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Guide to the Clinical Years


Welcome to the clinical years of your medical education. Please note that there is a lot of information in this section of the AOA site. Please explore the links to the right of this page. This is it – you can no longer sleep through days of learning with a “sore throat” or conveniently take three-day weekends. In 1824, at the time when Jefferson Medical College was founded, it was a radical idea to teach medicine at the bedside. When Abraham Flexner reported on the sad state of medical education at the turn of the century, he recommended the system which is used at Jefferson today: two years of basic sciences, traditionally taught in lecture format, and two years of clinical sciences, which were taught "at the bedside."

Most Jefferson students agree that the clinical years are more rewarding than the basic science years. Students are finally able to care for patients – one of the key reasons many of us entered the medical profession. Through direct interaction with patients as well as participation in the delivery of care, students are challenged to apply and expand the knowledge learned in the first two years. You will work hard during the third year. However, the rewards of learning through patient care will provide ample compensation. As third year students, you will help diagnose and treat many of the diseases that you were only able to experience through the textbooks. You may find the learning curve during the third and fourth years to be quite steep.

Do not worry about the location or timing of your rotations; you will have an excellent experience anywhere you go depending on your efforts to learn and participate during the clerkship. This may sound clichéd but the education you receive is directly proportional to the effort you put forth. Jefferson has a strong reputation for clinical excellence, and it is expected that your education will be both broad and in-depth during these last two years of medical College.

You have dedicated several years to finally be able to wear the white coat and to work with patients and their families. Enjoy it as much as possible! Remember that you are now an integral part of the treatment team – take ownership over your patients. Third and fourth year can be two of the greatest educational years in your life.

If you should have any questions regarding your clinical rotations, please do not hesitate to contact the members of AOA. We are here to help facilitate your transition to the best of our abilities.

Best of Luck!