“As innovators in medical education, we’re excited to offer this hands-on opportunity to our students,” said Kristine Carpenter, Carle Illinois clinical associate professor, family medicine physician at Carle, and Carle Illinois Clinic lead. “It’s a valuable opportunity for them as well as for patients.”
Medical students, guided by experienced Carle physicians, will care for patients’ primary care needs at Carle Illinois Clinic. “An ideal patient is one who isn’t in a rush or who needs a little extra time with a provider. Also, someone who is seeking care outside traditional clinic hours,” Dr. Carpenter said. “The clinic helps our students deliver primary care services while simultaneously improving access to care for our patients.”
The Carle Illinois Clinic, located at Carle Champaign on Curtis, is open Monday – Thursday, 5:40 – 9:00 p.m. Individuals may call (217) 365-3850 to schedule an appointment. In this Family Medicine clinic, the medical student sees the patient and consults with a Carle physician who oversees their care, reviews the cases, and sees the patient; but the students are the primary caregivers.
After reviewing a health history and taking vitals, the student will perform a physical evaluation. “If you are in need of a newborn screening, annual wellness exam or simply need relief from cold and flu symptoms, this clinic can help you,” said Scott Hansen, RN, supervisor, Carle Illinois Clinic. “And you’ll be helping to train and inspire the next generation of physicians.”
Traditional medical schools offer hands-on experiences to third-and fourth-year students or during residency. Carle Illinois is changing the game by helping prepare our future physicians sooner. “We’re leading the charge to ensure our physicians are the most prepared in the world,” Hansen said. “The students are ready for the next phase.”
Carle Illinois student Kenny Leung said he and other medical students are experiencing a lot of enthusiasm and, understandably, some nervousness, too. “I look forward to patients walking with a little doubt of whether they would like to establish care with a medical student, and seeing them leave the clinic without any reservations, having exceeded their expectations,” Leung said.
The medical student-patient relationship doesn’t stop at the clinic.
Students will connect with only two to three patients per shift for the next 18 months and will help patients manage their health needs or monitor for needed further specialty care for a complete healthcare experience. “For example, if a patient needs to see a gastroenterology doctor or surgeon, the student may be able to accompany the patient to those appointments. It is a very personal, one-to-one future doctor-patient relationship,” said Amy Lee, vice president, Primary Care, Medical Specialties and Patient Contact Center.
Dr. Carpenter insists the students are ready. “We aren’t holding their hands, but certainly providing the appropriate oversight,” she said.
Leung agrees. “I look forward to fostering student-doctor-patient relationships, providing compassionate care and learning from them. I hope patients are eager to come back to see us and share their health stories,” he said.