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5 Things to Consider Before Starting a Clinical Medicine Program


Nov 14, 2022

The clinical medicine program is integral to the four-year Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree program. The Doctor of Medicine is a post-graduate degree program that integrates the study of basic science and clinical medicine within the ten-term MD program. The first half (or the first five) semesters of the MD curriculum involve the study of basic science covering the basic structure and function of the human body. Whereas the clinical medicine program typically takes place in the second half (semesters six – ten) of the MD program. The clinical medicine program covers the exhaustive study of highly technical subjects while offering hands-on practical medical experience.

If you are a prospective medical student looking for a medical school with a high acceptance rate and quality education, Caribbean medical schools might be the right option. MD programs at Caribbean medical schools are well-designed to prepare medical students to become well-trained doctors by ensuring a holistic curriculum, integrating theoretical and practical aspects of medicine. Clinical medicine programs at island medical schools are typically the last phase of the MD degree program before earning the medical degree. As it is a part of the MD program, students must consider these five important things before starting a clinical medicine program. 

  1. Importance of developing clinical skills

A significant part of the clinical medicine program comprises clinical rotations. During clinical rotations, students are in direct contact with the patients under the supervision of a seasoned doctor. The students are encouraged to undertake diagnosis, direct observation, treatment, and management of patients in a hospital setting. As the basic sciences course precedes the clinical medicine program, students in the last semester of basic science undergo a foundation of clinical medicine, which can be a crucial module for students starting a clinical medicine program. Therefore, before starting a clinical medicine program, students must emphasize developing clinical skills they can practice and polish. 

  1. Hospital affiliation

The clinical medicine program undertakes the medical students clinical training during medical school, as it can play a substantial role during the residency match. Hospital affiliation is important to consider before starting a clinical medicine program. It is important to note that top-tier Caribbean medical schools have extensive relationships with ACGME-approved teaching hospitals across the U.S. and affiliated hospitals in Canada for students to complete their clinical rotation program. 

  1. USMLE Step 2 preparation

Step 2 of the United States Medical Licencing Examination (USMLE) covers clinical knowledge and clinical skills. During the core clinical rotations, students consolidate medical knowledge to help them score high in USMLE Step 2. Caribbean medical schools encourage students to prepare for USMLE Step 2 examination during the clinical medicine program, as it is important to secure preferred residency placement and acquire a medical license. Moreover, passing USMLE Step 2 is also a requirement for graduating from medical school.

  1. Clinical rotations

A clinical medicine program includes active clinical experience in the form of an 8 week research module, 42 weeks of compulsory clinical rotations, and elective clinical rotations spread across 30 weeks. It is important to look for medical specialties that the core and elective clinical rotations will cover during the clinical medicine program. 

  1. Residency training program 

Clinical medicine is the final phase of the four-year MD program for students, after earning the MD degree and joining a residency program. Therefore, it is important to consider if the fourth-year rotations primarily comprise the elective clinical rotation. During elective clinical rotations, students can choose from various medical specialties based on their projected career aspirations. 

Considering these five things before starting a clinical medicine program can ensure that you make the most of the hands-on training program that can shape your career as a doctor.

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