Clinical Rotations

Hands-on clinical experience is critical to any medical curriculum, which is why PA Online students spend over half the program completing clinical rotations. Yale placement specialists identify and secure placement sites that uphold YSM’s academic and professional standards. Our specialists will attempt to place students near their home communities, however, students may need to travel to complete rotations if there are no sites available that meet Yale’s standards while allowing the student to remain at home. Any costs related to travel, housing or food for distant clinical sites are the responsibility of the student.

During clinical rotations, students gain real-world experience working in teams and honing the skills and knowledge learned in classes. Mandatory rotations represent a broad scope of medical practice, but students focus on a particular interest through elective rotations.

Students may work in a range of settings, such as inpatient hospital settings, outpatient primary care clinics, pediatric clinics, hospital emergency rooms, nursing homes, operating rooms, and psychiatric facilities.

Mandatory Rotations

Students complete rotations across seven focus areas:

  • Emergency Medicine (4 weeks)
  • General Surgery (4 weeks)
  • Women’s Health (4 weeks)
  • Primary Care I, II, and III (12 weeks)
  • Pediatrics I and II (8 weeks)
  • Behavioral Medicine (4 weeks)
  • Internal Medicine I, II, and III (12 weeks)

See clinical course descriptions here.

Elective Rotations

Students complete three elective rotations which will last a total of 12 weeks. Sample elective rotations include:

  • Ambulatory Medicine
  • Cardiology
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Neonatology
  • Pediatric ED
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Dermatology
  • Hematology/Oncology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Surgical Intensive Care Unit

At no time are students required to identify or obtain clinical training sites for their education. Students may make recommendations to the program, but only the PA program can assign students to a given site during a specific time frame.

Students are not permitted to substitute for clinical or administrative staff during supervised clinical practice experiences. Violation of these policies will result in a referral to the Academic Affairs Committee.

Continuing Medical Education (CME) Courses

During their clinical rotations, students have access to supplemental Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses. This material is recorded by Yale PA Online faculty and made available online through our portal. There are two formats:

  • Short lectures: Our 45-minute lectures offer helpful clinical information and guidance. They will also address common questions students might encounter throughout their clinical rotation experience.
  • Lecture series: These themed lecture segments, which are each 8-12 hours total, dig deeper into a few topics and can be completed at a student’s leisure. These include:
    • Care of the LGBTQ patient
    • Diabetes education
    • Human trafficking
    • Nutrition
    • Obesity
    • Palliative care
    • Substance abuse – alcohol

Master’s Capstone

The Master’s Capstone is a research project conducted during the clinical phase of the curriculum. Students will identify an evidence-based medicine question, conduct a literature search, analyze selected articles, and develop a paper of publishable quality. Additionally, the student will prepare and present an oral presentation on their topic. Students have one rotation (4 weeks) in the clinical year set aside for completion of the Capstone.

To learn more about Yale PA Online, request information and an admissions counselor will contact you.