Students at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson participate in professional learning communities known as Societies. The Societies Program is embedded in the Doctor and Patient block, a longitudinal block in the preclerkship curriculum. Within the Societies Program, small groups of students — no more than six — work with each other and a faculty mentor to:
- learn interviewing, physical examination and patient care skills at the patient bedside
- develop clinical thinking, documentation and presentation skills
- provide consistent and structured exposure to modern concepts of professionalism
These small groups stay together throughout all four years of medical school. Society groups meet weekly with their mentor during the preclerkship years of medical school for a variety of clinical experiences.
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 well-being 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 fills in.
Career advising components are embedded within the program.
Clinical Skills Training
Clinical skills training within the Societies Program is robust. Clinical skills sessions with real and standardized patients are coordinated with the basic science material the students are studying, facilitating the meaningful integration of clinical and basic science concepts and real-life applications for clinical thinking skills.
Before the end of the preclerkship years, each student will conduct multiple histories and physical examinations during clinical encounters, write numerous “subjective, objective, assessment and plan” (SOAP) notes and perform several oral presentations. Societies mentors provide both formative and summative feedback, ensuring excellent preparation for ensuing clerkships.