The Professional Development program for the School of Medicine (SOM) is designed to facilitate student improvement in clinical skills, communication skills and clinical reasoning. The program is designed to prepare students attempting to master these skills for their Step 2 Clinical Skills exam and to ultimately become excellent clinicians.
In the first year of their medical education, students are expected to learn the different components of medical interviewing. Students are assisted by faculty preceptors in their Foundations of Clinical Practice (FCP) course, and are afforded opportunities to learn, practice and improve their communications and clinical skills. During FCP, students demonstrate basic interview skills in Competency Exam 1, and at the culmination of FCP, students demonstrate their knowledge of a full interview and physical exam in Competency Exam (CE) 2. Students are subsequently tested in performance exams after each science block in CE’s 3 and 4.
By the end of their second year, students finishing their science blocks are expected to improve their clinical and communication skills in performance exams, and begin showing some skill in clinical reasoning. Students who score below SOM standards on their competency exams in clinical skills and communication skills are contacted and required to review videos of their exam encounters with standardized patients and submit a learning plan to the director of Professional Development. Students are assigned a professional development coach, a faculty physician, to assist in their review and help identify goals for a learning plan.
By the end of their third year, students are expected to show mastery in communication and clinical skills and be able to demonstrate good clinical reasoning ability. Students who receive “no credit” on any portion of their Objective Structured Clinical Exams (OSCEs) are assigned a professional development coach and required to submit learning plans. Students that struggle with communications skills, clinical skills or clinical reasoning by the end of Phase 2 may be required to participate in an intensive communications skills workshop, usually held in early June at the end of the Phase 2 curriculum, and/or do extra work in clinical reasoning to address their learning issues.
The Professional Development program also provides opportunities for skills practice before some performance examinations, and students can request personal practice sessions with faculty and Standardized Patients in order to improve their skills.
Our Professional Development faculty is diverse, and serves in a variety of departments and medical disciplines: