In medical education, a clerkship, or rotation, refers to the practice of medicine by medical students during their final year(s) of study. Traditionally, the first half of medical school trains students in the classroom setting, and the second half takes place in a teaching hospital. Medical clerkships give students experience in all parts of the hospital setting, including the operating room, emergency department and various other departments that allow learning by viewing and doing.
The intent of the clinical clerkship is to teach the medical student the fundamentals of clinical examination, evaluation, and care provision, and to enable the student to select the course of further study. Another purpose of the clerkship is for the student to determine if they really want to pursue a career in the field of medicine.
An Observership program is an informal shadowing experience that enables participants to watch procedures and surgeries and attend patient rounds and teaching conferences. Federal regulations prevent observers from having patient care responsibilities or involvement in any form of volunteer research.