The clinical skills program guides students as they acquire the skills they’ll need. These skills are learned by practice under the observation of a teacher who provides feedback. In the first two years, one afternoon a week is dedicated to sessions for skill building known as the Preclinical Clerkship. These sessions are complemented by weekly meetings with a clinical tutor to practice the skills on patients in the hospital and clinic.
Clinical skills are practiced on the wards as well as in special sessions that focus on such topics as behavior modification interviewing, breaking difficult news and end-of-life care. Yale also has a well established program of standardized patients recruited and trained by Dr. Frederick Haeseler, who are utilized in several of the workshops in which students practice communication skills.