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School of Medicine

Practice of Clinical Medicine

Small Groups

The PCM small group introduces core clinical skills. The basic components of the history and physical exam are taught in lecture. In small group, the leader allows the student to practice these new skills in a safe environment with immediate feedback. The student in the following week will be able to practice these skills on a standardized patient which facilitates practice in interviewing and physical examination skills.

Small groups consists of ten students, a faculty leader, and a fourth-year medical student co-leader. Working together over the year, group members develop the teamwork skills that are essential in practicing medicine. Fourth year students bring the perspective of their clerkship experience to the group and serve as role models and coaches. Many develop a lasting enthusiasm for teaching; some of the current PCM physician faculty were once fourth-year student co-leaders. The group leaders share the broad repertoire of clinical skills used in their clinical work. The students are introduced to differential diagnosis and clinical reasoning. The small group leader will give students feedback on encounter notes that they will write after standardized patient encounters.