Tracking the contribution of a family medicine clerkship to the clinical curriculum

Sue A. Maple, Thomas A. Jones, Terrence J. Bahn, Richard D. Kiovsky, Brenda S. O'Hara, Stephen P. Bogdewic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: Medical educators are working to articulate the objectives and measure the outcomes of medical education. In clinical training, faculty need methods to identify both the principal educational contributions of individual clerkships and how prior experiences influence student learning. Methods: We analyzed students' perceived acquisition of clinical knowledge and skills on a 4-week, community-based family medicine clerkship. The data represent 349 third-year medical students who participated in the clerkship during a 2-year time period. Results were summarized by three different combinations of prior clerkship experiences and overall. Results: Students reported gains as a result of the clerkship for the majority of medical problems and procedures. However, there were differences in the clerkship's perceived contribution depending on the timing and sequence of clinical rotations. Even when the family medicine clerkship followed all other primary care rotations, students perceived that the clerkship contributed to gains in knowledge of undifferentiated and commonly seen problems; applications of health promotion, disease prevention, and patient education; importance of family dynamics in patient care; business aspects of medical practice; and appreciation of family practice. Conclusions: The results demonstrate how a required family medicine clerkship can enhance the clinical learning that occurs on other rotations. The study also demonstrates that it is possible to track a clerkship's contribution to student development and to understand how a clerkship's role may change according to students' prior experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)332-337
Number of pages6
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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