Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Course Overview


1st Year

2nd Year

3rd Year  

4th Year


Fundamentals of Patient Care- Year 2

The second year curriculum in the College of Medicine follows the integrated format introduced to students in their first year. Six blocks of integrated material are taught in the context of four year-long themes that include Abnormal Structure & Function, Pathogens and Host Defense, Pharmacotherapeutics & Nutrition, and Fundamentals of Patient Care. The Fundamentals of Patient Care (FPC) theme in the second year builds on the goals and objectives of the first year FPC course, with a continued focus on several areas of professional training and physician development, through didactic and small group instruction.

Content covered within FPC in the second year is organized around instruction in the following areas:

  • Introduction to Clinical Reasoning
  • Ethics
  • Evidence Based Medicine
  • Physical Diagnosis
  • Senior Mentor Program
  • Professionalism and Career Planning
  • Careers in Medicine

The material covered in the block being studied drives the curriculum for the FPC small groups and physical diagnosis sessions. For example, during the Neurology, Psychiatry and Endocrine block, FPC small groups discuss a case involving a patient with schizophrenia, delirium and an endocrine disorder. In sequential weeks this case is evaluated from the standpoint of clinical reasoning, ethics and then evidence-based medicine.

The overall goals and objectives for the FPC in year 2 are:


  • Develop advanced medical communication skills
  • Develop physical diagnosis skills in preparation for clinical rotations
  • Increase knowledge about behavioral science concepts relevant to medicalpractice
  • Foster development of professional identity as physician
  • Develop and refine the ability to utilize evidence-based medicine
  • Foster the application of scientific knowledge to clinical medicine
  • Finalize preparations to pass the Step 1 US Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE)
  • Successfully transition to the third-year clinical clerkships and rotations


By the end of the second year, the student will be able to do the following:

  • Define the components of the medical interview and describe effective medical interviewing techniques.
  • Demonstrate competency in conducting a physical examination and presenting the findings.
  • Interpret both normal and abnormal physical exam findings.
  • Demonstrate how to generate, prioritize and test a clinical hypothesis for a specific patient presentation.
  • Define and apply foundational ethical principles and reasoning skills in addressing ethical questions in clinical care.
  • Integrate clinical, ethical and basic science concepts relevant to medical practice.
  • Critique medical literature using basic biostatistical and epidemiologic constructs.
  • Describe how to apply evidence-based medicine knowledge and skills to questions that arise in patient care.
  • Integrate key behavioral science concepts of health and illness into clinical reasoning and decision making.
  • Define nutritional concepts important in the assessment of the geriatric patient.
  • Demonstrate an appropriate nutritional assessment for a geriatric patient.
  • Reflect on one's own specialty interest and long term professional and personal goals.
  • Demonstrate life-long learning and self-directed learning skills.

The FPC theme uses a combination of lectures, small groups, Simulation Center activities, mentoring by community physicians, interaction with standardized patients, and clinical demonstrations to facilitate student learning. In addition, students continue their participation in Careers in Medicine and the Senior Mentor Program during the second year of FPC.

FPC Theme Director: 

Jeffrey Cluver, M.D.
Vice Chiar for Education & Training
Director of Medical Student Education

Curriculum Coordinator:

Donna Kern, M.D.
Associate Dean for Curriculum Integration & Implementation, Clinical Sciences









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