Students at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson participate in professional learning communities known as Societies. Within the Societies Program, small groups of students work with each other and a faculty mentor to:
- learn interviewing, physical examination, and patient care skills at the patient beside;
- develop clinical thinking, documentation and presentation skills;
- and provide consistent and structured exposure to modern concepts of professionalism.
These small groups—a maximum of six students—stay together throughout all four years of medical school. Society groups meet weekly with their mentor for the first two years of medical school for a variety of clinical experiences.
By design, the four-year program encourages meaningful longitudinal relationships among the students in each group and between the students and their mentor. These relationships are important for student wellbeing and establishing sense of community.
Mentors in the Societies Program are chosen from among the College's most distinguished clinician-educators. All are active, respected clinicians who have been recognized for their teaching skills and have devoted much of their academic careers to medical education. When mentors are absent, a mentor-at-large will fill in.
Career advising components are also embedded within the program.
Clinical skills training
Clinical skills training within the Societies Program is robust, and starts with the onset of the curriculum. Clinical skills sessions utilizing real and standardized patients are coordinated with the basic science material the students are studying, allowing for meaningful integration of clinical and basic science concepts and real-life application of clinical thinking skills.
By the end of year II, each student will conduct multiple histories and physical examinations during clinical encounters, write numerous "subjective, objective, assessment and plan" (SOAP) notes and perform numerous oral presentations. Societies Mentors provide both formative and summative feedback, ensuring excellent preparation for ensuing clerkships.