Guidebook for Clerkship Directors
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When I became a clerkship director 20 years ago, I sought seasoned colleagues and resources to help me “learn the ropes.” My third-year medicine clerkship director gave me wonderful guidance. However, I could not get advice from or collaborate with other medicine clerkship directors because there was no internal medicine clerkship directors’ organization or even a list of medicine clerkship directors. I could find no written resources to help new clerkship directors. How the landscape has changed since then!
Now there are clerkship director organizations in the seven core disciplines: the Association for Surgical Education (ASE), Association of Directors of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry (ADMSEP), Association of Professors of Gynecology/Obstetrics (APGO), Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine (CDIM), Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics (COMSEP), Consortium of Neurology Clerkship Directors (CNCD), and Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM). They enhance the quality of education for students and facilitate collaboration and research among directors.
The Alliance for Clinical Education (ACE), established in 1992, encourages clerkship directors to collaborate across specialties in teaching and educational scholarship. In 1995, members of ACE created a handbook, published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), to help clerkship directors develop and improve their clerkships. The Handbook for Clerkship Directors was well received and the AAMC published an expanded, updated second edition, Guidebook for Clerkship Directors, in 2000. Many clerkship directors, site directors, clerkship faculty, and clerkship administrators found the second edition beneficial and they recommended development of an expanded third edition.The third edition has several new features. First, it is available in print and electronic formats. The print version is published by ACE. To order, contact ACE by mail, fax, or the Web (http://www.allianceforclinicaleducation.org). The electronic version is available for viewing or downloading free of charge at http://www.allianceforclinicaleducation.org. Second, it includes entirely new chapters entitled, “Redefining the Role of Clerkship Administrators, Career Development for Medical Student Clinical Educators, Understanding, Navigating and Leveraging Academic Medicine, Educational Scholarship, The Clerkship Director and the Accreditation Process, and The Clerkship Orientation. The new chapters add to the “nuts and bolts” of the first two editions. Third, each chapter has been rewritten and expanded.
The privilege of serving as editor of all three editions has given me the opportunity to work with many outstanding colleagues. Their aggregate contributions resulted in a Guidebook that we believe will be useful for new and seasoned directors. Development of the third edition was overseen by an editorial board, which we called the “Guidebook Eight,” or G8 for short. The G8 consisted of one representative from each of the ACE constituent organizations, plus me. They are:
The G8 selected lead authors for each chapter and collaborated with them to identify co-authors. In total, 70 authors, representing all of the ACE constituent organizations, contributed to the Guidebook. I am grateful for the dedicated and effective contributions of all of the members of the G8. They made my job as editor “doable.”I am indebted to the high-quality contributions of each author and am grateful for the collegial working relationships I have enjoyed with them.
In addition, Richard Usatine, MD, Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, Gary L. Beck, Executive Director of ACE and Thea Ballinger, MA, Distributed Education Coordinator with Family & Community Medicine at UTHSCSA, worked tirelessly to enable production of the electronic version.
I especially appreciate the meticulous stylistic editing by my friend and colleague, Janis Work, Ph.D. I also want to acknowledge the contributions of Cora Harper, my assistant in the Office of Academic Affairs. Without the contributions of each of these individuals, there would be no Guidebook.
Clerkship directors are key educators in their departments and play a seminal role in the education and professional formation of medical students. Even experienced clerkship directors are more effective if they collaborate with other clerkship directors in their own specialties and other disciplines. Collaboration and sharing educational innovations, education materials, and educational research also improves student learning, clerkship education, and ultimately helps to move the field of medical education forward.
Ruth-Marie E. Fincher, MD
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