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MD Program Foundations and Frontiers Clinical Experience

Early Clinical Exposure

At Drexel University College of Medicine, we think that early and sustained clinical experience gives students the confidence and comfort level to excel in their duties during the third and fourth years and beyond. College of Medicine students gain experience by working with virtual patients and working with standardized patients in our Barbara E. Chick, MD, '59 Clinical Education and Assessment Center (CEAC) and also in our Independence Blue Cross Medical Simulation Center. These opportunities begin in the first few weeks of medical school and continue through the fourth year.

Early clinical exposure enables College of Medicine students to:

  • Learn the time-honored skills of history taking and physical examination
  • Gain real-world communication skills
  • Achieve important milestones in professional formation

Opportunities to develop clinical reasoning, communication and physical exam skills

Drexel medical students working in a hospital.

Medical students practice clinical reasoning in teams in the Case Base Learning course that runs through Phase 1. Each week, a new clincal case is presented and students work through the identification of key signs, symptoms and interpreting a variety of laboratory tests to develop rational differential diagnoses. Each case exposes basic science and clinical science learning issues that are expanded upon in the appropriate courses later the same week. In the Foundations of Patient Care course, students learn the principles of good communication, interviewing and physical exam skills. They also reflect on how their own attitudes, values, and personal histories can affect how they listen to and understand patients.

Sessions allow medical students to learn a variety of interviewing techniques using role-play, standardized patients and real patients in the hospital wards. Students also make visits to geriatric living facilities, an emergency room, and to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

Additional Clinical Skills Opportunities

In addition to these opportunities, students at Drexel University College of Medicine use a number of on-line learning resources to gain clinical skills.

  • helps students to attain the competence to communicate their caring in "routine" exchanges, as well as the competence to respond flexibly and respectfully in challenging communication and relationship situations.
  • DxR Clinician
    DxR Clinician is a web based tool which allows students to question an on-line patient, conduct a simulated physical exam, and order lab tests while allowing the student to review the results of each decision before making additional diagnostic choices.

Academic Campuses

College of Medicine students participate in clinical rotations through a number of academic campuses, which include some of the leading hospitals in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. We have many clinical campuses to accommodate students who wish to work in large tertiary care hospitals and those who prefer small community hospitals.

We use an online educational scheduling system to assign locations for third-year (and some fourth-year) requirements. Our system allows students to enter their rotations in order of personal preference and then assigns clinical clerkships. The lottery system provides students with equal opportunities to achieve schedules close to those desired.

Students in the third year must complete their clerkships at the College of Medicine academic campuses. Students also complete the remaining fourth-year requirements at these sites. Students who are assigned to sites more than 45 miles outside of Philadelphia are provided with housing. A car is required for all clinical training experiences. Additional family practice sites throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey are used for family medicine rotations.

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The Foundations and Frontiers curriculum information presented is subject to revision.

Contact Information

Drexel University College of Medicine
Office of Admissions
60 N. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

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