The Student's Role

Student team members are responsible for most aspects of patient care including the physical exam and eliciting the medical history, following up on labs, scheduling for consults or followup appointments, etc. These responsibilities are divided among the team members according to their level of medical education. For example, first year students take vital signs, assist in charting patient information, gather the patient’s history, and perform parts of the physical exam. The second year student has greater responsibilities. He/she does most of the physical exam, draws blood, gives injections, learns to take and read EKG's, and handles interpretation of lab results. Second year students are also responsible for presenting the case to the clinic attending. The third and fourth year students act as the team physician with the third year student having a primary role and the fourth year providing peer review and supervision.

You will have understood by now how to work as part of a medical team -- something that students in other schools don't normally get to do until the third year. You will also probably have seen some patients and can continue to follow them for the next few years in order to gain a better appreciation of the scope of Family Medicine. Participation will quickly enhance your interviewing techniques and physical examination skills so that by the time third year rolls around you will be well prepared to handle the new responsibilities of the clinical rotations. As the years pass by you will assume greater responsibility in your team at Clinic until eventually you are the team leader.