Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine | Nutley, NJ | Curriculum Phase 2 Immersion   

Phase 2 Immersion

Phase 2 Immersion

The components of Phase 2 are:

  • Required Clerkships
    • Transitional Clerkship (four weeks)
    • Internal Medicine (eight weeks)
    • Surgery (eight weeks)
    • Family Medicine (eight weeks)
    • Pediatrics (6 weeks)
    • Obstetrics & Gynecology (6 weeks)
    • Psychiatry (6 weeks)
    • Neurology (6 weeks)
    • Emergency Medicine (longitudinal)
  • USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 preparation (twelve weeks)
  • Sub-Internship (four weeks)
  • Critical Care Selective (two weeks)
  • Eight weeks of electives
  • Human Dimension – Phase 2


The clerkship year is a cohesive, integrated experience, with a focus on the developmental acquisition of clinical competence and achievement of the School of Medicine’s 18 Entrustable Professional Activities for entering residency (EPAs).

All students will begin with the Transitional Clerkship, which will aid students in their transition to immersion in the clinical setting. This will include participating in rounds, outpatient work, high-fidelity and task-based simulation, and Standardized Patient (SP) sessions. There will also be a didactic curriculum covering skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the clinical setting. For example, writing notes and orders, finding evidence-based information at the point-of-care, performing a hand-off, phlebotomy, etc.). The Transitional Clerkship provides a “booster” to build off the strong foundation students have received in the Phase 1 Curriculum, ensuring that they are able to hit the ground running as a meaningful contributor to the clinical team on day 1 of their first block clerkship.

Students then proceed through block clerkships as demonstrated in Figure 3 above. Students will participate in a lottery to indicate their preferences for both the sequence of the rotations as well as the region and clinical site for their clerkships. While the clerkship year is divided into blocks, it is an integrated whole. Clinical experiences, development of competencies, and individual growth goals develop over the course of the year, bridging from rotation to rotation.

A central element of the SOM’s vision for its clinical activities is that clinical training occurs in both the outpatient and inpatient settings, in a manner that reflects the locations where health care delivery takes place in the United States. Health and disease occur in the community setting, and the preponderance of health care occurs in the outpatient setting. Therefore, all clerkships will have a significant percentage of their clinical time located in the outpatient setting.

Board Examinations

USMLE Steps 1 and 2

Students prepare for and take USMLE Step 1 immediately after they complete their clerkships.

Students have flexibly scheduled time (up to four weeks) to prepare for and take USMLE Step 2 examination during their Advanced Clinical Rotations; they are encouraged to take it as early as possible during that time frame.

Advanced Clinical Rotations (ACR)

Students are required to take a sub-internship, a critical care selective, and two electives from the SOM’s catalogue. Sub-internship and critical care selection will be taken either during the ACR timeframe or the beginning of the Phase 3 calendar year.

Activities that will be part of a student’s Phase 3 Plan can begin during Advanced Clinical Rotations. For example, a student can begin intensive research work immediately after finishing clerkships and taking Step 1.

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