Flexible Clinical Experience Frequently Asked Questions

Designing an FCE

Basic FCE Program Requirements

  • There should be a minimum of three distinct experiences and no more than one repetition of a FCE experience will be allowed. In most cases where the same experience is repeated, it will be done for two consecutive FCE sessions, providing for a longer experience.
  • The student should choose experiences in at least two different departments within or outside the medical school. This is in keeping with the spirit of these electives which allow for the students to gain diverse experiences during these electives.
  • Experiences are required to be supervised by a qualified sponsor. For student designed electives the sponsor can be chosen by the student, their learning community mentor, clerkship directors, course director or other faculty who may guide the student.
  • An FCE cannot be used to continue with a core clinical experience, or contribute to the student’s evaluation of the core clinical experience - i.e. the faculty evaluating a student for the CCE should be different from the FCE sponsor.
  • All FCEs cannot be in research, medical education or healthcare administration. There must be at least 2 clinical experiences. The clinical experiences could be in the hospital or community setting.

The following criteria must be met for all FCE experiences

  • There should be a minimum of three distinct experiences and no more than one repetition of a FCE experience will be allowed. In most cases where the same experience is repeated, it will be done for two consecutive FCE sessions, providing for a longer experience. This would allow the student to participate in electives where at least 2 weeks are required for a meaningful learning experience, such as overseas electives or research electives.
  • The student should choose experiences in at least two different departments within or outside the medical school. This is in keeping with the spirit of these electives which allow for the students to gain diverse experiences during these electives.
  • Experiences are required to be supervised by a qualified sponsor. For student designed electives the sponsor can be chosen by the student, their learning community mentor, clerkship directors, course director or other faculty who may guide the student.
  • An FCE cannot be used to continue with a core clinical experience, or contribute to the student’s evaluation of the core clinical experience- i.e. the faculty evaluating a student for the CCE should be different from the FCE sponsor.
  • The experience should be related to an aspect of medicine, healthcare, medical education, or healthcare administration, as it applies to the individual or the community.
  • The experience must have at least one clearly stated objective.
  • One FCE requires a total of 45 hour time commitment by the student in the one-week period (combined face-to-face and 'homework/study/reading' activities)

Flexible Experience (FE) Term Dates & Deadlines

The only changes made to schedules will be as the result of the successful submission of a self-designed FCE. Other change requests will be determined on an individual basis.

 

ADD/DROP DEADLINE Block 1: FE1, FE2, FE3: May 1, 2014
 FE1  6.9.2014  6.13.2014
 FE2  6.16.2014  6.20.2014
 FE3  7.21.2014  7.25.2014
ADD/DROP DEADLINE Block 2: FE4, FE5, FE6: August 25, 2014
 FE4  9.29.2014  10.3.2014
 FE5  10.6.2014  10.10.2014
 FE6  12.8.2014  12.12.2014
ADD/DROP DEADLINE Block 3: FE7, FE8, FE9, FE-SB: January 1, 2015
 FE7  2.2.2015  2.6.2015
 FE8  3.9.2015  3.13.2015
 FE9  3.23.2015  3.27.2015
 FE-spring break  3.16.2015  3.20.2015

Does an FCE have to occur during one of the formally defined FE terms?

A student-designed FCE can occur at any time during the appropriate academic year, dependent on faculty supervisor approval and FCE program administration acceptance. Please cc: the program administration as you plan an FCE to occur outside of the formal FE term schedule.

Is there a deadline for submission of a self-designed FCE proposal?

Students may submit a self-designed proposal at a minimum of 4 weeks before the start of the exercise/course. Because the student may have already been assigned a different course via the enrollment process, s/he must drop the assigned course as soon as their self-designed course is approved.

Faculty sponsors and supervisors may submit a proposal at any time, although we recommend submission occurs in January, prior to the beginning of the next academic year, in time for the initial enrollment period.

What is the lead time for planning a self-designed FCE?

For an offsite FCE, we recommend you begin the process 3 or 4 months in advance of the experience term. Offsite FCEs frequently require additional paperwork, such as CORI clearance, and or a letter from the dean. It is the responsibility of the student to request, collect, and submit required paperwork.

Note: It is required that all communication be documented via email, and cc:d to the UMMS faculty sponsor and FCE Program administration.

Where can the best ideas be found?

  • student designed FCEs for the previous years
  • learning community mentor
  • specialty advisors
  • colleagues in the learning communities
  • Foundation of Medicine faculty such as LPP preceptors, core & community clerkship directors
  • GSN 2nd year clerkship preceptors & colleagues, and enrichment electives faculty directors of free clinics (eg. Harvey Clermont, MD; Erik Garcia, MD; Jen MacDonald, MD/PhD at http://www.worcesterfreeclinics.org)
  • Michael Kneeland, the Associate Dean for Allied Health & Interprofessional education; student interest group advisors (residency program directors).

 

What types of activities qualify?

  • introduction to a medical specialty not offered as a core clinical experience
  • activity designed to help with career planning
  • development of skills pertinent to the practice of medicine outside of the core clinical experiences, e.g., Allied health professionals, complementary and alternate medicine and community health service projects related to the medical field
  • international experiences related to healthcare
  • research exploration and or preparation conference attendance if the student is presenting his/her own work
  • physician as a patient and community advocate teaching related to medicine and public health
  • humanities as it pertains to medicine hospital administration; medical leadership
  • activities enhancing clinical skills
  • remediation of mandatory core clinical experiences

What sorts of activities do not qualify?

  • a third week in the same experience doing all experiences in the same department, even if it is with different faculty sponsors
  • an experience that is continous with a core clinical experience and has the same faculty person evaluating the student for the FCE as for the core experience (i.e., an FCE cannot be used to enhance your evaluation of a core experience)
  • an experience unrelated to healthcare, or not supervized by a qualified sponsor
  • conference attendance if the student is not presenting his/her own work
  • FCE cannot be used to study for the boards

Evaluation & Assessment (e*Value)

All FCE evaluation and assessment is managed by UMMS Institutional Research, Evaluation, and Assessment (IREA) via e*Value, a web-based application which allows users to submit evaluations from an active internet connection. For e*Value questions see UMMS eValue FAQs – Educators

What additional considerations are required for a Capstone FCE?

  • FCE supervisor may be the CSD advisor, but we recommend identifying a different supervisor
  • Capstone FCEs must be able to stand on their own merit, though they can be used to support Capstone efforts
  • Capstone FCE proposals must be submitted at least one calendar month in advance of the FE term to allow time for CSD advisor review and approval of the proposal objectives
  • A maximum of two Capstone FCEs per student will be approved

See the "Designing an FCE" FAQ on the FCE Program website for more information.

CCE-MS3 Questions

Are the dates of the FCE weeks built in around surgery and OB flexible?

The nine (9) flexible experience (FE) terms are “hard-scheduled” to be aligned with the clerkship rotations, such that there is one FE “attached” to each of the nine clerkship blocks (see “calendar” below); unless otherwise pre-arranged, FE dates are not flexible. Students’ four FE terms are assigned according to their CCE block assignments, specifically aligned with the two medicine and two surgery rotations. The FE schedule is only as “flexible” as the student’s clerkship schedule can be; that is, if a student changes/swaps his/her clerkship rotations, the FE term(s) “travels” with the rotation.

For example, the CCE assignment: Block 1: FC, PE, PS; Block 2: SU, OB, SU; Block 3: ME, ME, NU, assigns the FE terms: FE4, FE6, FE7, FE8.
[for the sake of the example] let’s say one swaps Blocks 1 & 2 such that: Block 1: SU, OB, SU; Block 2: FC, PE, PS; Block 3: ME, ME, NU --> the FE term assignment becomes FE1, FE3, FE7, FE8

Having “said” all of the above… While it does take planning, it is certainly possible to schedule a self-designed FCE during the winter & spring breaks in lieu of assigned FE terms.

Block: FE Calendar AY2014-2015

Block 1A: FE1 6.9.2014 - 6.13.2014
Block 1B: FE2 6.16.2014 - 6.20.2014
Block 1C: FE3 7.21.2014 - 7.25.2014

Block 2A: FE4 9.29.2014 - 10.3.2014
Block 2B: FE5 10.6.2014 - 10.10.2014
Block 2C: FE6 12.8.2014 - 12.12.2014

Block 3A: FE7 2.2.2015 - 2.6.2015
Block 3B: FE8 3.9.2015 - 3.13.2015
Block 3C: FE9 3.23.2015 - 3.27.2015

FE-spring break 3.16.2015 - 3.20.2015

What is a "Capstone FCE"?

Use the Capstone self-designed FCE to develop a unique experience that will specifically inform your Capstone project. You may or may not decide to ask your Capstone project advisor to be your FCE supervisor; you may want to gain experience in a department that does not naturally “fit” into your project plan; or you may want to work with another professional who has expertise in your topic. The Capstone FCE must not serve simply as “more time” to work on your project (e.g., extra digging in the library); it must be a distinct, independent piece that informs your project. You may design up to two distinct Capstone FCEs.

What should I do if I have a really awful FCE experience?

Contact the FCE program administration immediately via UMMSFCEProgram@umassmed.edu

What are the student responsibilities prior to the start of an FCE?

Please refer to Day-One Instructions on the FCE handout to ensure that you report to right place at the right time Contact the FCE supervisor at least one week prior to the FCE start date to introduce yourself Contact the FCE administration as soon as possible if you have any problems contacting the FCE supervisor please contact the supervisor and the FCE administration if you are unable to show up for the first day of the FCE

FCE Sponsors & Supervisors

What is the Student Clinical Education Hours Policy?

As working significant numbers of hours continuously has been shown to contribute to reduction in performance and increased incidence of significant errors in work, the clinical faculty of the University of Massachusetts Medical School require the following: In order to allow medical students to perform maximally—to effectively assist in the clinical care of patients and to learn from their patients, clinical medical students will be expected to follow ACGME intern clinical work hour restrictions. [Approved by CDC October 2010, implementation July 1, 2011]

read more....

Do grades have to be turned in for the student to receive credit?

FCEs are not graded, per se. However faculty sponsors are required to complete an assessment of each student's performance, including the recommendation that the student receives (or does not receive) credit. All student assessment and program & FCE evaluation will be done via e*Value at the end of each FE term. (see Evaluation & Assessment above)

What is the difference between an FCE supervisor and an FCE sponsor?

A healthcare professional who directly supervises and evaluates your FCE experience is designated as your FCE supervisor. Every FCE also requires a UMMS faculty member to be named as a sponsor. For most FCEs offered within UMMS, the FCE sponsor and supervisor are the same person. However, if your FCE supervisor does not hold a faculty position, you will also be assigned a faculty sponsor to oversee the FCE experience. For self-designed FCEs outside UMMS, it is the student's responsibility to identify a UMMS faculty member as the FCE sponsor.

What are the responsibilities of the "UMMS faculty sponsor" for FCEs supervised by a non-UMMS physician and done outside UMMS?

  • act as liaison to FCE program administration on behalf of non-UMMS faculty sponsor
  • act as liaison to FCE program administration on behalf of student
  • if necessary, collate multiple student assessments in order to assign credit to student
  • assist student in naming an evaluating supervisor, if other than yourself

What is the policy and process to have a "non-UMMS" faculty supervisor, from another institution?

Students may work with a doctor (or other approved healthcare professional) outside the medical school as long as a UMMS faculty sponsor who can and will vouch for the experience is named, and there is a clear objective and brief description of what the student will do. The outside supervisor will receive the program evaluation. If the student has problems finding a faculty sponsor, Dr. Malkani will sponsor the FCE if FCE details are provided, and there is assurance from the outside professional that they are willing to do a week-long experience with the student.

Note: please identify UMMS faculty sponsors on the proposal form, including affiliation(s) of non-UMMS supervisor.

Is it possible to remediate an FCE?

This is a credit or no-credit experience and we anticipate that failure to earn a credit grade in the FCE will be a rare occurrence as these are student driven electives. The final decision on whether remediation by the student is needed for this elective lies with the faculty mentor or sponsor. Remediation will have to be done before graduation, either in the same elective, or if this is not possible, in a different FCE elective. If a serious professional issue is identified during the FCE elective, they may be included in the MSPE. All individual failures will be reviewed by the program director. Absences due to illness will be reviewed by the faculty sponsor and any decision for remediation will be taken in consultation with the program director.

Can an FCE be used to remediate a required FOM1 or FOM2 course??

Yes, with approval from the course leader of the course in need of remediation Remediation may require a specially designed FCE

What is the role of the FCE Supervisor

  • Parking Access to facility
  • Clear schedule for each day to be provided at start of FCE
  • Any credentialing required
  • Communication with department or clinic administrator or nurse managers about the program and expectations on working with students

 

FCE Advisory Committee

What is the role of the FCE Advisory Committee?

  • Provide formative evaluation of the program based on periodic reviews by the committee of feedback by students and faculty
  • Review evaluations of students who are not awarded a passing grade
  • Review and take a decision on student appeals on grades
  • Review aggregate of evaluations by students and faculty
  • Review individual student feedback at the request of FCE director
  • Review and approve self-designed experiences at the request of the FCE course director
  • Review proposals outside of the specified guidelines at the request of the FCE director
  • Address concerns about lottery process at the request of the FCE director
  • Help in recruitment of faculty as sponsors for new FCE’s, and provides ideas for new FCE’s
  • Advocate for support for faculty sponsors within the institution, and for outside sponsors and help in developing guidelines for compensation for sponsors of FCE’s.

 

FCE EVOS

How does EVOS work in terms of designing your own FCE? Is there an option on EVOS that allows you to do that?

Select FC381 Student Design as if it’s a regular FCE (select your preferred Time Frame). Don't forget to submit your proposal via the FCE Program website.

I was wondering—for the Dominican Republic trip, how should that be entered as an option? And since that takes place during Spring break, I was told that we would use an FCE week in place of the break week?

Select FC369 Dominican Republic as if it’s a regular FCE (select Time Frame FE-SB for spring break). If you really want to go, and know that you can, make the DR trip your first preferred.

You may also select the DR trip as a 5th FCE. Add that request via the comment box at the end of the selection process, so we can add it by hand before all the enrollment information goes to the registrar’s office.

re: using spring break in lieu of an assigned FE... FE-SB (spring break) is specifically available for FCEs 381 Self-Designed, Capstone Self-Designed, and 369 Dominican Republic trip. Students may request of FCE supervisors that a "special section" be offered during FE-SB, in which case the student is allowed to drop one assigned FE term.

I am currently working on making my own FCE...but am not sure if it is going to work out. Is it possible to sign up for an FCE and then defer to a self-developed FCE if it comes together?

Yes. In fact, unless you are absolutely sure that you will be able to plan a self-designed FCE, the best strategy is to select pre-designed FCEs at this time. (see "Flexible Experience (FE) Term Dates & Deadlines" below)