The third year of MUSM is a “clerkship” year. The class is divided into groups for education in the six major clinical disciplines.
The Surgical Clerkship is an eight-week program in two clinical campuses, Macon and Savannah. The two programs are quite separate, but are identical in content.
The objective of the clerkship is to provide a broad clinical exposure in a variety of clinical arenas to teach the clinical surgical clerks the principles of surgical disease its recognition and plans of management. The clinical settings include classroom activities, outpatient clinical patient exposure, the operating room, the recovery room, the intensive care unit and finally, the wards. It is hoped that the surgical clerks will learn about the recognition of disease that a primary care physician would learn to recognize, so that the appropriate surgical consultation may be made.
The organization of the clerkship provides outpatient and inpatient exposure, intra-operative experience, post-operative care, and pre operative diagnostic algorhythms surgical decision making.
There are didactic, interactive discussions provided by general surgeons as well as some of the surgical specialists, such as, neurosurgery, orthopedics, and neurology. Interwoven in the clerkship on a daily basis there are “case scenario” discussions provided by the clerkship director to review 500 plus clinical scenarios in the multiple-choice format to prepare the students for the shelf test provided by the National Board of Medical Examiners. The clinical clerks are expected to keep a patient encounter logs which are to be turned in on a weekly basis, and this will include clinical skills that they performed, history and physicals, progress notes on rounds, etc. The clerks are expected to be an integral part of the surgical team to which they have been assigned. A limited night call experience is expected 8-9 times in a two-month period.
The clerks must attend all post-graduate conferences and attend all didactic sessions that are provided for them, which number approximately 25. The didactic sessions are taught not only by attending surgeons, but also by approximately 75% of the resident staff from the Department of Surgery. The clerks are expected to be professional, compassionate, and altruistic, with an appropriate attitude, all of which are carefully observed. A carefully planned evaluation system is provided to each student at the half way point in the clerkship, and also at the completion of the clerkship. The evaluation is with NBME cognitive exams, departmental exams as well as oral examinations which are mainly subjective. However, the exams are done to simulate the American Board of Surgical oral exam exercises. A subjective clinical evaluation by the resident and the attending staff is also provided. Each clinical clerk is allowed to pick four of his attending or resident staff of their choice, preferably by the people with him that they have had the most clinical experience.
The evaluation criteria expectations and grading grid are all provided at the clerkship orientation and are carefully explained in great detail.