The transition from pre-clinical years to clinical rotations involves a dramatic change in not only environment, but in the process whereby the student learns. Although the clinical environment is anticipated, the student/learner can find the new setting and experience confusing, either because of lack of prior knowledge or because each rotation has different characteristics. Remember, the student will likely be experiencing different settings with regularity.

Because of this, orientation should take place on the first day of the rotation. If possible, the preceptor should provide the student/learner with detailed information regarding the specific clinical setting. The student could be provided a handbook containing the following:

  1. Information about the rotation, including the clinic's address, parking information, nearby public transit, as well as contact information for both the office and the preceptor
  2. The anticipated hours/schedule for the student
  3. Explanation of HIPAA or patient privacy policy

Additionally, the student would be provided a tour of the office/clinic on the first day, including an explanation of the team and individual roles, as well as the student’s role within the team. Include the location of each station, a personal introduction to various team members, and a demonstration of the medical record system. Finally, the student should be given the framework that establishes the expectations of the student/learner.

Quick Tips

  • Provide a written document summarizing the rotation information, including address, location details, parking, public transit, and the preceptor’s contact information
  • Specify the expected rotation hours for the student/learner
  • Give the student a tour of the facility
  • Orient the student to the patient schedule/flow
  • Explain the patient chart system, as well as how to access it
  • Set expectations of the student’s role in patient care or with the team, as well as learning goals
  • Ensure the student understands patient privacy policy/HIPAA

Author: Parvathi Perumareddi, DO