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Expectations for Learners and Clinical Teachers

The family medicine elective is typically between two to four weeks in duration. Students choose to do electives in family medicine for a variety of reasons. They might be trying to decide if family medicine is something they’d like to choose as a career. Some may already be planning to apply to family medicine but want to work in a community that they might consider moving to someday or want to see what the residency program is like in that area.

Placement of Elective Students: please refer to our electives page for information on how placements are made. This document provides guidelines for both Dalhousie students and visiting elective students. Preceptors are encouraged not to accept placement of students directly but rather to contact Dalhousie Family Medicine Medical Education Office, dfm.undergrad@dal.ca or 902-473-4745 for assistance.

The following is to provide some guidance to students and preceptors at the start of a family medicine elective:

  1. Objectives: these are primarily up to the student to determine. Students must submit their learning objectives to the Dalhousie Undergraduate Medical Education Electives Coordinator prior to the start of their rotation for approval. Student should provide a copy of these objectives to their preceptor. They may seek assistance from their preceptor to formulate these objectives. A learning contract might be a useful tool in documenting what it is the student hopes to accomplish—please refer to the learning contract.
  2. Attendance: This is also to be determined by the student and the preceptor. The student may wish to attend some community clinics, etc. and this can be directed by the learning contract.
  3. Call: This is to be negotiated with the student and preceptor. It is not mandatory but is often time when useful learning can be done.
  4. Level of Responsibility: Please see the guidelines for level of responsibility. Most elective students are in their last year of medical school (this may differ for visiting electives) and should be functioning more independently.
  5. Feedback: Frequent feedback is important for the students. This may occur at the time that students present the case to their preceptor or at the end of the day. Please refer to the Providing Constructive Feedback section for some methods of providing feedback. It is helpful to occasionally observe students do their histories and physical examinations—this can be done with the preceptor in the room, or listening in as they take a history in the ER room, etc.
  6. Evaluations: This may differ depending on which university the student is from. Dalhousie students will have their evaluations completed on One45—preceptors will receive an email reminder when this is due. Students from other universities will provide the preceptor with an evaluation form. This does not need to be returned to the Department of Family Medicine.
  7. Insurance and Privileges
    1. Dalhousie students: Students from Dalhousie are registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons and are insured under the University’s liability policy while they are registered as students. They may need to apply for privileges to work in your hospital setting. Please let us know if we can assist with this process.
    2. Visiting elective students: students who are from other universities must first apply through the Undergraduate Medical Education Office. This office ensures that all their insurance, immunizations, etc is up-to-date. Please direct them to our electives page for more detailed information.