MS3s complete Introduction to Clerkship; ready for transition into clinic

For USF Health medical students, the transition from classroom to clinic begins at USF’s Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation, where earlier this week, members of the class of 2019 practiced diagnosing and treating actors playing patients with a variety of ailments.

“Getting into the clinical setting and being there is a big step,” said Vinita Kiluk, MD, an assistant professor of pediatrics at USF’s Morsani College of Medicine and co-course coordinator. “Now they have to learn how to manage their time, be efficient when they’re seeing their patients and still be patient-centered. Then they have to go home and study.”

A group of third-year medical students interview a post-surgery patient to identify issues that are causing his ailment. The student deliberated in a different room following the interview to make a diagnosis.

The week-long Introduction to Clerkship course is designed to ease students into direct patient care, and highlight the importance of following hospital protocols procedures, by having them diagnose and prescribe treatments to actors playing patients in need of medical attention.

The course was divided into segments such as Basic Life Support, Clerkship Visits and Introduction to Hospitals, each of which was designed to familiarize students with the types of patient care scenarios and settings they will likely encounter in their medical careers.

During Introduction to Hospitals, students reviewed a fictional medical chart and conferred with one another before meeting with the “patient,” played by an actor, to learn more about his or her lifestyle, previous medical history and family medical history. After deliberating with an instructor, the students made their diagnoses. Once the instructors approved the diagnoses, the students met with the patients again to recommend future actions, such as lifestyle changes and medications.

Frederick Slone, MD, explains the path of a shock delivered to the heart during the Introduction to Clerkship course at CAMLS.

Among the scenarios during the course: a pediatric patient who displayed many of the symptoms linked to a middle-ear infection and a geriatric patient experiencing complications after surgery.

During each scenario, instructors constantly questioned and asked students to justify their diagnoses and treatment recommendations, thereby helping students develop the confidence they will need to succeed in a clinical environment.

“I love teaching this class. This is a great time to give the students little nuggets of information that they could use down the road,” said Deborah DeWaay, MD, FACP, co-coordinator of the course and associate dean of Undergraduate Medical Education at MCOM.  “This is also an important time to expose them to the professors and people who will help get them through the next two years of medical school.”

The Basic Life Support section is one of the courses the third-year medical school students must past in order to complete the Introduction to Clerkship course at CAMLS.

Student Catherine Divingian said she appreciated the challenges presented in the course and the real-world preparation it provides.

“It’s important for us as medical students to advocate for the patient and be sure the team is providing adequate care to the patient,” said Divingian.  “I’m very excited to be at this point in my education. I’ve learned so much from this course, and I’m happy to be part of it.”

The culmination of the week-long course will be today’s Student Clinician Ceremony at CAMLS, which officially marks the students’ transition into clinical training and the halfway point in their journey to become doctors.