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Excellence in Clinical Education

In the clinical phase of the curriculum, physician associate students care for patients in supervised settings. Our students participate as integral members of the interprofessional patient care team with Yale School of Medicine faculty and community providers serving as preceptors.

The clinical phase provides students with the experiences needed to become outstanding PAs. By caring for diverse patient populations who present with a wide range of medical and surgical conditions, students learn to promote health, diagnose disease, formulate management plans, educate and counsel patients, apply cost-effective strategies, incorporate evidence and social determinants of health into decision-making, and respect the beliefs and dignity of every patient.

Students complete 54 weeks of clinical experiences and earn a total of 60 credits. Two rotations blocks are protected for the thesis project.

Core Clerkships (40 credits)

The ten 4-week core clerkships are carefully designed to ensure students have the opportunity to care for patients across the lifespan and in all clinical settings. Students earn four credits on each of the following clerkships:

  • Internal Medicine I
  • Internal Medicine II
  • Primary Care I
  • Primary Care II
  • Emergency Medicine
  • General Surgery
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • OB/GYN
  • Geriatrics

Elective Clerkships (12 credits)

The Surgical Skills Laparoscopy lab, which the students attend prior to their General Surgery rotation.

The three 4-week elective clerkships allow students to individualize their experience and explore areas of interest. Students choose from a wide range of medical and surgical subspecialties that only an exceptional academic health center can offer. Students may select from already-established specialty rotations or work with the Program’s clinical team to develop specific areas of interest.

Students interested in international PA practice or global health may apply for a clinical experience abroad in places such as Argentina, Peru, Rwanda, Spain, or Uganda. Rural clinical experiences are also available within the United States.

Elective rotations are worth four credits each.

Flex Elective (2 credits)

The Flex Elective enables the student to further individualize their clinical experience. This is an elective two-week experience where students gain additional clinical practice in an area of career interest or further explore additional areas of interest in medicine, surgery, pediatrics, diagnostic imaging, or subspecialties. The Flex Elective typically takes place in the summer semester of the clinical year.

Practice Enhancement Course (2 credits)

Dr. Chen in the ED with students

The Practice Enhancement course is a longitudinal course that is threaded throughout the clinical phase. This course develops the professional knowledge, skills, and attitudes students need to become outstanding physician associates. Content is delivered before, during, and after the clinical phase. In this course, students earn additional valuable certifications such as Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT training). The course culminates with intensive preparation for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination, or PANCE.