Medicine 504-5012 (Spring/Fall)

Course Description

The required Physical Diagnosis Course for first year medical student is an introduction to clinical medicine. Students will learn the knowledge and skills essential for performing a medical history and physical examination. The Course emphasizes patient interviewing, acquiring a medical data base, and performing a comprehensive physical examination. Lectures and reading assignments emphasize core concepts. Special sessions are used to optimize teaching of concepts in several subject areas. Over the entire semester, close interaction occurs between students and physician preceptors. Groups of four students are assigned to two faculty tutors who will guide their introduction to history taking, examination, and case write-ups. While there is a final practical examination, acquiring and refining clinical skills are lifelong processes for any physician.

Administrative Staff

Course Directors - Rachel K. Apple, MD, MPH; Anuj A. Patel, MD, The Course office is in MCN D-3100; phone 615-343-6657.

Program Manager - Reed Sparta, is a critical liaison for students and faculty.

They play an integral role in planning and implementing the Course and helps throughout the semester with problems that arise. The office is in MCN D-3100 (Department of Medicine); phone 615-343-6657. Contact them for issues regarding patient assignment or other questions.

Course Goals and Objectives

The primary goal of the course is to train you to conduct a thorough, accurate medical history and physical examination.  You will be given an approach to acquiring clinical information, organizing and processing this information, and then presenting it in a clear concise manner.  In the process we want to help you integrate your growing knowledge of pathology while learning to apply this to clinical observation and problem solving.  We also will help you develop good communication skills, professionalism, cultural competence, and the habit of reflection - all essential attributes of the good physician.  These skills and attributes form the basis for your professional growth in the years ahead, no matter what path in medicine you eventually choose. 

The Specific Objectives

  • Develop comfort with the Initial Encounter.
  • Incorporate your knowledge of pathophysiology into the process of history taking.
  • Learn to do a complete history and review of systems.
  • Develop technical skills of screening physical exam.
  • Learn symptoms and physical findings associated with common disorders.
  • Be able to present clinical data to colleagues in clear, concise manner.

Student Evaluations and Grading

The final grade for the course is determined as a composite of the following:

  • Attendance
  • Performance
  • Written H&P's
  • Observed practicals (25%)
  • Final grade with brief written evaluation for every student is provided to the school by the Course Directors bases on Tutor's evaluations and final exam (50%)
  • Written examination (25%)

Completion of Course Evaluation Required

Course grades will be recorded as "Pass" and "Fail".

Attendance at tutor sessions and teaching sessions involving patient contact is mandatory. A Course syllabus is provided to all students and tutors. It contains detailed information about lectures, assigned reading, tutor group assignments, and other information relevant to the Course.

Students are encouraged to provide verbal and written feedback about any aspect of the course to Dr. Rachel Apple and Dr. Anuj Patel. The completion of a web-enabled evaluation of tutors and the Course is required at the end of the semester.

Educational Resources

  • Course textbook (Bate's Guide to Physical Diagnosis Examination & History Taking), 10th Edition 
  • CD-Rom in the back of the textbook
  • CD-Roms on lung and heart sounds, available at the Eskind Biomedical Library
  • For further resources, please contact 615/343-6657