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J Gen Intern Med. 1998 May; 13(5): 327–330.
PMCID: PMC1496954

Ambulatory Versus Inpatient Rotations in Teaching Third-Year Students Internal Medicine


We studied 63 randomly selected third-year students who split their 10-week medicine clerkship between ambulatory and inpatient components. Compared with their inpatient experience, during the ambulatory rotation, the 63 students felt more like doctors, more responsible for patients, and more able to know and help their patients. Students reported that ambulatory attending staff appeared happier and less stressed, and did not embarrass them as frequently. Compared with their 619 “inpatient” classmates, these 63 “ambulatory” students scored as well on the medicine examination, and were as likely to receive honors (44% vs 41%), and to choose internal medicine residencies (35% vs 34%). In conclusion, students experienced better relationships with their patients and teachers during the ambulatory rotation, which was academically comparable to the inpatient experience.

Keywords: medical student, medical education, ambulatory rotation, medical clerkship, inpatient rotation

Articles from Journal of General Internal Medicine are provided here courtesy of Society of General Internal Medicine