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School of Medicine

VCU School of Medicine

Welcome to VCU School of Medicine

Practice of Clinical Medicine

Welcome to Practice of Clinical Medicine

What do students say about PCM?

View these student interviews in our video gallery to learn about their experience with Foundations of Clinical Medicine.



The Practice of Clinical Medicine (PCM) course is an eighteen month, hands-on, practical experience for MS-1 and MS-2 medical students. In PCM, students develop basic clinical skills, including:

  • professionalism
  • medical interviewing
  • physical examination
  • clinical reasoning

The PCM course involves 400 students in weekly small-group, workshop, and individualized preceptorship sessions. The eighteen month PCM experience requires the coordination of many dedicated faculty:

  • 50 small-group leaders,
  • 70 fourth-year student co-leaders, and
  • over 200 practicing physicians.

The curriculum was designed by generalists, in consultation with a number of basic science and subspecialty faculty, to cover the core skills of doctoring. PCM prepares preclinical students for the demands of the third-year clerkships.

The benefits of the PCM program extend beyond the preclinical curriculum. Fourth-year student co-leaders reinforce their own clinical skills and develop teaching skills in preparation for residencies. Physicians share their expertise with enthusiasm and dedication. Patients and office staff welcome PCM students in clinical practices in Richmond and throughout the region. Internal Medicine, Family Medicine and Pediatric faculties have grown from the close collaboration.


In addition to traditional studies, the MS-1 and MS-2 years of medical school include PCM small-group and preceptorship experiences. Students meet in small groups on campus, participate in office-based preceptorships, and receive valuable feedback through direct observation as well as written assignments, tests, and quizzes. Click on each of the links below for more information: