Clinical Skills

The Discipline of Family Medicine is integrally involved in the delivery of clinical skills training in both Phases 1 and 2 of the undergraduate medical curriculum.

Phase 1 – Clinical Skills

This course introduces the basic skills of interviewing, the identification and analysis of issues and dilemmas within the doctor/patient relationship and also provides the opportunity to become familiar with the fundamental use of medical instruments.

Small learning groups of Phase 1 medical students are facilitated weekly by a pair of family medicine and social worker preceptors.  Role play and standardized patients are used to teach basic history taking skills with the Patient Centered Clinical Method as the main guide.

Clinical Skills 2

Family Medicine preceptors are involved in teaching the physical examination as part of the systematic approach used in Clinical Skills 2.  Small learning groups interact with standardized patients as they learn the structure of the physical examination of the various systems of the body.


The Shadowing program is administered by the Med Careers office in the Faculty of Medicine. Med Careers offer the names of physicians who students can shadow and students are matched to the Disciplines of their choice. Shadowing experiences begin in October for Phase 2 students and January for Phase 1 students.  Students are typically matched with physicians for one-month periods and shadowing usually occurs on Tuesday afternoons when students do not have any other scheduled academic responsibilities.

Community Engagement

The Community Engagement course forms an integral part of all three phases of the Memorial Undergraduate Medical Education curriculum.  The objectives of this course include the promotion of community-based generalist practice.  The Discipline of Family Medicine and the Division of Community Health and Humanities have joined forces to achieve this by highlighting their collaboration within the community.

The community experiences aspects of the course allow students to transfer the knowledge learned within the classroom to real life situations.  Topics specific to each discipline are revisited in an iterative manner throughout the 3 phases.

Phase 1

The "Early Clinical Experience" is a shadowing placement in which the medical students each spend four (4) Wednesday afternoons over a twelve week period (September-November) shadowing a family physician in their clinic to observe the breadth and complexity of practice and develop an early connection with patient care.

Phase 2

The “Community Visit” is a two-week rural experience focusing primarily on the Community Health aspects of community.  The clinical importance of these health aspects are then emphasized during two days spent with a family physician in their clinic.

Phase 3

The "Black Bag" is a two-week urban or rural experience that is completed immediately prior to clerkship.  It focuses primarily on the family physician clinical experience with one day each week spent linking this experience to the urban or rural community.