Second Year

Pediatric Clerkship

The fundamental pediatric course for all students comprises a four-week pediatric clerkship, emphasizing inpatient and nursery experiences, along with a 16-week longitudinal ambulatory care component as part of the PIONEER curriculum in the second year.

About the clerkship:

  • The primary objective is to expose students to the field of child health.
  • Students undergo a diverse range of experiences aimed at providing a comprehensive understanding of pediatric concepts.
  • Students become familiar with and proficient in basic information-gathering tools such as history-taking, physical examination, and interpretation of laboratory data.
  • Students develop an approach to integrating this information to address health and illness problems in infancy, childhood, and adolescence. This integration is guided by the basic principles of pathophysiology introduced in first-year courses, including the patient-first curriculum. Case studies based on patients assigned to the student provide a focal point for learning.

In addition to documenting a thorough history and physical examination, students are expected to formulate an appropriate differential diagnosis and conduct relevant literature searches for each patient. They should be capable of presenting each case in a clear and concise manner, monitoring the patient's progress, and interpreting diagnostic studies. Learning sources include Aquifer cases, standard textbooks, journals, current publications, conferences, topic-based learning, online modules created by Duke faculty, and interactions with various individuals in the clinical setting, including house staff, faculty, nurses, parents, and others. Interaction with children is particularly valuable for learning.

Objectives of the clerkship include understanding the roles of other health care team members in pediatrics, both in ambulatory and hospital settings. Patient care may involve collaboration with nurses, social workers, case managers, speech therapists, psychologists, physiotherapists, dietitians, and others. Emphasis is placed on the importance of interprofessional education and collaboration.

For any inquiries about the clerkship, please contact the Director of Pediatric Medical Student Education, Samrat Umasankar Das, MBBS


The Department of Pediatrics offers a number of selectives, including opportunities in Adolescent Medicine, Child Abuse Consult Service, Developmental Care of the Sick Newborn, Genetics and Metabolism, Pediatric Gastroenterology, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, and Pediatric Neurology. NOTE: Not all selectives are available every term. Please refer to the Office of the Registrar website and look under “2nd Year MD Students” for a list of currently available selectives.