Welcome to the Neurology Clerkship
We are pleased to greet you and introduce you to the third year clinical experience!
There are several aspects of the Clerkship that I typically highlight in orientation. These warrant special emphasis and I want to draw your attention to them.
- Clinical learning is based in experience and takes place in the setting of a team. I encourage you to be an active member of the team, seek patient care experiences, and use time away from patients productively to read about their conditions. This is a necessary step in mastering the knowledge base of Neurology. Most of your factual learning will need to be self-directed and self-motivated, rather than delivered to you in lecture format.
- Getting your attending neurologists to know you and your name is
very important. All of us are busy with documentation
requirements on patients and a myriad of professional responsibilities
away from the wards and clinics. It is therefore easy for the quiet or
passive student who hangs in the background to get lost in hustle and
bustle of rounds.
- Be active in discussions. Ask questions. Demonstrate an interest in learning. It's a simple fact: the better your attending knows you, the better your evaluation will be.
- Most attendings focus primarily on the quality of your oral presentations as an index of your performance. Be concise. Be accurate. Practice them with your teammates or friends. Review what's important to present with your residents ahead of time. Work toward using your notes only for quantitative data. If you read your presentation off your papers, our eyes will tend to glaze over and your skills will be lost in the background noise.
- The clerkship is very short. With
less than four calendar weeks from orientation to the NBME Subject
(shelf) exam, there is no way for us to teach all of you all the
neurology covered on that exam just through clinical experiences.
A number of your predecessors have stumbled on the exam because they
didn't spend enough time preparing.
- You must read textbook-type resources consistently over the four weeks.
- In addition to reading, doing as many practice questions as possible is your best tool for passing the shelf exam. Practicing with the questions (e.g. from PreTest or other similar sources) is most valuable if you do additional reading (beyond the test book paragraph) on every question you miss.
The core philosophy of this clerkship is that people learn best when they actively participate in their own learning, not when things are spoon-fed to them. We consider it your job to learn while you are with us, and take a responsible and professional approach to the experience.
We will teach you, spend time with you, encourage you, give you resources and experiences, and frame a structure and context within which your learning can grow. Ultimately, though, you are the single most important engine driving the type and amount of learning you get from this clerkship. We expect you to take that responsibility seriously and "go after" learning experiences.
We try to balance patient care assignments. Since we must use multiple services and sites, and the patient mix within a service can change unpredictably, clinical experiences may vary. Our expectation is that you will use whatever clinical experiences you happen to have as a starting point for learning. We supplement clinical experiences with conferences, exercises, and other activities that are relatively standardized across all students throughout the year. In this way, we help each of you build the same explicit "skeleton" of core knowledge and skills in neurology. Beyond these issues, the purpose of your clinical activity is to put those tools into action, and in an individualized way put "meat" on that skeleton.
I hope this information proves useful for you and helps you make the most of the experiences with us. Please don't hesitate to contact me for any questions. E-mail is the preferred means for communication for all clerkship matters.