FM 612 Family Medicine Elective - Inpatient Clerkship


FM 612 Family Medicine Elective – Inpatient Clerkship

This four week clerkship introduces students to the role of the family physician in caring for hospitalized patients. While most of the work-load and many of the distinctive skills of the family physicians are centered in the office practice, some of the patients seen in the office must from time to time be admitted to the hospital. For the hospitalized patients, the family physician remains the primary physician. Compared to patients seen in the office, however, a greater proportion of the problems of hospitalized patients require consultations with and referrals to other specialists. Management of the care of the hospitalized patient, and especially of the relationships among physicians and other health care providers in the hospital, is the major focus of attention in this clerkship.


The inpatient clerkship is taken on a family medicine service associated with a family medicine residency.


For purposes of supervision, the student should be assigned to a family medicine resident, preferably a second year resident, who is taking a rotation on the family medicine service which coincides in time with the interval of the clerkship. Under the supervision of the assigned preceptor, the student should consult with and assist other residents and practicing physicians who admit to the family medicine service.

Student Status 

The medical student should be sufficiently advanced (generally in his/her fourth year) so as to be able to obtain intern equivalent status on the family medicine service. This status will allow the student to write orders for patients on the service.


Under the supervision of the resident preceptor, the medical student should be assigned some patients from the service to work up and follow through the course of their hospitalization. The student should assist in or do work ups of other patients, as requested by the physicians admitting to the service and the residents on the service. The student’s overall patient load should be monitored and managed by the assigned preceptor. In instances in which disagreements among specialists arise, as mentioned above, the medical student should not be expected to take the active role of intervening to determine the best course of care for the patient: such tasks would best be performed by the resident or attending physician responsible for the admission. To the extent feasible, though, the student should be kept appraised of how the responsible family physician is handling the case.


Completion of FM 608, is a prerequisite to this clerkship. Prior completion of most of the required clerkships, especially the medicine clerkship, is highly recommended. Before signing up for the clerkship, the student should contact the director of the family medicine residency in which the clerkship will be conducted, to assure that in the opinion of the residency director, the student is sufficiently advanced to obtain intern equivalent status.

Intended Audience 

Fourth year students in medical school.

Instructional Methods 

Discussion of patients with the assigned resident preceptor is the major instructional technique in this clerkship. Additionally, the student is encouraged to read about the range of patient problems which are noted.

Methods of Evaluation 

Pass/fail. Based on the recommendations of the precepting resident, the residency director, and attending physicians who have worked closely with the student on the family medicine service. These evaluations will be reviewed as appropriate by the community family medicine director and by the Associate Chair for Academic Affairs in the Department of Family Medicine.

When Offered 

Fall, winter, spring, and summer depending on the availability of openings for this clerkship in family medicine residencies.

Credits and Duration 

Six credits are awarded for completing this clerkship as a four week elective.