At Drexel University College of Medicine, we think that early and sustained clinical experience gives students the confidence and comfort level to excel in their duties during the third and fourth years and beyond. College of Medicine students gain experience by working with standardized patients in our Barbara E. Chick M.D. '59 Clinical Education and Assessment Center (CEAC) and also in our new Independence Blue Cross Medical Simulation Center. These opportunities begin in the first few weeks of medical school and continue through the fourth year.
Early clinical exposure enables College of Medicine students to:
learn the time honored skill of history and physical taking
gain real-world communication skills
Opportunities to Gain Clinical Skills
Students in both Interdisciplinary Foundations of Medicine (IFM) and Program for Integrated Learning (PIL) attend "Patient as a Person" lectures. These lectures are important in helping students better understand patients in their biopsychosocial contexts. The lectures also allow students to realize how their own attitudes, values, and personal histories can affect how they listen to and understand patients.
Small group sessions in both curricula allow students to learn a variety of interviewing techniques using role-play, standardized patients and real patients in the hospital wards. Students also make visits to geriatric living facilities, an emergency room, and to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
In the Interdisciplinary Foundations of Medicine (IFM) curriculum, students attend "Clinical Framework" lectures which are designed to highlight clinical reasoning and the importance of basic science knowledge in differential diagnosis and how to apply knowledge to understand disease processes.
Additional Clinical Skills Opportunities
In addition to these opportunities, students at Drexel University College of Medicine use a number of on-line learning resources to gain clinical skills.
Doc.com helps students to attain the competence to communicate their caring in "routine" exchanges, as well as the competence to respond flexibly and respectfully in challenging communication and relationship situations.
DxR Clinician is a web based tool which allows students to question an on-line patient, conduct a simulated physical exam, and order lab tests while allowing the student to review the results of each decision before making additional diagnostic choices.
MedEthEx offers exercises in medical ethics and communication skills in communicating about ethical issues with patients and their families.
Real-World Experience with Physicians
By the end of the first year for Program for Integrated Learning (PIL) students and the beginning of the second for students in the Interdisciplinary Foundations of Medicine (IFM) track, students are required to spend time in the offices of primary care physicians. These opportunities, called the Primary Care Practicum in PIL and the Ambulatory Experience in IFM, allow students real-world experience with physicians and their patients.
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