Internal medicine core clerkships experience with core problem lists: results from a national survey of clerkship directors in internal medicine

Gerald D Denton, Steven J Durning
Teaching and Learning in Medicine 2009, 21 (4): 281-3

BACKGROUND: The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) requires clinical clerkships in North American Medical Schools to define and monitor core problems and clinical conditions for medical students and adjust the clerkships to ensure that all students meet those objectives at all instructional sites. Clinical clerkships usually use medical student generated logbooks to meet these requirements. It is not clear what clinical clerkship directors are doing to meet these standards.

PURPOSE: To determine how internal medicine clerkship directors develop problem lists, whether and how they verify student problem list entry, and how missed core problems are covered.

METHODS: The Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine (CDIM) organization conducts an annual survey of its institutional members (one member per medical school). In 2007, 75% of North American medical schools (82 of 110) responded to the survey, which included questions on core problem lists and medical student logbooks.

RESULTS: Ninety-four percent of responding medical schools had a core problem list for the core internal medicine clerkship. Most schools used an electronic logbook and verified student exposure to core problems (76%). The clerkship director usually did the verification (63%). Clerkships offered a variety of options to remedy lack of exposure to core problems and usually offered more than one option.

CONCLUSIONS: Clerkship directors in internal medicine develop, verify, and ensure exposure to core problems in internal medicine. Most clerkship directors used the CDIM recommended core problem list as a basis for their local core problem list. Emerging computer-assisted learning options may simplify clerkship adjustments for lack of exposure to core problems. It appears that clerkship directors are using logbooks appropriately to meet the LCME charge to monitor core problems and clinical conditions.

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