Clinical clerkship

Clinical clerkships encompass a period of medical education in which students – medical, nursing, dental, or otherwise – practice medicine under the supervision of a health practitioner.

Medical clerkships

In medical education, a clerkship, or rotation, refers to the practice of medicine by medical students during their final year of study. Traditionally, the first half of medical school trains students in the classroom setting, and the second half takes place in a teaching hospital. Clerkships give students experience in all parts of the hospital setting, including the operating room, emergency department, and various other departments that allow learning by viewing and doing.
Students are required to undergo a pre-clerkship course, which include introduction to clinical medicine, clinical skills, and clinical reasoning. A performance assessment such as the Objective Structured Clinical Examination is conducted at the end of this period. During the clerkship training, students are required to rotate through different medical specialties and treat patients under the supervision of physicians. Students elicit patient histories, complete physical examinations, write progress notes, and assist in surgeries and medical procedures. They are also actively involved in the diagnoses and treatment of patients under the supervision of a resident or faculty.
Students undergoing two-year clerkships spend their first year in patient care environment in month-long rotations with limited patient workloads. In their final year, when they are sometimes referred to as externs, they are given more patient care responsibilities in a variety or elective rotations.
The work hours are that of a full-time job, generally similar to that of residents. Students may also be required to work on weekends and to be on call.
For medical students, clerkships occur after the basic science curriculum, and are supervised by medical specialists at a teaching hospital or medical school. Typically, certain clerkships are required to obtain the Doctor of Medicine degree or the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree in the United States, while others are elective.
The intent of the clinical clerkship is to teach the medical student the fundamentals of clinical examination, evaluation, and care provision, and to enable the student to select the course of further study. Another purpose of the clerkship is for the student to determine if they really want to pursue a career in the field of medicine. During the clinical clerkship, the medical student will interact with real patients much as a physician does, but their evaluation and recommendations will be reviewed and approved by more senior physicians. The expectation is that the students will not only master the knowledge in successfully treating patients but they are also expected to assume the physician's role.

United States

In the United States, medical school typically lasts four years. Medical students spend the first part of this third and fourth years rotating through a combination of required clerkship and electives. Most medical schools require rotations in internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology, family medicine, radiology, and neurology. Some schools additionally require emergency medicine and intensive-care medicine. Furthermore, a common graduation requirement is to complete a sub-internship in a specialty, where the medical student acts as an intern.