Acquiring a knowledge base and developing a clinical reasoning process are crucial to your development as a physician. There are many unique characteristics of the preceptor/student relationship that may not be found in your third year clerkships (e.g., continuity, mentorship, career choice, etc.). For this reason you will continue to work with a physician who will serve as your clinical mentor/preceptor. Leaving the wards for a continuity clinic experience will be typical for most of your supervising residents as well as your attendings and so you are expected to do the same.
You will spend one session (4hours) two times per 4 week block, three times per 6 week block or four times per 8 week block with your preceptor. Thus, the time you spend with your preceptor will be determined by your preceptor’s schedule and your clinical block schedule. All of the clinical block directors are aware of your preceptor requirement and expect you to fulfill this requirement during their block. Your clinical block directors will instruct you on how to accomplish this during their orientation sessions.
You are not required to work with your preceptor when you are:
- On vacation/official leave
- On a clinical block that is only 2 weeks
- At a clinical block location that is >50 miles out of town
You may switch to a different preceptor during Phase III, however, you must remain with a single preceptor for an entire semester (Summer, Fall, Spring) so that they may appropriately evaluate your performance. Therefore, switches must be established and communicated to our office at least 2 weeks prior to the beginning of a semester. If you plan to switch preceptors in Phase III, we ask you to find your own new preceptor as we do not have many extra current preceptors or preceptors in the subspecialty areas. However, if needed, please contact the Preceptor Coordinator Veronica Paradise or the Associate Director for Preceptorship Kristin Furfari for guidance.
Given the fact that your schedule will be changing each clinical block, you must let your preceptor know when to expect you. We recommend that you do this at the beginning of each clinical block.
By Phase III, you should be seeing patients on your own, presenting to your preceptor and documenting patient visit information.
Tips for making your preceptor experience excellent include:
- Accept that your experience may differ considerably from your classmates’ experiences.
- Communicate regularly with you preceptor about what you need to be learning. It is important to take responsibility for your own learning.
- Encourage your preceptor and the staff to schedule patients that you have seen before back for return visits so you can see them again. Ask your preceptor if there are several patients or families that you could follow more closely over your third year.
- Tell patients that you are a medical student.
- Integrate into the usual work pattern of the practice.
- Be a self-directed learner and let the patient encounters drive your learning
- Ask for help when needed
Disclaimer: We are a pluralistic society and the practice of medicine is not a hard science. You will be exposed to different styles of practice even among physicians in the same specialty. Your experiences may differ from those of your colleagues, but this is to be expected throughout your training as a physician. Please call the Associate Course Director if you feel there is a mismanaged patient care issue or ethical problem in any of the clinical situations you encounter.