American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®

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Tips on how to get the most from your community-based experience

From the January 1996 ACP Observer, copyright © 1996 by the American College of Physicians.

Private physicians who teach residents offer some general advice to help get the most out of community rotation:

  • Bone up on history-taking and physical skills. These will be even more important in a private setting than at the hospital.
  • Be prepared to move into an observational role. Although it may be frustrating not to be the "front-line' physician, a private community experience allows you to see how another physician handles patients.
  • Be sensitive to private physicians' concerns. Many are under time pressures and may not be able to fully discuss each patient. Wait until an appropriate time to raise questions.
  • Recognize that some patients may want to see their own physician. Let the private physician determine your level of involvement.
  • Express your areas of interest. Work out an arrangement to tailor your experience. Private practice encompasses clinical, managerial and business duties, and you may want to focus on a particular area.

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