Chair's Message – Longitudinal Clinical Experience

September marks the start of a new academic year and this year brings significant changes to our medical education curriculum. These changes are promising to create a better appreciation of generalism in our medical students. As part of the curriculum change, the Department of Family Medicine faces a need to provide a longitudinal clinical experience for medical students starting in the first year. This experience should occur in a generalist practice and family medicine fits the bill. Therefore we have embarked on an ambitious recruitment program seeking medical practices to welcome medical students as observers for the equivalent of 16 half days in the practice over the course of a year.

Students will start out observing and progress to having some interaction with patients in history taking. The focus is not so much on what they will learn about medicine but what they will learn about being a doctor. They will observe the professional relationship between doctors and patients and the trust that builds over time as this relationship is enhanced. They will learn patient-centred communication with patients as they observe this on a day to day basis in the practice.

This promises to be a satisfying experience for the doctor as well, as they build a relationship with a young student that may develop into a clinical preceptorship at a later date. It is not hard to accommodate this experience in your practice since there is not a rigorous evaluation required, and the time period is very flexible, and can be easily adapted to your schedule.

There is still a need for further practices to come on board. This is an ideal way to start your teaching career if you are new, and an ideal way to create a lasting impression on future physicians if you are more experienced.

Give us a call or an email today to be part of this ground-breaking curriculum change.

As always I welcome your feedback at or on Twitter @DOCSJW.