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3rd Year Communication Skills Curriculum

Internal Medicine
Ambulatory Care

At NYU, developing curriculum for the 3rd year meant that we had to work directly with the individual clinical departments involved in the 3rd year to develop activities within each clerkship which addressed the "discipline specific" communication skills students needed to master in a manner consistent with that department's faculty, educational philosophy, and certification needs. A dynamic and collaborative process ensued which involved many faculty from a broad array of clinical disciplines and educational perspectives. What has resulted is a rich set of activities which teach essential communication skills while reinforcing core clinical material. Click on each clerkship in the table to the right to view an overview of the curriculum during that clerkship.

This curriculum is substantial. In reviewing this material we hope you will appreciate the depth and breadth of the experiences students will be having over the course of the seven required clerkships which make up the 3rd year at NYU. These clerkships are Medicine, Ambulatory Care, Neurology, Pediatrics, Surgery, Psychiatry and Obstetrics/ Gynecology. On June 19, 2000, the class of 2002 started their 3rd year clerkships with the new, enhanced Communication Skills Curriculum.

The following guiding principles characterize the Clerkship Communications Skills Curriculum activities:

  • They are fully integrated into clinical content of the clerkship, students will get a clear message that communicating effectively is a core clinical skill not an add-on of secondary importance.
  • They address communication skills in a comprehensive manner emphasizing knowledge, skills, and attitudes simultaneously.
  • They reinforce material throughout the 3rd year, students will experience a number of cycles of learning new material, practicing new skills, receiving feedback, and having time for reflection, and reinforcing basic concepts.
  • They use experiential teaching techniques, provide "hands-on" active practice in small groups using either real or simulated patients, or role-play and involve personalized feedback based on direct observation. These are the methods proven most effective in the teaching and learning of communication skills.
  • Housestaff are faculty who are treated as important role models and trained accordingly. Any effective curriculum in the clerkship years cannot ignore the influence on students of the housestaff, the major "vectors" of the hidden curriculum. We have designed and partially implemented faculty development strategies aimed at providing housestaff basic teaching skills and enhancing their self-concept as influential role models.

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