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Clerkship

In your third and fourth years, Med 3 and Med 4, you’ll participate in a variety of clerkship experiences that will provide hands-on opportunities to develop your clinical skills and ensure appropriate, patient-centred care.

The Clerkship Review Committee reviewed the Med 3 and Med 4 curiculum in 2012 and proposed several recommendations. In response, four periods of teaching time (each 2 to 4 weeks in length) will be developed to help students transition from Med 2 to Med 3, and through the clerkship from Med 3 to Med 4, and subsequently, from Med 4 into residency. These sessions will incorporate Introduction to Clerkship and Critical Review and Mastery (CRAM).

Below are the overall objectives for the Clerkship:

  • Gain the skills for conducting clinical interviews, including effective verbal and nonverbal communication, toward obtaining complete, accurate data appropriate to any clinical situation.
  • Conduct a clinical examination of patients of all ages and interpret the findings.
  • Demonstrate clinical problem solving skills, including the ability to diagnose and initially manage with supervision, common acute and chronic illnesses.
  • Develop effective orally and written communication skills, including recording in the patient chart, writing orders, presenting cases, prescribing, sending referrals, and summarizing patient care and recommendations.
  • Describe the indications for and methods used in common diagnostic investigations and interventional procedures, as well as interpreting the results.
  • Develop competence in patient education and strategies for health promotion and disease and injury prevention.
  • Demonstrate the attitudes and professional behaviors appropriate for clinical practice.
  • Identify and use appropriate sources of information to support the delivery of patient care.
  • Communicate and collaborate effectively as a member of an inter-professional team.

The clerkship consists of two phases completed over two academic years. In Phase 1, which is 55 weeks long, clerks participate in a two-week Introduction to Clerkship (ITC) unit, designed to prepare you to transition from the pre-clinical years into the clinical rotations. The goal is to improve your comfort at the start of the rotations and to lessen the anxiety associated with your new roles.

Following the Introduction unit, you will take part in additional clerkships that target various specializations or areas within medicine.

Introduction to Clerkship

This two-week unit is designed to refresh basic clinical and procedural skills learned in Med 1 and Med 2; introduce clerks to the hospital-based clinical clerkship behaviours, procedures and processes; and provide opportunities to learn and practice clinical problem solving in various settings. Introduction to the Clerkship is the last time during the Clerkship phase that class members will be together. All academic sessions are broadcast using Bridgit conferencing technology.

Internal Medicine Clerkship Unit

By the end of the Internal Medicine Clerkship, a Dalhousie medical student will have the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to successfully diagnose and manage (under supervision) adult patients with complex medical problems.

Family Medicine Clerkship Unit

During the Family Medicine rotation, a Dalhousie medical student will gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes relevant to the care of patients in a community-based family medicine setting, providing acute and chronic care for patients of all ages, and incorporating preventive health care and risk reduction.

Psychiatry Clerkship Unit

By the end of the Psychiatry Clerkship, a Dalhousie medical student will have the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to successfully (under supervision) assess and care for patients, in a variety of settings and across the lifespan, presenting with acute or longstanding psychiatric illness. Students will also be able to differentiate normal from pathological emotional states.

Surgery Clerkship Unit

During the Surgery Clerkship unit, a Dalhousie Medical Student will acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes to care for the surgical patient through investigation, diagnosis, treatment, and convalescence.

Emergency Medicine Clerkship Unit

By the end of the Emergency Medicine Clerkship, a Dalhousie medical student will have the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to successfully perform an organized targeted history and physical exam on patients presenting to the Emergency Department with undifferentiated complaints in order to formulate differential diagnoses. This will include an initial investigation plan subsequent to accurately and succinctly presenting and documenting the history, physical exam, investigations, management plan and discharge instructions.

Pediatric Clerkship Unit

By the end of the Pediatric Clerkship, a Dalhousie medical student will have the knowledge and clinical skills needed to provide care under supervision to infants, children and adolescents with common acute and chronic illnesses, and to successfully enter any residency program that includes care for those populations.

Obstetrics/Gynecology Clerkship Unit

During the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Unit, a Dalhousie medical student will acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to care for obstetrical and gynaecological patients through investigations, diagnosis, treatment, and convalescence.

Electives Clerkship Unit

By the end of the Electives rotation, a Dalhousie medical student will have the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to develop an understanding of various aspects of medicine not offered in the formal undergraduate medical education curriculum; study particular areas of the curriculum in greater depth; and explore career opportunities.

Care of the Elderly Clerkship Unit

By the end of the Care of the Elderly rotation, a Dalhousie medical student will have the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to successfully diagnose and manage (under supervision) frail elderly patients with interacting medical, medication-related, cognitive, functional, and social problems.

CRAM Clerkship Unit

By the end of the CRAM (Critical Review and Mastery) unit, a Dalhousie medical student will have the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to successfully complete Medical Council of Canada examinations.

 

In Phase 2 (Med 4), which is 32 weeks long, there is a scheduled block designed for clerks to participate in 18 weeks of elective time. In addition, clerks will complete a three-week rotation in Care of the Elderly (CoE). Vacation time and Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) interviewing time can be scheduled around the clinical rotations. A total of three weeks of vacation can be taken during Phase 1, as well as two weeks at the end of Unit 1 and one week at the end of Unit 2.