Physician Disability: Third Year Education
Medical students spend their time soaking up as much information as possible, constantly trying to prepare for the future. We’ve talked about the importance of starting early, to get physician disability insurance to cover any potential downfall you could face from unpaid student loans.
But your future isn’t the only thing medical students and full-fledged physicians are evaluating. In fact, many are calling for a re-evaluation of the third year education, to introduce longitudinal integrated clerkships into third-year curriculum.
Traditionally, third year medical students received their first introduction to clinical practice in clinical block rotations. The New York Times Well blog describes it as “a speed-dating introduction to the major disciplines of medicine and the issues patients face.” While it allows them to experience a wide variety of medical disciplines, critics argue it allows only limited, brief interaction with the senior physicians and patients. As an alternative, many are proposing a more long term approach to medical care with longitudinal integrated clerkships.
Instead of multiple monthly rotations, students follow patients for an entire year, shadowing everything from inpatient states to outpatient appointments. In this way, students can see the evolution of an illness, rather than a short snapshot from limited encounters with patients. The idea is to emphasize the continuity of patient care and to foster a “new sense of commitment” to patients.
Longitudinal integrated clerkships have been around for decades, but lately many medical schools are examining them as a way to train medical students from the patient’s perspective, according to the American Medical Association. The program would also allow students to work with the same peers and faculty members throughout the year.
What is your opinion of implementing longitudinal integrated clerkships into medical school curriculum versus the traditional clinical block rotations? We’d love to hear from you.