The Typical Clinic Experience

The Student Family Health Care Clinic is a free clinic that is also a learning experience for students. Patients generally arrive at 5:45 on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. They first meet with a team of about 5 students. The team is a group of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year students. Because we are still learning, we like to be thorough so that nothing is missed. This means asking a lot of questions and doing a complete physical exam. Some things may be done a couple of times to make sure it’s correct. 1st and 2nd year students will take the lead on asking questions and performing the physical exam while the 3rd and 4th years guide them. They may also take time to explain what they are thinking to the 1st and 2nd year students while the team is still in the room.

The teams then meet with an attending physician and report what they have found to formulate a plan. Afterwards, the patient meets with the team and doctor to discuss the plan and for the doctor to confirm the students' findings. There may be a few more questions and a quick physical exam before the plan is discussed with the patient, which can include medications or additional tests. Every patient gets counseling and education concerning their medical problems.

On many nights there will be more students then patient slots available.  On those nights, students will be divided up and recieve teaching sessions led by 3rd and 4th years on topics relevant to their Clinic experience.  These include topics such as blood draws, suturing, taking a history, performing parts of the physical exam, interpreting labs, and other important clinical skills.