A comparison of students' clinical experience in family medicine and traditional clerkships.
The clinical experience of 40 Duke University medical students during their required two-month clinical clerkships is analyzed to compare experience on the traditional internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics-gynecology, and psychiatry clerkships with experience on a new family medicine clerkship. On the traditional clerkships, the students saw mostly hospital inpatients for an average of 36 different patients for 142 encounters and 300 problem contacts during a two-month rotation. On the family medicine clerkship, they saw mostly office ambulatory patients for an average of 184 patients for 236 encounters and 416 problem contacts. Traditional clerkships provided the most experience with neoplasms, blood problems, mental illness, obstetrical, perinatal, and congenital problems. The family medicine clerkship offered the most experience with circulatory, respiratory, digestive, neurological, musculoskeletal, and skin problems and with injuries. The family medicine clerkship contributed a substantive and important dimension to the clinical curriculum beyond that offered by the traditional five clerkships.
Parkerson, GR; Muhlbaier, LH; Falcone, JC
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