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Clinical Skills Assessment and the Curriculum

The Carver College of Medicine curriculum consists of three phases:

  • Phase 1 (pre-clinical):  Semesters 1-3
  • Phase 2 (core clerkships):  Semesters 4-5
  • Phase 3 (advanced):  Semesters 6-8

The Clinical Skills Assessment Program is heavily involved with Phases 1 and 2.

Phase 1

  • Multiple facilitator-led small group sessions allow students to work through a patient scenario(s) to practice targeted communication skills, such as establishing rapport, asking open-ended questions, and expressing empathy.
    • Students learn to offer feedback and receive it from their peers, their facilitator, and the SP
    • Students participate in small group sessions and learn systems-based physical exam skills in a hands-on setting
  • Physical Exam Teaching Associates (PETAs) are an elite group of specially and rigorously trained SPs. PETAs offer guidance and education on patient-centered topics, such as effective draping, asking for permission, etc
  • Individual one-on-one interactions with an SP during which students practice targeted skills for each session and receive individualized patient-centered feedback
  • End of semester OSCEs for all three Phase 1 semesters
    • Students demonstrate multiple clinical and communication skills through a variety of tasks and stations
    • Students are scored in these stations and these scores are used as a part of the course grade


Phase 2

Education Days

  • Facilitator-led small group sessions
  • Students work through more advanced scenarios and practice more complex communication skills
  • Feedback is provided by peers, clinical and communication facilitators, and the SPs
    • Suicide Risk Assessment
    • Sexual History
    • Shared Decision Making

Multi-station OSCEs

  • Occurs toward the end of 6 core clerkships. Students work in realistic clinical settings in a realistic time frame. Clinical reasoning and communication skills are used to work through clerkship-specific clinical scenarios and relevant tasks such as interpreting laboratory data and writing patient notes.
    • Family Medicine
    • Internal Medicine
    • Obstetrics-Gynecology
    • Pediatrics
    • Psychiatry
    • Surgery
  • Clerkship OSCEs are required by the core clerkships listed above
    • Scores are used in the calculation of clerkship grades
    • Missed OSCEs are required to be made up in later blocks before a final grade can be assigned
  • Clerkship OSCEs are collegiate requirements and are used in part to determine students' readiness for the Phase 3 curriculum