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Diving into Patient Care

Your second year consists of six core clerkships, each lasting between four to eight weeks. From surgery to psychiatry and everywhere in between, these intensive clinical experiences introduce you to the broad range of medical care and help you identify where your specialty interests might lie.


In the Surgery Clerkship, you will see a breadth of surgical problems, with exposure to general surgical issues and specialty surgical issues. Your experience will be based primarily in the inpatient setting, both on the wards and in the operating room, but you’ll also participate in outpatient care.


The Internal Medicine Clerkship serves the backbone of your training in medicine and the most intensive in-patient experience offered in the department. During this rotation, you will learn both the science and the art of medicine and how the two complement each other. Your history and physical diagnosis skills will expand, enabling you to prioritize patient problems and generate differential diagnoses.


In the Pediatrics Clerkship, you’ll participate in all phases of diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of illnesses of children and infants. You’ll spend two weeks on the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital inpatient pediatric wards, and another two weeks will introduce you to outpatient settings at other pediatric clinics, Meharry Hospital, or community sites around Nashville. The remaining two weeks are a unique combination of inpatient and outpatient settings, based on your individual schedule. Plus, you’ll learn from your residents and faculty through teaching rounds on the wards and nursery and through fellow students during morning report, held three times a week.


This six-week course exposes you to the wide discipline of obstetrics and gynecology— from high-risk obstetrics to genetics to gynecologic oncology. You’ll spend two weeks each with obstetrics, gynecology, and in the outpatient setting. Most students spend their entire six weeks at VUMC, but you can also choose to jump into two other community settings. During the clerkship, you’ll join a faculty seminar group that reviews written assignments, histories, and physicals and discusses patient cases each week.


In this four-week rotation, you’ll dive into both inpatient and outpatient experience of clinical neurology. You’ll have direct responsibility for evaluating and caring for patients under the supervision of house staff and faculty. It’s time to put into practice the theory you’ve learned about diseases of the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous systems and skeletal muscles.


In this 4-week clerkship, you’ll study the fundamental techniques of psychiatric assessment, differential diagnosis, and treatment intervention needed to serve in the psychiatry clinic. With direct patient care experience and clinical rounds with accomplished faculty at our University Hospital and Psychiatric Hospital, you’ll gain experience diagnosing and caring for children, adolescents, and adults in each of these specific contexts.

Schedule Example

Example Clerkship Schedule for Medicine, OB/GYN, Pediatrics or Surgery featuring color-coded courses on a weekly table with a similar schedule for Neuro & Psych below

In Year 2 (FCC), longitudinal elements have protected didactic time in each 8-week clerkship block. Some elements will have pre-work, and some will have post-work. These experiences are being integrated into the clerkships to present a unified, cohesive curriculum that spans the entire clerkship learning experience while still being directly applicable to the students’ current clerkship clinical duties.