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Foundations of Clinical Care (FCC)

Year 2

Progressing through the curriculum, the student will have graduated responsibilities. The Foundations of Clinical Care (FCC) provides education in multiple medical disciplines via clerkships in medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and neurology. There are elective opportunities as well.

VC3, a symptom-based framework of core clinical problems, is coupled with a portfolio system that automatically tracks individual student-patient encounters. These programs promote integration of learning across disciplines. A unifying longitudinal course (Diagnostics and Therapeutics) explicitly addresses the strengths and limitations of various diagnostic/therapeutic approaches and elucidates clinical reasoning; this will encourage informed, effective and efficient care.


Eduard E. Vasilevskis, M.D., M.P.H.

Eduard E. Vasilevskis, M.D., M.P.H.
FCC Phase Leader

  • Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Psychiatry / Neurology
  • Pediatrics / Electives
  • Obstetrics/Gynecology / Electives

FCC Clerkship Descriptions and Schedule Example

Master Clinical Teachers

During their training, students should learn to conduct a thorough and accurate history and physical examination, use their newly acquired medical knowledge to diagnose and initiate treatment of disease states, establish a professional and caring relationship with patients, work effectively within the medical system, and strive for continuous self-improvement.

We find that many aspects of these skills should and must be taught at the patient’s bedside. The Master Clinical Teachers program (MCT) focuses upon clinical teaching at the bedside, in-context, to help students learn faster and retain information longer than more traditional “didactic” lectures.

Longitudinal Elements of FCC Phase

Diagnostics and Therapeutics

The Diagnostics and Therapeutics (D&T) course helps students to prepare for the transition into the clerkship year by reviewing high-yield information from radiology, pharmacy, and the clinical laboratories applicable to routine patient care, expanding your understanding of how to effectively use clinical laboratory testing and radiological imaging to diagnose and care for patients, while optimizing patient safety and using resources wisely; and improving your skills in selection of tests and interpretation of test results, as well as your ability to manage situations when help is needed.

Foundations of Health Care Delivery 2: Clinical Systems of Care

FHD2: Clinical Systems of Care is a course designed to introduce students to the larger health care systems. Students will engage in didactics and experiential learning to develop a deeper understanding of the systems involved in practicing within a mesosystem and macrosystem. Students will learn about social determinants of health and community advocacy, experience a variety of settings of care, learn about safe transitions of care, and optimizing health care value. Through these experiences, students will address the following goals:

  1. Prepare professionals with systems-level skills necessary to provide care that is safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable.
  2. Integrate health systems sciences with clinical care.
  3. Cultivate respectful professionals.

Because students are in a variety of clinical settings to learn the systems of care, it is imperative that they come together to share their experiences. Through comparing and contrasting various settings of care, students gain a broader understanding of the complexity of the systems of care as well as gain insight into the breadth of patient experiences throughout the medical center. As such, students in both FHD1 and FHD2 meet intermittently in large group and small group settings to learn didactics, debrief from their previous experiences and receive feedback on their performance. Dedicated faculty small group facilitators (SGFs) help provide and facilitate learning during these sessions.

Students have the opportunity to apply for VPIL, a two-year course in which medical, nursing, pharmacy, and social work students work and learn together as a team in a clinical environment. Participation in VPIL allows medical students to fulfill a portion of their FHD requirements for graduation.

Student Research Inquiry Curriculum: DISCOVERY

The second course in the four-year Inquiry Program, Discovery highlights many research opportunities and resources at Vanderbilt. This course provides ample opportunities for students to meet with potential mentors as they determine which mentor and project best fit their career goals. During Discovery, students undertake the Pathway2PLAN, a series of five activities that lead to the identification of a mentor and project to be refined in the PLAN course.

During this phase of the curriculum, you may want to start thinking about the Medical Scholars Program, which is an excellent opportunity to gain valuable research experience. Medical Scholars select a project, mentor, and research site, and receive full funding to conduct a year out of uninterrupted biomedical research.

Learning Communities

The Learning Communities-FCC course seeks to maximize medical student learning related to student development as professionals. Helping students build an appropriate image of the medical profession and skill set related to functioning within the healthcare environment are the essential foundation for future success. Development as professionals involves knowledge, skills, and attitudes related to students’ practice as well as the environment within which the practice will occur. The longitudinal nature and trusting environment created within the College system fosters student professional development. The LC-FCC course serves to expand on many of the issues from the student’s prior experiences in the LC-FMK course, including the personal areas of reflection and ethics. The course will take advantage of the students working in the clinical/clerkship environment to emphasize the practicality and ability of the core topics. Students will directly apply ethical principles to cases they are seeing in their clerkships and will discuss experiences of moral distress that can occur when working and learning predominantly in the hospital rather than classroom environment. In sum, the LC-FCC course will provide the nurturing environs to maximize student development as professionals.

See what’s next in years three and four →