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Clinical Training

Students learn clinical skills in a wide variety of clinical environments.  First, students learn basic communication skills with their Small Groups.  Students take histories and conduct physical examinations on trained standardized patients in one of 16 clinical exam rooms; during this initial process, students are carefully observed and tutored by practicing physicians.  Video cameras record on-going efforts and enable critical learning and valuable faculty feedback to students as they work to progressively improve their skills throughout the four years of medical education.   

Within the first few months of the first year of Foundations, students are ready to begin seeing patients in a longitudinal Outpatient Experience (OPEX).  This 12-month required experience allows students to develop a relationship with a clinical preceptor, a multidisciplinary clinical team, and with a variety of patients.  

An unprecedented number of patient simulators are located in the School of Medicine’s Center for Experiential Learning.  These enable students to acquire and hone technical skills such as suturing, resuscitation, endotracheal intubation, basic life support, IV placement, and delivering a baby.  The Center is also used to simulate patient care in nearly any clinical setting, giving students an opportunity to virtually experience real-life situations such as team resuscitation, emergency obstetric care, and even large-scale disasters.  Team-training exercises are incorporated throughout the curriculum as a way for medical students to learn to work together with each other and with other members of the healthcare team, such as nurses, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists, and respiratory therapists.  Team management skills will be increasingly important in real-world delivery of healthcare in the U.S. and elsewhere.  

With over 3,000 patient beds in more than half a dozen hospitals, Emory medical students serve many different patient populations in many different settings.  Our students learn not only clinical exam methods and cutting-edge science, but also seek to understand the socio-cultural complexities and influences that affect the health of the individual.