New module establishes foundational skills

While many OUM students were skilled clinicians prior to enrolling, this is medical school. A different level of skill and focus is required. Period. The University is committed to assuring that every student possesses the requisite clinical skills when starting rotations. The new Clinical Skills Course is designed to assure that students have mastery in this critical area.

“Assembling an adequate clinical skills course has been a need for some time, in order to get all our students on the same playing field when they begin clinical rotations,”says Paula Diamante, MD, who will lead curriculum development for the new course. She also proposed the Clinical Skills Course to OUM’s Academic Board, which approved the resolution at its May meeting.

The eight-week module will provide foundational knowledge of clinical procedures and skills, especially in history taking and physical examination, preparing students to enter clerkships with basic skills which they will build upon throughout their clinical phase of study. Because of its intensity, the course may not be taken concurrently with any other module, and the tuition fee is $5,000, similar to that of a system-based module.

Course content will include regular lectures, interactive online sessions, videos, and live, on-site, in-person instruction. All assignments must be passed – quizzes count for one-third of the final grade (75 percent passing score required), and the final exam counts for two-thirds of the final grade (75 percent passing score required). The course’s final exam will be a “head to toe” physical examination performed by the student in the presence of an on-camera examiner and a complete patient history written by the student along with notes for differential diagnosis. The final grade is Pass/Fail.

The course will use Seidel’s Guide to Physical Examination 8th edition, which is included in Clinical Key, and Elsevier Sherpath, an educational platform to integrate content, assessment and simulations directly correlating with the textbook that provides a highly-focused learning path for students.

In mid-June, all students will receive a mini-survey asking them to indicate when they plan to take the Clinical Skills Course to ensure optimization of the schedule.

The live portion of the course may be completed in Australia during the regular weekend clinical skills courses that are organized by Dr. Meshach Kirubakaran, Dean for Australia, and in the USA at Jackson Park Hospital in Chicago.

The requirement for the Clinical Skills course may be waived for students making their first clinical rotation the 12-week Internal Medicine clerkship, taught by Dr. Viali Lameko in Samoa. Alternatives to taking the new course will be presented at the Clinical Skills Course Information Session, Friday, June 9/Saturday, 10 June:

 USA: Friday, June 9, 7:00 pm ET

  • Australia: Saturday, 10 June, 9:00 am, Sydney time
  • New Zealand: Saturday, 10 June, 11:00 am
  • Samoa: Saturday, 10 June, 12:00 noon.

Enrollment in a Clinical Skills Course has been required of all OUM students enrolling in Term 1601 and beyond. All US students enrolling in Term 1404 and beyond were required to take a Kaplan USMLE Step 2 CS prep course or an equivalent. This requirement has been noted in catalogues and curriculum charts and mentioned at new student orientation sessions for those entering classes. The new Clinical Skills Course will fulfill those requirements. For OUM students entering before those dates, the Clinical Skills Course is highly recommended.

The Clinical Skills Course described above was designed especially for current students. Future students enrolling in Term 1801 and beyond will take their Clinical Skills Course in a different manner: a “Day-One” clinical skills component offered in smaller increments, spanning the student’s entire pre-clinical curriculum from the first week they matriculate through completion of the system-based modules. The Day-One course will run concurrently with other OUM pre-clinical modules.