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First 100 Weeks

Educaton FOW

Physical Diagnosis

Our physical diagnosis (PD) curricular component begins on day one of medical school as students learn the art and science of the physical exam and utilize these skills to make diagnoses.  The hypothesis-driven approach to physical examination is the application of clinical reasoning skills as one determines how to use the physical exam to test competing hypotheses one might consider as potential explanations for a patient's presentation.  We also emphasize how human touch can be instrumental in the therapeutic relationship between patients and their physicians and that examining a patient is truly an honor and privilege. 

Every physical diagnosis session is contextualized within the theme of the week and the patients in our PEARLS  cases.  The physical diagnosis sessions are part of our Structure  curricular component which allows students to appreciate the underlying anatomy and interpret the physiologic data provided by each physical examination maneuver.  This type of integration distinguishes our physical diagnosis curricular component from that at many other schools.  Our students learn this skill and refine it through a series of clinical learning sessions. Ultimately, these clinical skills are assessed through objective structured clinical examinations, (OSCEs*) with standardized patients.

*An Objective Structured Clinical Exercise (OSCE) is a modern type of examination, often used in health sciences to test clinical skill performance and competence in skills such as communication, clinical examination, medical procedures/prescription, and interpretation of results. Zucker School of Medicine students will have both practice OSCEs and assessed OSCEs in their assessment weeks.

Typical Week of Study