clinical activities

The transition back to clinics after the PhD will be smoothest if you spend some time during the thesis years keeping in touch with your clinical skills and if you allow yourself ample time for warming up before you re-enter the clerkships.

Clinical Connections

In the Clinical Connections program, thesis students are matched with a physician-scientist clinical preceptor in an area of interest to them. The goals of the program are 1) to help the student to stay in touch with his/her clinical skills and knowledge base, 2) to pair the student with someone who can offer insight into physician-scientist career paths in a clinical area of interest to him/her.

Other Ways to Spend Time in a Clinical Setting

  • Volunteer for UCC or UCHC. More info in the Student Organizations Directory
  • Make informal arrangements to spend time in the clinics with an attending or resident you know
  • Attend departmental Grand Rounds in your area(s) of interest

MED240: Standardized Patient Experience

  • GOALS: This experience is designed to give MD-PhD students returning to clinics a chance to dust off their clinical skills and receive guidance and feedback in a low-stress setting. The focus of MED 240 is history taking, physical exam, and presentation skills. The program provides thoughtful one-on-one clinical teaching prior to the two week clinical warm up course (med 250). We developed this initiative in response to feedback from students who have been through the transition and felt that a more structured experience, even before med 250, would be helpful. The feedback on the course has been very positive, and we highly recommend signing up. (Please note, however, that once you sign up this is “no drop”, even if you end up substantially postponing your return to clinics).
  • STRUCTURE: Each student will work up two bread-and-butter cases selected to cover fundamental areas of medicine. Here’s how it works:
    1. Prior to the program, you’ll receive a student guide that provides you resources to prepare.  You can also go to the MED 240 section found on Canvas. The goal will be to give you some suggestions to feel comfortable going into the experience, without requiring too big a time commitment.
    2. The program runs at Rittenhouse, and there are two dates available each year. Timing is typically 8:45-11:30.
    3. You’ll have a 45 minute overview of how to conduct a patient interview, followed by a 45 minute overview of important physical exam techniques (similar to some of the techniques you learned in your ICM course).
    4. For each of the two cases you will:
      • Have about half an hour to take a history, do a physical exam, and discuss your assessment and plan of care with the patient.
      • Then a few minutes to list the tests you would want to order such as labs, imaging, etc.
      • You’ll then meet again with the SP to get some feedback from the patient’s perspective.
      • Within two days you will turn in a write-up on each of the two patients, and you’ll have a chance to view videos of the encounters.
      • Later in the week you will meet with a resident or faculty preceptor and present one of the two patients. Your preceptor will give you some feedback and offer suggestions that will help as you get ramped up to return to clinics.

MED 250: Clinical Skills Course

  • GOALS: Med 250 is the two week medicine refresher course which re-introduces students to Internal Medicine and the core clinical skills required for patient care.  The course is graded pass/fail and the focus is on knowledge and clinical skill acquisition. Students refresh their skills through didactic sessions, case studies, patient care experiences and independent learning.
  • STRUCTURE: Course components include history taking, physical examination, diagnostic test interpretation (i.e. labs and imaging), clinical reasoning (i.e. differential diagnosis), therapeutics, documentation and presentation skills. During the refresher, students are encouraged to become an active participant of their team.
  1. Students may be assigned to a site at HUP, PPMC or Pennsylvania Hospital.

  2. Throughout the 2-week course, students will complete asynchronous didactic sessions in high yield topics (such as EKG and Radiology Interpretation).

  3. Information about signing up for the course is available through the Registrar's Office.  Please make sure you have access to EPIC prior to starting the course.  

    • Please be sure to send the Registrar your first and second choice options as soon as you can.  

    • Once you sign up, it is very difficult for us to change the schedule because there are limited spots, so please sign up only if you are sure you can commit to doing the course.