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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
MD Education

Clinical Education Center: Peer Physical Examination Policy

The purpose of this policy is to establish a uniform set of expectations for all students utilizing the Clinical Education Center for the practice of physical examination skills with peers. 

Mastery of the physical examination is essential to the practice of medicine and repeated exposure to, and practice of the components of the complete physical examination is necessary to master this complex set of skills.  One method shown to be helpful in learning physical exam skills is regular hands-on practice of the physical examination with peers. These student practice sessions may be required for a specific course, or they may be voluntarily undertaken outside of the formal classroom setting. 

It is recommended that practice sessions within the Clinical Education Center, during class time or outside of normal classroom hours, take place in groups of three to four students. During any practice sessions students should wear a T-shirt or tank top, shorts, and easy to remove shoes. Sweat pants and long-sleeve shirts may be worn at times when the student is not being examined. Students will practice proper draping at all times and make every effort to respect the modesty of classmates. When examining patients, the exam should always be on skin; however, when examining peers, accommodations may be made according to individual student preference. For example it is acceptable to examine the torso of a student over a layer of clothing. Practice examination of the breasts and genital areas is prohibited at all times. CEC rooms are equipped with cameras, and student activity may be monitored by CEC administrative staff. All students must adhere to the Feinberg Behavioral Standards Policy 

Any student who feels uncomfortable with the peer physical examination policy described here should inform the CEC medical director or the PA program director who will provide accommodations 

Last Updated: 3/4/2019