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Excellence in Clinical Education

In the clinical phase of the curriculum, physician associate students care for patients in supervised clinical 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 experiences that allow them to hone their history taking, physical examination, diagnostic, oral and written communication skills. In caring for diverse patient populations who present with a wide range of medical and surgical conditions, students diagnose disease, formulate management plans, educate and counsel patients to promote health, 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 52 weeks of clinical experiences and earn a total of 60 credits during the clinical phase of the program. Two rotation blocks are protected for the thesis project.

Core Clerkships (36 credits)

The nine 4-week core clerkships are carefully designed to ensure students have ample 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
  • Women’s Health

Elective Clerkships (16 credits)

The four 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 throughout the Yale New Haven Health System and in other clinical training sites across the country that are vetted by clinical faculty at the PA program. Students may select from already-established specialty rotations or work with the Program’s clinical team to develop specific areas of interest.

Elective rotations are worth four credits each.

Practice Enhancement Course (4 credits)

The Practice Enhancement course is a longitudinal course that continues the development of the professional knowledge, skills, and attitudes students need to become outstanding physician associates. Content also includes hands-on technical skill training and simulative experiences that are delivered during the clinical phase over multiple intensive periods. In this course, students earn additional valuable certifications such as Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT training) for providing care to patients with opioid use disorder. The course also includes preparation for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination, or PANCE, through multiple modalities.