Redesigning the surgery clerkship at MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine to address the educational needs of generalists.

A K Sachdeva
P G Blair
G J Kelliher
A Brooks
A A Weiss
B A Schindler, Dept. of Psychiatry, Drexel University College of Medicine
B F Atkinson
J J Roslyn


This article describes how the surgery clerkship at MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine was redesigned to provide all students a well-rounded general professional education and to address the specific educational needs of generalists. During the 12-week clerkship, students spend eight weeks on two different general surgery rotations, which include significant experiences in outpatient settings. The evaluation and management of common general surgical problems, as well as the holistic approach to patient care, are emphasized. A nurse educator, recruited through funding obtained from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Generalist Physician Initiative, provides formal instruction in holistic care and teaches bedside procedures. Two weeks are devoted to focused surgical subspecialty experiences addressing common conditions and are conducted primarily in outpatient settings. The remaining two weeks include an integrated musculoskeletal disease rotation, including orthopaedic surgery, rheumatology, physiatry, and radiology. Didactic teaching includes criteria for referral of patients from generalists to specialists. The new clerkship model has been well received by the students. Review of student logs for the first six months indicates the breadth of surgical experience has been maintained and appropriate balance achieved between simple and complex surgical cases. Further evaluation of the model will continue through longitudinal follow-up.