The third year of medical school is comprised of core rotations, or required clerkships, in which you apply the classroom knowledge acquired during your first and second years as a medical student to clinical experience. The required clerkships at most medical schools are internal medicine, obstetrics-gynecology, general surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry, family medicine and/or neurology. Not every school offers a required family medicine rotation, though, so if your interest lies in this area, you can take it as an elective. Contact the dean of student affairs or your faculty advisor to access your school's elective policies and catalog.
The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) has developed a family medicine clerkship curriculum. STFM describes this as a "list of common and important presentations that students should experience during their clerkship experiences." Visit the STFM Web site for that curriculum information.
For tips on making the most of your rotations and choosing senior electives, visit Surviving Medical School.
General Elective Opportunities
AAFP Directory of Clerkships/Preceptorships and Electives
-- Explore this directory of clinical opportunities in family medicine and related clinical areas such as sports medicine, adolescent medicine, women's health, and more.
AAMC Extramural Electives Compendium
-- Browse elective opportunities at medical schools in the U.S. and Canada with this online search engine from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
Suggested Fourth-Year Electives for Medical Students Entering Family Medicine
-- If family medicine is at the top of your list, check out these curriculum recommendations published in the journal of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.
(5-page PDF file; About PDFs
Five Tips for Generating Patient Satisfaction and Compliance
-- Take advantage of lessons from the business world to ensure patient satisfaction.
Keys to Improving Your Listening Skills
-- Learn the secret to effective face-to-face interactions with patients.
An Easy Way to Evaluate Software for Your PDA
-- Find out how to select the PDA medical applications that best meet your needs.
Top PDA Resources for Family Physicians
-- Review these 15 resources that were compiled to assist family physicians with finding the most relevant software for their PDAs.
International Health Care Opportunities in Family Medicine
-- The AAFP has created an online directory of family medicine residency programs that offer international rotations.
AAFP International Activities Office
-- The AAFP’s International Activities office hosts a number of resources that can assist you on your journey abroad or learning about international experiences at home.
AMA Office of International Medicine
-- This Web page of the American Medical Association (AMA) provides information on world health issues and international involvement. You can also find frequently asked questions about volunteering, international training and vaccinations.
AMSA International Health Directory
-- This section of the American Medical Student Association's (AMSA) Web site offers a searchable database of international opportunities cataloged by host country and type of opportunity.