of knowledge about the problems of internal medicine patients.

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: During the clerkship experience emphasis is placed on the acquisition of clinical knowledge and skills such as performing a history and focused physical examination, diagnostic reasoning, synthesis of this information into a concise presentation and planning a complete workup.  The students’ role in the outpatient clinics is to actively and independently examine patients and to then discuss them and have them “staffed” by a faculty attending.  Faculty will assess the students’ ability to be an effective and accurate oral reporter of information gathered and physical exam findings discovered during the course of the patient encounter.

Students will attend clinic with teaching faculty 7-8 times during the clerkship.  This is an intensive one-on-one precepting experience designed to help the student understand the Internal Medicine approach to patients who present in the outpatient setting.   Students will focus on core ambulatory internal medicine patient problems as well as the clinical skills listed above.

Students will also have the opportunity to see patients in a number of the Internal Medicine subspecialty clinics during the clerkship.  Under the guidance and supervision of a faculty physician, students will work up patients with problems specific to the specialty areas of internal medicine and will develop management plans tailored to these particula patient problems.


Case-based Learning (CBL):  Three times during the clerkship a one-hour session will be dedicated to CBL cases which are part of the ongoing APM series.  The Outpatient Internal Medicine clerkship will cover congestive heart failure, back pain and abdominal pain in these sessions.  The Teaching Resident facilitates this interactive learning experience.

Divisional Teaching Conferences:  A number of divisions in Internal Medicine are responsible for presenting a weekly teaching conference to review Outpatient internal Medicine core topics by integrating medical knowledge with direct patient care.  These teaching sessions are held throughout the week and will be given at times that do not conflict with clinic assignments.  Students are expected to attend and actively participate in these conferences.

Internal Medicine Grand Rounds:  Each and every Thursday at 1:00 PM in Med Alumni Auditorium (E331 GH) the Department of Internal Medicine presents Grand Rounds.  Students finished with their morning clinics are expected to join fellow classmates on the Inpatient Internal Medicine Clerkship at this conference at least once during the four-week rotation.

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.

Ambulatory Practice Module: Education days are held throughout the 12-week Ambulatory Practice Module.  Students are expected to attend the education days which fall between the 4-week clerkships of Outpatient Internal Medicine, Family Medicine and the Community-based Primary Care Clerkship.