In their second semester, CWRU PA students begin pre-clinical clerkships (PCC). Students are placed in clinical sites in the community where they practice their clinical skills, acclimate to the clinical environment and build confidence in approaching patients. It also serves as an early critical-thinking activity.
The focus of the pre-clinical clerkship experience is to refine the student’s basic clinical skills of eliciting a medical history, performing a physical exam, making an oral presentation and medical documentation. There is also a strong emphasis placed on communication skills and professionalism.
In addition to medical knowledge and clinical skills, students must be able to demonstrate other critical interpersonal and intellectual outcomes essential to the life and practice of a responsible PA. Students acquire these essential learning outcomes through purposeful integration of the program’s curricular requirements including experiences like pre-clinical clerkships.
Pre-clinical clerkships help students develop emotional intelligence. They learn to work effectively with other healthcare professionals to understand and manage interactions. In doing so, they develop an awareness of the role that personal biases play in the patient-provider relationship.
As students hone their interpersonal and communication skills, they develop an awareness of the need to interact in an open, intellectually honest and empathetic fashion with those persons seeking care and guidance. They develop an awareness of the importance and privileged nature of the patient-provider relationship.
Pre-clinical clerkships also provide students with professional development skills including time management and effective self-study skills as well as an enhanced diligence and enthusiasm for learning along with critical curiosity and initiative.