Clerkship Structure

Orientation / Weekly Checklist / Tips


The clerkship is six weeks in length, beginning with one day of orientation and concluding with the online clerkship exam. There are two types of sites available to students. One site may be a private practitioner’s office, while the other clinical experience involves working at ambulatory care centers associated with Family Medicine residency training programs. These experiences offer similar but not identical experiences. Please remember, the preceptors are volunteer teachers; always remain courteous and respectful of both patients and office staff.


Loyola Orientation. During the first day of the clerkship, a general orientation is scheduled at the Loyola campus. Most orientation sessions begin on a Monday, unless there is a legal holiday. All students are expected to attend the entire orientation. The Clerkship Director must approve any absence.

At the Loyola orientation, the clerkship syllabus will be reviewed. The orientation will also include didactic sessions and interactive activities that should assist you in your rotation and required projects. Topics covered during the orientation might include:

On-site Orientation. Each clerkship site has an assigned faculty member responsible for your educational experience. When you arrive at your clinical site you will meet with your preceptor/supervising attending. Plan to review your “Important Dates to Remember” page with your assigned preceptor. We expect students to spend at least 30 hours per week in direct ambulatory care, with the remaining time used for reading and completing assignments and projects, rounding on inpatients, attending educational programs, etc. Residency-based programs usually offer a more formal orientation to the site. You should discuss with your preceptor how your time will be allotted at this first meeting. You should think about what your personal goals are for the clerkship.

If it is not immediately clear who your assigned preceptor is please notify the Site Director or Clerkship Director as soon as possible. We expect each student to have a preceptor who is ultimately responsible for his/her experience. If you are in a “private office” you should meet with this person virtually every weekday. The only exception will be if your preceptor is on vacation or is off one day per week. In this case, your preceptor may assign another attending to meet with you on those days. At residency practices, you will work with a number of residents and attendings. However, you should meet with your supervising attending at least twice per week.

Educational Programs On-site. The residency program faculty may plan educational programs unique to its site. Examples may include lectures or visits to a health department program or nursing home. Attendance is mandatory if required by the supervising faculty. Each preceptor may also offer unique experiences of which we encourage students to take advantage such as attending hospital staff or department meetings or attending continuing medical education programs. The preceptor should also assist you in identifying patients who are suitable for your projects. If you find it difficult to select appropriate patients or topics for your projects, inform the Education Coordinator.

Attendance.  See the Academic Policy Manual, page 39, for the SSOM policy on clerkship attendance.  Should the Loyola policy differ from that of your assigned site, please inform the Education Coordinator.  In most cases, the Loyola policy takes precedence over the clerkship site policy.  The Clerkship Director must approve any known absences, in advance.  Written documentation, such as a copy of a wedding invitation, airline tickets or a program, must be provided.  Any illness that leads to time away from the clinical clerkship should be immediately reported to the clerkship coordinator and clerkship director. If a student misses any amount of time due to illness, the student MUST report to the Student Health Clinic for clearance prior to returning to clinical activities. Any clinical time missed, and subsequently cleared through the Student Health Clinic, will not negatively impact a studentís clinical performance evaluation. However, missed time, even when excused, may need to be made up, at the discretion of the individual clerkship director.

Too Tired To Drive Home Policy. If, for any reason, you are too tired to safely drive, you can obtain a taxi ride to your home. While at Loyola or Hines, go to the Loyola.wired web page ( and login to the INFORMATION PORTAL. Click on the Way To Go! Taxi Voucher link for taxi Service. When at other sites, call a taxi, pay, and bring the receipt to Dr. Gruener's office (SSOM, Room 310) for reimbursement. A ride back to the hospital is also underwritten.

Eighty-hour work week. Your total time at a clinical site cannot exceed 80 hours/week. This includes "call" not more than every fourth night and a minimum of one full day off/week. For violations, notify the Site and Clerkship Director.

Blood Borne Pathogen Exposure. If you are stuck by a needle or other sharp object, or get blood or other potentially infectious materials in your eyes, nose, mouth, or on broken skin, immediately flood the exposed area with water and clean any wound with soap and water or a skin disinfectant. Report this immediately to a supervisor, indicating the person who needs to be source tested. You should seek immediate medical attention. If at Loyola, report the exposure to the Loyola Outpatient Center (LOC) Employee and Student Health Clinic at 708-216-3156 for further instructions. If after hours, on weekends, or holidays, (1) report to the Emergency Department and (2) leave a secure voicemail message for the LOC Employee and Student Health at 708-216-2312. State your name, date of birth, phone number, and name and medical record number of the person who was the source of exposure. If off campus, contact the site's employee/occupational health service immediately or go to their Emergency Department and provide your insurance information.

Non-Sexual/Sexual Harassment/Mistreatment. Stritch has a policy of zero tolerance for such treatment. For instances of non-sexual mistreatment, you are encouraged to find support with a variety of resources, including the Clerkship Director, Campus Ministry/Pastoral Care, personal counseling services, our Medical Center Employee Assistance Program (EAP) counselors, any of the deans or trusted faculty. If you believe that the issue needs more formal investigation/resolution, you should contact the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. In instances of Sexual Harassment, Stritch is governed by our Medical Center's Sexual Harassment Policy and all allegations of sexual harassment must be formally investigated. You may seek confidential consultation through the EAP or Office of Campus Ministry to explore options for addressing the concern, and you are strongly encouraged to notify the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.


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Weekly Checklist

The following checklists are to assist you in progressing smoothly through your rotation and to make sure you complete all of the assignments on time.  

Week One


Week Two


Week Three


Week Four


Week Five


Week Six

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Practical Tips for Enhancing Your Clerkship Experience Initial Responsibilities

As with all positive learning experiences, a key factor influencing your success is the ability to communicate effectively. To achieve the most from the clerkship experience, establish your presence with the preceptor and become involved in the clinical environment as quickly as possible. When you become involved, those with whom you interact will also become involved. The following tips will assist you in getting the most from your clerkship experience:

  1. Introduce yourself to the people with whom you’ll be working.
  2. Be pleasantly assertive -remember you are a new member of the team.
  3. Share your goals and interests with your preceptors and others who may assist in your learning.
  4. Determine the equipment you will need to interact in this environment--stethoscope, watch, identification card, note pad, resource book, etc.
  5. Dress --Present yourself as a professional and representative of Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine throughout your clinical experience. You will be expected to wear your white jacket at all times when seeing patients. Wear your nametag and any additional name tags required by some hospitals.
  6. Problems --Approach your preceptor if you perceive there is a problem. Contact the Education Coordinator if there are irreconcilable differences.
  7. Report Abuse – Immediately contact the Education Coordinator if you are being subjected to any form of abuse.
  8. Absence --Make sure you notify the preceptor if you must be absent (not the secretary or receptionist). Preceptors are aware of the absence policy for the clerkship. Let the site coordinator know how to contact you in case of emergency, and always contact the Education Coordinator at
Other questions to ask:
  1. What are my hours?
  2. How do I refer to the preceptor and other staff members? (Dr., Ms., Mrs.)
  3. Where do I sit for a break or to chart? For lunch?
  4. Where should I hang my coat and store my materials?
  5. How should the medical record be used by me for charting purposes?
  6. How should I introduce myself to patients? (We recommend that you always introduce yourself as student doctor. Preceptors will be advised not to introduce you as “Dr._________”.)
  7. How should I see patients--prior to the preceptor, in conjunction with the preceptor, after the preceptor?
  8. Where are references located for me to use?
  9. May I work with the office staff, nurses, or other partners?

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