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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