Practice of Clinical Medicine
Throughout the first 18 months of medical school, students participate in the Practice of Clinical Medicine (PCM) course, which teaches basic clinical skills such as professionalism, medical interviewing, physical diagnosis and clinical reasoning. Thanks to our alumni and community physicians, PCM gives preclinical students the opportunity to interact with patients, putting newly gained knowledge into practical use in clinical settings.
Designed to correlate with the basic science coursework, PCM consists of hands-on learning in small groups, simulated patient workshops and a community preceptorship.
Small groups of six to eight students, co-led by a faculty member and a fourth-year student, meet once or twice each month to learn and practice clinical skills in a safe environment with immediate feedback. On weeks opposite small group meetings, students perform an interview and physical exam on a standardized patient who will provide feedback, enhancing the students’ development of clinical skills.
Fourth-year students bring the perspective of their clerkship experience to the group, serving as role models and coaches. Group leaders share their broad repertoire of experiences and skills gained in their clinical work and provide detailed feedback after standardized patient and preceptor encounters. Throughout the course, students collaborate with all small group members, developing teamwork skills that are essential in practicing medicine.
The PCM course pairs each second-year medical student with a preceptor at VCU or in the community. Students attend multiple sessions throughout the semester, totaling 24 hours with their preceptor. The PCM course has roughly 200 preceptors, many of which are VCU SOM or VCU Residency alumni. During the M2 year, students meet with their preceptors to observe and practice professionalism, medical interviewing, and physical examination. The geographic and cultural diversity in the City of Richmond and surrounding areas enables PCM to offer preceptorship experiences in urban, suburban, and rural practices that serve diverse patient populations.
Students are randomly assigned to preceptorships. Preceptor sites are within a 45-mile radius of the MCV Campus. Students are required to make provisions for their transportation.
PCM uses a multifaceted evaluation process to assess progress in professional attitudes and demeanor, interviewing and physical diagnosis skills, and clinical reasoning. Evaluation method include:
- Observed structured clinical examinations
- Small group leader and preceptor evaluations
- Evaluation of medical documentation
- Learning assessments
- Peer evaluations
- Professionalism evaluations
Kimberly A. Pedram, M.D.
Alice Wong, M.D.
Judy Gary, M.Ed.
PCM Family Medicine Liaison
Mary Lee Magee, M.S.
PCM Family Medicine Liaison