Neurology is taught in a combined eight week course with Psychiatry in the third year of medical school. The clinical portion of the rotation is divided into two parts with the students dividing their clinical time between three weeks of Neurology and five weeks of Psychiatry. This clinical exposure has mixed inpatient, outpatient and consult time slots.
Throughout the rotation, all students are provided didactic material primarily from Neurology and Psychiatry. This consists of eight core lectures each from Neurology and Psychiatry, and eight lectures of combined Psychiatry and Neurology material with faculty present from both services. The combined lectures include topics such as delirium, dementias, acute confusional states, pseudo-dementias, aphasia, sequelae of alcoholism, drug abuse and toxin exposure. In cases where video examples of disease more aptly illustrate disorders, we have incorporated them as a teaching medium. These include seizure, movement disorder and the evaluation of coma and brain death. In addition to the Neurology and Psychiatry material, students are also exposed to additional didactic material from Pediatric Neurology, Neurosurgery, Neuropathology and Neuro-radiology throughout the rotation. Occasionally, students are allowed to monitor neurosurgical cases in the operating room. They also attend two formal neuropathology conferences that include gross sectioning of brains obtained at autopsy with discussion of the noted pathology.
Students are evaluated via evaluation form by the faculty who mentored and oversaw them during the clinical aspect of the course. This form requires more objective criteria for evaluation of the student’s history and physical examination, case presentations, data analysis, factual knowledge, problem solving, patient interaction, cooperation and dependability. This portion of their evaluation comprises 66% of their final neurology grade. The other 33% is determined by the student’s performance on a standardized test from the National Board of Medical Examiners for Neurology. This allows comparison of our students with others across the nation. It is our desire that all students should be able to handle common neurological problems and emergencies in their future practices.
The neurological clerkship is comprised of a well-balanced curriculum including didactic and “hands on” exposure. The students are provided detailed goals and objectives that should direct them in their studies and prepare them for medical practice and on national board-type examinations. Dr. Galen Mitchell continues as Director of Medical Student Education