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Clerkship Updates

Clerkship Updates

Sent on behalf of Jeremy L. Gibson, MD – Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Updated: Friday, June 26, 2020, 8:00 AM


Medical Students,

The College of Medicine (COM) is closely monitoring the rising number of COVID-19 infections and its impact on our system. Throughout the pandemic, the COM has held weekly COVID-19 Campus/Site Contingency Planning Meetings. During these meetings, Campus Associate Deans provide information about current state and trends in their location to ensure we are able to provide a quality and safe learning experience for our students. At this week’s Tuesday meeting, all campuses reported rising numbers of general and ICU hospital admissions, but they did not feel it was time to change our current clinical curriculum plans. The action plan from that meeting was to continue very close daily monitoring of key parameters. The COM Executive Committee affirmed these plans during its meeting on Wednesday.


Yesterday, Governor Abbott issued an executive order (attached) that suspends elective surgeries in Harris, Bexar, Dallas, and Travis counties. This was done in an effort to ensure hospital bed availability in these hard-hit areas. I am sure this announcement has triggered many questions. I am going to try and answer to some of the anticipated questions below.


1. Does this change our decision about activating the resurgence plan and restricting student involvement in clinical activities?

Given this order is limited to elective surgeries, the COM will continue with its current curriculum plans and not restrict student involvement beyond the current guidelines. Please remember that students should not be involved in the care of know COVID-19 patients or patients under investigation (PUIs).


2. What would trigger the decision to restrict student involvement in clinical activities?

As stated above, we are monitoring key indicators on a daily basis. While the number and variations of COVID-19 cases is of clear importance, of particular concern at this stage is the strain on the health care system - be it space, equipment, or manpower. While the COM views medical students as health care professionals (HCP), you are not considered essential HCPs at this stage. This key differentiator means that we must be prepared to reduce system strain to preserve our top priority which is patient care. Should shortages in these areas reach a critical level, further restrictions on student participation in inpatient care may be necessary.


3. What about surgery clerkships and surgical electives are given the current restrictions on elective procedures?

The Office of Academic Affairs is working closely with the Campus Deans and clerkship/elective directors to determine any impact on the ability to provide surgical clerkships and electives.  As with previous changes in the pandemic, we will work to try and minimize the impact on your curricular progress.


4. What if I am feeling uncomfortable continuing to participate in the medical school’s curriculum?

During this difficult time, it is very important to reiterate the importance of taking care of yourself and your family. The best plans we develop may still fall short of your individual situational needs. If that is the case for you, realize we are available to discuss your situation and work toward possible solutions. If at the end of those efforts, a solution seems unattainable, please know that a leave of absence from the curriculum is a reasonable and appropriate decision that the COM will support. Please contact the Office of Student Affairs if this of concern to you.

While I am sure you have many other questions, hopefully, this email provides some useful and reassuring information. As soon as the status of the surgical clerkships and electives is determined a follow-up email will be provided.



Jeremy L. Gibson M.D.
Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
College of Medicine
Texas A&M University
1359 TAMU | 8447 Riverside Pkwy | Bryan, TX 77807
ph: 979.436.0548 |

Clerkship Updates

Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 2:30 PM

Class of 2021,

I hope you are staying well!  Please let us know if we can help you during this time.  Some of you may be feeling lonely and others may have too much family time right now.   Either way, we can get through this by staying connected.  Please reach out if there is something you need or if you just need to talk. 

We wanted to provide some information on your clerkships, schedules, NBME’s, and OSCE’s.  Your clerkship will be contacting you soon if they have not already with details specific to the clerkship.

  • In order for students to access patient encounter and procedure logs for the clerkship without data loss, we need to keep you in your clerkship from the day you start to the day you finish.  So most students will be scheduled in a clerkship for 9 or 12 weeks.  (You will either be scheduled in two clerkships that overlap or you will have electives overlap with clerkships.)
  • In order to make it clear which students are starting clerkships on May 4 and May 25, here is the change we have made:

Short Clerkships

  • Block 3 (April 13th) clerkships are now scheduled for 12 weeks = May 4 – July 26
  • Block 4 (May 25th) clerkships are now scheduled for 9 weeks = May 25 – July 26
  • Remember EACH short clerkship will run frontloading TWICE.  One starting on May 4 and again starting on May 25.  These are 2 different groups.  There was no way to “pair” clerkships for the 6 weeks.  We need all 4 to run twice because all schedules were different. 

 Long Clerkships

  • Block 2 (April 13th) clerkships are now scheduled for 8 weeks = May 4 – June 28 

NBME shelf exams

  • Students will take their NBME exams on Friday of the last day of the frontloaded portion of the clerkship.
  • Students will be given the opportunity to retake the NBME exams on the Friday of the last day of the clinical portion of the clerkship.
  • There is no penalty for failing the exam or retaking the exam.  The higher of the two scores will be used for grades.  (If you fail both attempts, the regular policy applies.)

OSCE/Oral Boards

  • Surgery will hold their oral boards during week 7 of the clerkship.
  • Psychiatry will hold a virtual/telehealth OSCE during week 6 of the clerkship (or last week of your clinical portion)
  • Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Pediatrics are planning to hold regular OSCE’s in the CLRC with standardized Patients the week of July 27th.
    • Virtual/telehealth versions are being planned if needed.
    • More details on which OSCE’s on which days will be forthcoming. 
    • If you have 2 clerkships, you will take both OSCE’s during this week.
    • If you are on Step study or Elective during this week, you will be granted excused absences to take your OSCE’s.

Clerkship Updates

We know this is a lot of information.  Please contact us if you need anything or have questions.

Dr. Dickey