The Department of Family Medicine offers West Virginia University students between their first and second year of medical school the opportunity to participate in a summer externship program. This program offers a 4 week clinical experience in a private physician's office, a group practice and/or hospital setting. The Externship provides students with a balance of patient care exposure, physical diagnosis skills, and research skills. The program uses lectures, small group discussion, patient examination, and interviews to meets its educational objectives. Students receive a three-day intensive orientation in these areas and then spend the remainder of their rotation working with practitioners. They are paid a weekly stipend of $300 and some qualify for mileage. Student activities while working at their rotation site with their preceptor should include various duties:
- Observe/assist with physical diagnosis of patients, including interviewing, physical examination, etc. Students will be expected to participate in such activities and then review the same with a preceptor.
- Accompany physicians on hospital rounds, view x-rays, review lab work, etc., home health visits, scheduling a half-day or day with different services in the hospital (where available)
- The students are assigned a research project.
- If in an RHEP Consortium, students are expected to attend the Interdisciplinary Sessions.
The first several days will include "shadowing" or observing and assisting much like a volunteer (taking vitals, patient transport, etc.); then as the student gains confidence they will advance to a hands-on roll at the discretion of the preceptor. The suggested weekly format will include 6 to 7 half days of patient care or general clinic or hospital duties (of which 4 to 5 half days will be with the primary preceptor); 1 half day working on a research project or community project and1 half day of IDS sessions; and 1 half day off.
Following the summer experience, a wrap-up dinner will be held, allowing the students the opportunity to share their experiences and make recommendations for future years.