University of Illinois

Clinical Sciences


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Family Medicine Core Clerkship
CLER 656:
Family Medicine Clerkship
Clerkship Director: Phillip Barnell, M.D. – (217) 383-3211
Students will be assigned with Family Medicine Department Faculty on an individual basis; assignments will be made on the first day of the clerkship.

Reporting Time:

8:00 a.m. – Carle Forum,
611 West Park Street, Urbana, IL 61801
Site: Various departmentally approved sites
Length: Six weeks
Dates: All blocks
Prerequisites: It is recommended that the student take the core clerkships in
internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, and surgery
prior to family medicine.
Methods of Evaluation: Day-by-day clinical performance of student; end-of-rotation examination; primary care behavior science performance
Students Per Rotation: One per site; multiple sites available; maximum Student’s Per six-week block: Four (exceptions are considered)
Night Call Required: Yes, as assigned by faculty preceptor
Weekends Required: Yes, as assigned by faculty preceptor

This is a six week required core clerkship in family medicine. The students will see and treat patients under the supervision of a family physician in both the in and out-patient settings, gaining knowledge and experience in meeting the primary care needs of patients of all ages.

It is the goal of our clerkship to produce students who:

  1. Are clinically excellent
  2. Continue their personal growth to physicianhood by meeting the COM competencies
  3. Meet and exceed expected parameters of national standards in family medicine
  4. Prepare students for required NBME exam
  5. Foster interest in family medicine
  6. Provide an experience that meets college-wide standards

The Family Medicine clerkship is a required primary care ambulatory rotation. The clerkship teaches the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to provide continuing, comprehensive, and preventive care to individuals and families who represent a broad spectrum of ages and cultures in the outpatient setting.

During the four-week clerkship, students will increase their ability to:

  1. Basic and Clinical Science Knowledge Base – The core topics which the student should become familiar with include:
    • Arthritis - podcast
    • Asthma/COPD - podcast
    • Back Pain - clerkship lecture
    • Cancer Screening - clerkship lecture
    • Chest Pain/ASCVD - podcast
    • Cultural Competence - clerkship lecture
    • Dementia - podcast
    • Depression/Anxiety - clerkship lecture
    • Diabetes - clerkship lecture
    • Domestic Violence - podcast
    • Dyspepsia - podcast
    • Fatigue - clerkship lecture
    • Frailty
    • Headache - podcast
    • Hypertension - clerkship lecture
    • Immunizations - clerkship lecture
    • Menopause - podcast
    • Menstrual Disorders
    • Nutrition/Obesity - podcast
    • Osteoporosis - podcast
    • Pain - podcast
    • Perinatal Care
    • Rural Care - podcast
    • Skin Problems - podcast
    • Smoking/tobacco abuse - podcast
    • Strains/Sprains - clerkship lecture
    • Stroke/Cerebrovascular Disease - podcast
    • URI - clerkship lecture
    • Vaginal/urinary symptoms – podcast
  2. Communications/Biopsychosocial – The student will record their patient encounters in written form, with review by their preceptor. Oral presentations of the patient encounters will also be given and evaluated by preceptors.
  3. Ethical Reasoning and Judgement – The student is to demonstrate advocacy for their patients, respect patient rights and privacy, and help empower patients in decision making as they confront ethical dilemmas in clinical care.
  4. Lifelong Learning – The student is to demonstrate and continue to refine their skills in knowledge acquisition in the clinical setting on a case by case basis, with review and feedback from their preceptor.
  5. Data Gathering/Problem Definition – The student is to demonstrate the ability to gather appropriate data, both from the patient as well as from other medical sources.
  6. Management and Clinical Decision Making – The student is to continue to develop the ability to generate appropriate treatment plans, and discuss the correct course for continuing patient evaluation.
  7. Health Maintenance/Disease Prevention – The student will continue to develop their data base in appropriate health screening examinations and testing. They will also demonstrate their skills in patient discussions of the risks and benefits encountered.
  8. Social and Community Context of Health Care – The student will learn and discuss the impact of the family and community on common primary care problems and be able to discuss an integrated approach to the clinical issues.
  9. Professional Behavior (Personal, Family, and Community) – The student is expected demonstrate professionalism in all aspects of the clerkship – from attire to punctuality, from sensitivity to privacy – all issues are to be handled in a respectful and professional manner.

Each student will be assigned a committed, enthusiastic faculty preceptor who provides the student a safe platform for individual patient encounters in a clinical practice setting. The preceptor will observe and provide feedback for all facets of the encounter (history, physical, treatment and documentation). Students participate in a series of clinical presentations/lectures on various subjects including hyperlipidemia, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, congestive heart failure, women's health issues, and behavioral medicine.


  1. Mid clerkship evaluation form will be completed on each student, giving them a chance to address areas of learning where improvement is needed.
  2. Patient encounter logs are kept by each student. The required numbers in each area of patient encounters must be met in order to achieve a passing grade.
  3. Students clinical performance is evaluated by faculty using the clerkship evaluation form. A proficient clinical grade must be obtained.
  4. Students must pass a national clerkship exam in family medicine.



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