Doctoring Course

Bedside Manners

Caring for patients, families and communities in the Doctoring Course.

Medical students practice taking a pulse

The Doctoring Course covers the basic professional skills and competencies you will need as a practicing physician.

With your M-Home Doctoring Group, you will:

  • Get to know patient volunteers and families coping with chronic illness.
  • Have faculty input on how you conduct histories and physicals on real patients in the hospital and clinics.
  • Engage in deep, reflective discussions on a range of topics to better understand biopsychosocial and societal aspects of illness.

Communication, Collaboration and Compassion

Through several small group discussions, you will begin to explore how your personal worldview impacts your professional identity and decisions. Together you will discuss topics such as bias, ethics, team dynamics, humanism in medicine, health disparities, LGBTQ concerns and social justice. Understanding where you come from will improve your awareness of and sensitivity to your patients’ lives.

Our Doctoring Course spans all four years, following the same faculty and staying with same small group of 10-12 students. With conversations on ethical and socio-behavior topics, students will be able to take it to that next level as they advance in their learning. When they encounter situations in the clinic, they will have faculty there to support them while they figure it out—all in real time.

Jennifer Stojan, M.D., Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, and Doctoring Course Director

Doctoring Skills

Learning to be a good doctor begins with understanding what you need to know about patients and their families. Taking a medical history, communicating with other providers, applying scientific knowledge through diagnosis, alleviating suffering and optimizing health will be mastered.

Volunteer Visits

In the first year, you and another medical student will be paired with a volunteer family and will meet with them at their home and in the clinic. Volunteer families will share how illness has impacted them through discussions with you and your partner. Learning directly from patients is a powerful and unique experience that cannot be duplicated in a classroom.

In addition to your small group activities, the Doctoring Course includes patient panels, a visit to a Complementary Alternative Medicine provider office, and Standardized Patient experiences to practice communication and clinical skills. Standardized patients are volunteers that are specially trained to assess students across all four years of medical school. These encounters occur in the Scientific Trunk and Transition to Clerkships phase of the Clinical Trunk, with a required comprehensive clinical assessment in M4 year that helps students prepare for the Step 2 CS.