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Carle Illinois Clinic treats patients, offers medical students early learning opportunities

Carle Illinois Clinic treats patients, offers medical students early learning opportunities

Taking advantage of convenient evening hours to see a physician while connecting with some of the brightest minds studying medicine is all part of the experience provided at the Carle Illinois Clinic.

From July 2020 to December 2020, Carle Illinois College of Medicine students treated a record number of patients at the clinic, logging more than 500 patient visits.

The clinic offers Carle Illinois students unique direct clinical learning experiences many medical students do not receive until later in their medical school training.

“Several schools will certainly offer clinical experience, but not like ours, and certainly not at the early point that we attempt to get our students into the clinic,” said Kristine Carpenter, MD, Carle Illinois clinical teaching associate professor.

And patients benefit too.

“Many of our patients here prefer the ease of being seen in the evening,” Wendy Forys, RN, Patient Care Manager said. “Those patients who aren’t in a hurry do best because the appointments take more than 60 minutes allowing for the additional time for learning.”

Located at Carle Champaign on Curtis, the clinic offers appointments Monday through Thursday from 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. To make an appointment at the Carle Illinois Clinic, call (217) 365-6200. 

Second year Carle Illinois College of Medicine students under the direct supervision of licensed medical providers provide the care.

Patient feedback has been positive, and some patients return for follow-up.

“I was surprised at how excited I felt the first time I had a repeat patient,” second-year student Katy Stauffer said. “It was really meaningful to be able to create a bond with this patient over multiple weeks and be able to have that follow-up and closure.”

Students start an 18-month family practice clerkship in the clinic working one night per week, seeing one or two patients per night. The early clinical exposure is part of the Carle Illinois approach to medical education.

“My personal philosophy in working with students is they really need to do it on their own to learn it,” Dr. Carpenter said.

The student-run clinic focuses on family medicine, with typical visits ranging from annual wellness exams and newborn screenings, to acute ailments not requiring emergency care. Students do not see patients who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

Each visit takes about an hour, giving patients more time with providers. “That is really great for our patients, because it’s helping them to have better access to care,” Dr. Carpenter said.

The impact of the opportunity is evident to Carle Illinois students.

“By seeing more and more patients, we learn the varying presentations possible for each medical condition. This is why it has been so valuable for us to start early in the medical school program,” Kenny Leung, third-year medical student at Carle Illinois, said.

Putting their education into practice, students like Leung review a patient’s health history and take vital signs before performing a patient evaluation and interview. Students then consult with a licensed healthcare provider who also examines the patient. Dr. Carpenter and other preceptors ensure patient safety, but the student is in the driver’s seat.

“They get time to talk with their preceptor, think through the problem, and come up with a solution on their own. So, they are taking ownership of that patient and the treatment plan,” Dr. Carpenter said.

To make an appointment at Carle Illinois Clinic, call (217) 365-6200.

Categories: Redefining Healthcare

Tags: Carle Illinois, Carle Illinois College of Medicine, College of Medicine, innovation, medical students, research, Stephens Family Clinical Research Institute