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Immersion Courses

Required Courses

Advanced Clinical Experiences

ACEs are rigorous clinical rotations designed to help students develop clinical and practice-based learning skills. ACEs help the student convert experience into deep learning in complex and unpredictable settings that demand adaptive, responsive learning.

Because these courses are graded, they have well-defined learning objectives, educational activities, and assessment based on competency milestones.

Common ACE Learning Objectives

By the conclusion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Perform situation-appropriate (problem-focused or complete) history and physical examinations, and interpret clinical information to formulate a prioritized differential diagnosis that guides the creation of a patient-specific management plan
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the science for the ACE course specialty
  • Exhibit clinical judgment that is safe and commensurate for the level of training
  • Model a commitment to continuous self-regulated learning as evidenced by the collection, analysis, interpretation, and implementation of newly acquired information
  • Display professional demeanor and duty while demonstrating compassion and respect for all persons, utilizing effective communication strategies (honesty and transparency) with patients, families, and healthcare colleagues, regardless of their cultural background
  • Function as an effective member of the patient care team

Acting Internships

The Acting Internship (AI) is an intensive, inpatient experience designed to provide the student with increased responsibilities for the assessment and management of patients. Students are integrated into the health care team and call schedule. During their AI, students assume ownership for the overall care of their assigned patients for the entire continuum of admission to discharge including transitions of care. In a closely supervised setting, the Acting Intern will experience the roles and responsibilities of an intern on the team.

The student will not participate in the longitudinal requirements (FHD) during this rotation, in order to focus their time on developing the important skills that will enable the student to transition to the intern role upon completion of medical school.

The AI will be expected to

  • Write daily notes, perform H&Ps, discharge summaries where appropriate.
  • Discuss and enter patient orders for a supervising physician to cosign.
  • Triage cross-cover concerns where appropriate.
  • Respond to calls (such as through paging) for patient care needs under the supervision of a physician.
  • Perform patient care handovers under the supervision of a resident where appropriate.
  • Assume ownership of a level of patient census closer to that of an intern. The student may start the 4-week rotation with approx. 2-3 patients and end the rotation with approx. 6-8. The AI should perform an independent assessment and formulate a workup and treatment plan for each patient.

Integrated Science Courses

The Integrated Science Courses (ISCs) are designed to reinforce the foundational sciences that underpin clinical medicine. The focus of foundational science learning is on conceptual models and theoretical foundations rather than factoids. “Foundational science” includes traditional pre-clinical sciences as well as social and behavioral sciences, health services and population science, quantitative methods and informatics.

Students will engage in meaningful clinical experiences that are related to the foundational science topics and allow for workplace learning. The clinical experiences are not purely observational but rather include active student involvement in patient care and assigned clinical tasks.

The courses strive to provide the students with progressive autonomy and flexibility in their learning.

Because these courses are graded, they have well-defined learning objectives, clear expectations understood by the students and team members, and assessment based on competency milestones.

Upon completion of an Integrated Science Course, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a deeper understanding of the foundational sciences involved with the clinical topics of the course
  • Integrate foundational science knowledge into clinical scenarios through the exploration of patient evaluation (symptoms, diagnostic studies, and underlying pathophysiology) and management plan development

Vanderbilt students, residents, and faculty can find out more about ISC assessment in the MD Gateway.

Optional Courses

Advanced Electives

Advanced Electives can be non-clinical or clinical in nature and are designed to expose students to a wide-range of topics and concepts in medicine distinct from traditional clinical rotations. Advanced Electives courses fulfill a “competency/interest-driven” requirement and are graded as pass/fail. Most are offered in 4-week rotations, although some are offered longitudinally, such as Students as Teachers and Med School 101. Current AEs offered in the curriculum are below.

Course No. Course Name Course Director(s)
IDIS 5935 AE: Career Exploration Amy Fleming
IDIS 7222 AE: Ethics in Health Care: Theological and Philosophical Perspectives Joseph Fanning and Keith Meador
PATH 5680 AE: Forensic Pathology Jim Atkinson (with Thomas Deering, medical examiner)
MED 7200 AE: Global Health Marie Martin
IDIS 5610 AE: Med School 101 Bill Cutrer and Amy Fleming
SURG 5930 AE: Prep for Surg Internship Roberta Muldoon
IDIS 5930 AE: Preparation for Internship Ban Allos
IDIS 5940 AE: Student Hotspotting Camellia Koleyni and Heather Davidson
MADM 5750 AE: Students as Teachers Kendra Parekh and Travis Crook
IDIS 5925 AE: Wikimed Jeremy Warner
IDIS 5645 AE: Leadership in Medicine: A Developmental Journey Bill Cutrer & Bonnie Miller

Special Studies

Special Studies are courses that are uniquely designed by the student in collaboration with Vanderbilt faculty, to allow for creation of a course that is not in our current catalog. Courses must be 4-week long experiences to receive credit. Special Study courses will fulfill a “competency/interest-driven” requirement and are graded as pass/fail. To create a special study course, please follow the directions in the MD Gateway.

Weekly Schedule Example

Immersion Weekly Schedule Example