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  Clinical Education


Clinical Clerkship Program


There are a total of 23 clerkship periods. Fifteen of these are assigned in a manner prescribed by the Curriculum Committee and the Dean to ensure that every student obtains the core experience needed to become a well-trained osteopathic generalist physician.

Flexibility is provided by six months of elective time and three months of selective time to give the student ample opportunity to pursue his/her special interests.

The assigned clerkship sites are predominately in Pennsylvania and over 67% of our students are from Pennsylvania.

Whenever possible, we use hospitals approved by the AOA for post-doctoral training because the inspections by the AOA, in addition to our own, provide assurance of adequate teaching material and faculty. Also, the interaction with the house staff increases the student's opportunity for learning. In addition, we have ambulatory training sites that range from private practices to urban and rural health centers.

The clerkships provided at each site and the number of students assigned to each site from PCOM are determined by mutual agreement of the Hospital Administrator, Director of Medical Education, Clinical Faculty and the PCOM Office of Clinical Education. For those clerkships listed as "Away" assigned clerkships, housing will be provided unless noted otherwise.

Administrators, most of whom provide room and board for students in their institutions, prefer the number of students to remain fairly constant. They expect us to send the number of students planned and agreed upon, no more, no less. The directors of individual rotations also have difficulty maintaining the quality of teaching on their rotations if there are large fluctuations in the student numbers.

Since many services have only two or three students, even two students more or less is a large percentage of change. If we regularly send fewer students than agreed upon, DMEs tend to shift those clerkship slots to other schools; therefore, the flexibility on assigned clerkships is limited.

For the above reasons students are limited to the number of available slots in each rotation at listed hospitals or offices for their assigned clerkships. It is only for overwhelming and extraordinary circumstances beyond the students´┐Ż control that they will be allowed to perform their assigned clerkship at an institution not on the list for that clerkship and then only with the approval of the Director of Clinical Education.

For this academic year we have been able to provide more choices for each clerkship than there are students in the group. This allows more choices but will often result in one of the hospitals having open positions. The hospital may then offer these openings to students from PCOM or from other colleges as electives.

Therefore, in spite of these apparent openings, there may be little opportunity for change once a decision has been made. Students may switch clerkships to another open slot up to three (3) months before the start of the clerkship. If there are less than 3 months before the start of the clerkship, only one-for-one switches will be accepted. No clerkship switches will be accepted with less than one month's notice.