Orienting the Student to your Office

A very important benefit of placing students in a community practice for their Family Medicine Clerkship is to expose them to life as a physician outside of an academic medical center. This experience provides students with a wonderful opportunity to learn about other aspects of practice beyond just the clinical realm, including practice management issues and relationships with your community and its agencies.

What are the main things you want your student to learn from his/her experience in your practice? When considering your list, take into account the particular strengths of your practice, how it functions, and its location.

Once you have finished, save this to your notebook so you can access it later.

Without a clear orientation process, it can take as long as two weeks for students to figure out how to function in an outpatient setting.(Kurth, Irigoyen, & Schmidt, 1997). Taking time at the outset to discuss areas, such as setting priorities for patient visits and documenting and presenting cases, will pay off in increased efficiency throughout the rest of the rotation.

Some preceptors use a checklist to remind them of the topics to cover during student orientation, including student issues related to your practice, community, the Clerkship, the student's expectations, and your expectations.

If you take students into your office on a regular basis, you can ultimately save time by writing out your policies, procedures, and expectations, and then answer questions after the student has reviewed the handout. Here is an example (plain text version) from one of our preceptor sites. Your information may be quite different, depending on your practice.

Module 1: Taking a Student into your Office