Apprenticeship puts concepts in practice
Alumna Dr. Irina Konon serves as preceptor for second-year medical student David Schauder in the Clinical Apprenticeship portion of the medical school’s Discovery Curriculum. David, who has a strong interest in research, is enrolled in the Medical Scientist Training
Program, from which graduates earn both an MD and PhD.
Throughout its history, the Medical College of Wisconsin has educated and trained physicians to meet the health needs of our community and state. The new Clinical Apprenticeship in MCW’s Discovery Curriculum is providing earlier and expanded clinical education for the next generation of physicians.
In the Medical College of Wisconsin’s (MCW) Discovery Curriculum, faculty and community physicians help teach the next generation of doctors through early clinical experiences, adding to a legacy in medical education built on 120 years of history.
The new Clinical Apprenticeship provides first- and second-year medical students with weekly
opportunities to interact with patients in the supervised setting of a campus or community clinic. Basic clinical skills training in their first term of medical school prepares students for the experience. Beginning in their second term, students spend a half day per week in the clinic for a year.
Each student is assigned a specific faculty preceptor who advises, observes and evaluates them as they perform core patient care activities and demonstrate essential skills. The one-to-one nature of the student-preceptor relationship allows for more effective mentoring through goal setting, preparation for clinic visits and review of patient encounters. Faculty physician Irina Konon, MD, graduated from MCW in 2002 and completed her internal medicine residency and rheumatology fellowship here as well. She practices in the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin rheumatology clinic and serves as preceptor for second-year medical student David Schauder.
“I think the most valuable part of the Clinical Apprenticeship is getting comfortable interacting with a lot of patients,” said David, a Dearborn, Mich., native and graduate of University of Michigan. “Before medical school, most people shadow a physician or have a volunteer experience seeing doctors interact with patients, but this is the first time where you are involved in the basics of actually being a doctor.”
Students gain experience and confidence by taking patients’ medical histories, conducting physical exams, presenting patients to their preceptor, coordinating follow-up visits, participating in patient education and consulting with families. Because the apprenticeship comprises a full year, students may build rapport with patients and encounter a wide range of situations along the continuum of care. The early clinical exposure prepares students for their third-year clerkships, when they rotate through clinics of all specialties as part of their education.
As an alumna, Dr. Konon finds contributing to MCW’s legacy of training excellent physicians especially rewarding. “I love the teaching aspect of what I do,” she said. “As a physician, you are always educating – patients, nurses, your clinic team – but it’s particularly rewarding to teach medical students and now students early in their careers to help them with a smooth transition into the clinical world and rotations. I’ve been taught by faculty at MCW throughout my medical training and feel it’s time to give back to this school as we, as clinicians, are able.”
Dr. Konon is Assistant Professor of Medicine (Rheumatology).