Medical students are expected to learn a large amount of information before they embark on their careers. Going through medical school, the third year is very important as that is the time students go through multiple rotations among the various hospital departments. This gives them a deeper understanding of each discipline and aid them in choosing or solidifying the specialty they want to pursue. However, some feel that this type of experience actually does a disservice to the students because of the limited time they get to spend with patients. Some schools are trying to change that through the use of integrated clerkships.
The idea behind integrated clerkships is to give students the ability to follow patients long-term. They can work within a specific community or with a specific patient group in order to chart their progress over time. This gives students the ability to develop deeper relationships with their patients and see the effect of treatment through weeks or months. It also helps patients maintain a level of empathy that is often lost during the quick rotations of traditional third year training.
Will these changes come into effect for more medical schools across the country? Depending on the success in the schools that are currently using the approach, it's possible that integrated clerkships might become more common. On the surface, it looks like a good change. Allowing students to practice their bedside manner and empathy skills, giving them the ability to see patients as people rather than their disease, will serve them well in their future careers.