Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences

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The Tufts PA Program has affiliation agreements with over 120 different clinical sites, the majority of which are within 60 miles of downtown Boston. These include major teaching hospitals in and around the city, community hospitals in suburban and rural areas, neighborhood health clinics, and private practices.  Through 4-5 week long rotation blocks, our students are given multiple opportunities to experience health care in many different types of settings and medical disciplines in culturally diverse areas.

Per ARC-PA Accreditation Standards, Tufts University is responsible for the selection of clinical sites to which PA students will be assigned for clinical rotations.

Core rotations must be taken in New England, but the elective can be in any state following selection and approval by Tufts.

Students seeking to fulfill their clinical rotation at a new site outside of those previously selected by Tufts may do so by submitting a request for review and selection. 

Emergency Medicine (1 Block) [PA 301] 4 credits Familiarizes students with problems encountered in an emergency room.  Students are responsible for taking medical histories and performing physical examinations on acute as well as non-emergent patients and presenting these to the preceptor.  When appropriate, students perform necessary diagnostic and therapeutic measures.  Through clinical training and didactic sessions at the clinical site, students may also be exposed to the emergency management and treatment of such conditions as trauma, shock, burns, asthma, poisoning, allergic reactions, seizures, and respiratory failure.

Ambulatory Medicine (2 Blocks) [PA 302] 8 credits
Exposes students to a broad range of experiences that emphasize the patient as an individual and family member.  Students are involved in the initial and ongoing assessment of patients in all age groups as well as management of individuals with established diagnoses.  In addition to routine health maintenance, students become familiar with common primary care and family medicine problems such as upper respiratory illness, orthopedic injuries, musculoskeletal complaints, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.  Patient education, counseling, and integration with community services are other components of this rotation.  Students may see patients in venues that include hospital ambulatory care clinics, private offices, family medicine practices, clinics and urgent care settings.  This experience exposes students to broad aspects of ambulatory medical practice, emphasizing the patient as an individual and family member.  Students will have exposure to caring for patients across a broad spectrum of ages.  Students typically encounter such common medical problems as community acquired infections, musculoskeletal complaints, hypertension, diabetes, minor trauma, and heart disease.  In addition to medical diagnosis and management, patient education, counseling, and integration of community services and arrangement of follow up care are major parts of this rotation.  This part of the outpatient experience may be provided in a walk-in clinic or urgent care venue.

Inpatient Medicine (2 Blocks) [PA 303] 8 credits
During this inpatient hospital rotation, students take and record medical histories and perform physical examinations. It offers students an opportunity to become familiar with the assessment and management of varied medical problems by attending medical rounds and conferences, performing diagnostic procedures, presenting case write-ups, recording progress notes, and working under the supervision of a physician. It emphasizes the skills of collecting, assessing, and presenting patient data for physician review; ordering appropriate laboratory and diagnostic studies; counseling patients about therapeutic procedures; and helping to coordinate the contributions of other health professionals involved in management of the patient.

Surgery (1 Block) [PA 304] 4 credits
Students in this rotation participate in varied surgical patient care responsibilities, under the supervision of a surgical resident or staff surgeon.  Emphasizes general surgery, though students may have some exposure to other surgical specialties and subspecialties. Students assist in surgical patients’ initial assessment, which includes obtaining accurate medical histories and performing physical examinations.  As members of the surgical team, students participate in preoperative management, including patient education and procedures necessary to prepare patients for surgery.  Students assist surgeons in the operating room and have an opportunity to become familiar with operating room procedures and equipment. Students are also involved in patients’ postoperative evaluation and management.  When possible, students attend surgical grand rounds and other surgically-oriented educational meetings.

Behavioral Medicine (1 Block) [PA 305] 4 credits
Exposes students to varied mental health problems, in such settings as wards, clinics, and multiservice centers. Students are expected to perform mental status examinations and cognitive testing.  Emphasizes recognizing various types of mental health problems that require referral to a specialist and managing problems that can be handled by the non-specialist.  Assists students in furthering their understanding of effective patient interactions and the mental health components of health, disease, and disability.

Pediatrics (1 Block) [PA 306] 4 credits
Develops students’ familiarity with outpatient pediatric problems, in training clinics and private pediatric offices. Emphasizes caring for a child from birth through adolescence. Provides opportunities to take medical histories and perform pediatric physical examinations. Stresses diagnosing and managing common childhood illnesses and evaluating growth and development.  Assists students in developing skills to counsel parents about immunizations, child visits, growth and development parameters, common psychosocial problems, nutrition, and accident and poisoning prevention.  Students may also have the chance to learn how to administer immunizations and perform audio and visual screenings.

Women’s Health (1 Block) [PA 307] 4 credits
Enables students to become involved with obstetrical and gynecological services provided by teaching hospitals. Emphasizes pre- and postnatal care, monitoring labor, assisting in deliveries, and developing the necessary skills to deliver a child in an emergency situation.  Provides opportunities to take obstetrical histories and perform obstetrical examinations. During this rotation, students are expected to learn how to assess and manage a variety of common gynecological problems and to counsel patients on family planning.

Orthopedics (1 Block) [PA 308] 4 credits
Exposes students to common orthopedic conditions/injuries in settings such as inpatient medicine floors, outpatient clinics, operating rooms, and other multiservice centers. Student will learn to diagnose common orthopedic conditions/injuries by examination and/or radiographic means. Students will gain exposure in performing musculoskeletal/joint examinations. Each student will develop skills to stabilize and treat common orthopedic injuries and distinguish among elective, non-emergent, and emergent scenarios. Students will also learn and practice techniques used to rehabilitate common orthopaedic conditions/injuries.

Elective (1 Block) [PA 309] 4 credits
One block is a student-selected elective in a medical discipline that reflects the student’s intended career path. This provides exposure to an area of clinical medicine in which a student has particular interest. Students may choose additional experience in an area covered in required rotations or select a subspecialty, such as orthopedics, cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, plastic & reconstructive surgery, neonatology, infectious diseases, dermatology, gastroenterology, neurosurgery, critical care medicine, oncology, or geriatrics Students will choose from existing clinical affiliations or by gaining approval from the Director of Clinical Education if it is a new clinical site.