The Clinical Skills Program of the UGME Program is designed to allow students to develop an integrated approach to the doctor-patient encounter. The Program has three components: first, verbal data-gathering, which includes communication skills and history-taking; a second component of physical examination skills; and a third component, data interpretation, which rounds out the doctor-patient encounter. This component includes the interpretation of verbal and physical findings from the patient as well as diagnostic tests.
In most MFs, each MF tutorial group works with a clinical skills preceptor in weekly sessions focused on the clinical skills appropriate to the topics being covered in the MF. From the first MF, students begin meeting patients. There are also sessions with Standardized Patients, which allow students to master basic skills before they begin to use these skills with real patients.
The Clinical Skills curriculum and the Professional Competencies curriculum are closely linked in teaching students the basic communication skills so vital to good clinical practice.
As students progress, more specialized clinical skills such as those relating to psychiatric interviewing and ophthalmology are taught using varied formats.