Virtual Radiology Clerkship

Virtual Radiology Clerkship to the Rescue

October 6, 2020 | Perspectives

When the pandemic hit, Harvard Medical School called upon the radiology clerkship committee to provide a virtual clerkship. With one week of preparation, we constructed the 4-week clerkship around the 19 Aquifer Radiology modules and a combination of large group lectures and small group homerooms.

Student Experience: Bridging the Gap Between Coursework and Patient Care

September 17, 2020 | Perspectives

This summer I began my first clinical rotation of my third year in Family Medicine. Due to local COVID-19 precautions, the first half of our rotation was being conducted virtually. During that time, we were encouraged to complete the Aquifer Family Medicine cases. In my experience, the cases were a helpful bridge to patient care from my coursework…

Easing the Transition to Clinic: An Approach to Preparing Students

September 10, 2020 | Perspectives

This year, COVID added additional challenges to the difficult transition from pre-clinical to clinical/clerkship years by limiting student and faculty interactions during the traditional orientation week. We used Aquifer to create an online Orientation Course for our LIC students that addressed multiple key concepts and facets of the transition to the clinical/clerkship years and allowed our team to focus our limited in-person time on crucial activities.

Using Aquifer Cases Effectively: Perspective of a Third-Year Medical Student

August 24, 2020 | Perspectives

Having just completed my third year of medical school, I can confidently say that Aquifer has been highly useful for my learning. I found that its clinical relevance and stepwise learning process combined to make it a one-of-a-kind learning resource. Here are a few of my recommendations to clinical educators so that students of all medical disciplines can get the most out of Aquifer.

Creating Advanced Compare and Contrast Learning with Aquifer Case Modifications

August 12, 2020 | Perspectives

In our Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship, students transitioned patient-based clinical learning from real patient to Aquifer cases in late March. These more advanced level clerks required that virtual cases have increased complexity to adequately challenge them and continue building their clinical skills. In order to meet these learning demands, Aquifer cases were introduced as written and then modified in preceptor lead discussions to encourage further clinical reasoning skill development.

Student feedback summary graphic

Providing Formative Feedback Via Summary Statements

July 16, 2020 | Perspectives

In many Aquifer cases, students are asked to write out a one to three sentence summary statement that mimics the communication skills they need on rounds, calling consults, and writing patient progress notes. Reviewing a selection of these statements provides an opportunity for faculty to provide meaningful, targeted feedback on clinical reasoning skills.

Filling a Gap: Creating an Elective on Tough Conversations & End of Life Care

July 8, 2020 | Perspectives

Medical schools have always worked hard to provide fourth-year students with clinical knowledge. But far less time is dedicated to effective, delicately nuanced conversations about diagnoses and prognoses with patients and their families. This gap isn’t new, but it’s being exacerbated by the pandemic. In response, we created an online elective dedicated entirely to learning, thinking about, and practicing these difficult communication skills.

Student Perspectives: Practical Tips for Assigning Cases

June 24, 2020 | Perspectives

Students provide consistently high rankings for Aquifer as reported in our five-star rating feedback data, but how and when cases are integrated into the curriculum can have a significant impact on their learning. Find out what themes emerged when we ask students what methods are most effective–and discover practical tips for assigning Aquifer cases based on student feedback.

Making Connections Across the Curriculum

Making Connections Throughout the Curriculum

June 10, 2020 | Perspectives

We have integrated Aquifer Geriatrics cases in several different ways throughout our Geriatrics and Healthy Aging Curriculum thread. First-year students have a modified team-based learning session around the Dementia case. In the third year, cases prepare students for oral presentations on rounds…

Returning to Real Patients: Preparing with a Virtual Rotation

Returning to Real Patients: Preparing with a Virtual Rotation

June 2, 2020 | Perspectives

Like everyone else, our school needed to develop alternatives for our new fourth-year students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With an uncertain return date for students at a range of clinical sites, we decided to build virtual, asynchronous electives that would help prepare students for their clinical rotations, and especially their Acting Internships. We leveraged a range of case-based online modules to cover different disciplines, including Aquifer and WISE.

Virtual Peer Teaching with Aquifer

May 19, 2020 | Perspectives

When the COVID 19 pandemic interrupted our first-year medical students’ longitudinal primary care practicum (PCP), we needed to find an alternative that addressed one of its most important goals: helping students to focus the comprehensive history, exam, and documentation that they’re taught in the clinical skills course into a primary care-appropriate presentation and SOAP note. Our thoughts turned quickly to Aquifer, which is used by our internal medicine and pediatrics clerkships. Many Aquifer cases integrate well with the basic science topics our first-year courses, but most seemed a little too advanced for a mid-first year student. At the same time, senior students were eager to find ways to help, so we decided to combine Aquifer cases with ‘virtual’ peer teaching via videoconference.


Adapting to a Shortened Virtual Clerkship

May 12, 2020 | Perspectives

Like many others, Boston University moved to a shortened virtual-only clerkship (packed with the full knowledge of our regular in-person 6-week clerkship, of course) in March of 2020. We were able to leverage Aquifer cases as a framework for preceptor discussion sessions and learning activities. The plan outlined below was for our 2-week virtual pediatrics clerkship, but I think the framework could apply to a variety of clerkships or courses transitioning to virtual group discussions.


Hospital Systems Learning: A Virtual Case-based Framework

May 12, 2020 | Perspectives

For those of us using virtual education time to prep students for eventual return to clinical settings, using an Aquifer case as a framework for an interactive orientation or hospital operations training session will better prepare students and interns to hit the ground running and take full advantage of rotations which, in many cases, have been shortened in duration.

Strategies for Flipping the Classroom with Aquifer

May 11, 2020 | Perspectives

Aquifer cases can form the basis for a huge variety of classroom sessions that can be easily adapted for virtual learning. Here are some ideas to spark your creativity if you are designing your own activity. Suggested strategies include…

A High-Value Care Course in the Era of COVID-19

April 27, 2020 | Perspectives

It may seem unusual to design and implement a medical student course focused on high-value care in the middle of a pandemic. As third and fourth-year medical students were pulled from clinical duties at the urging of the AAMC, educators at the University of Virginia School of Medicine developed a two-week online course. The course introduced students to an integrative, comprehensive model of high-value care applicable to future clinical practice.


Reframe: Aquifer Cases as Virtual Standardized Patients

April 23, 2020 | Perspectives

Many educators are wondering how to meaningfully engage their students in distance learning activities that create community and allow them to practice important patient care skills (while not seeing patients). While I have been doing peer-to-peer consults with educators around the country about using Aquifer cases in their curriculum, I stumbled into a helpful reframe that seems to be unlocking people’s creativity: Aquifer cases (yep…more than 170 of them!) are virtual standardized patients. Wait…what?