BACKGROUND: Preclinical students often fail to appreciate the clinical relevance of basic sciences
during the first year of undergraduate medical training, leading them to lose interest in the subject,
and preventing them from achieving the desired goals. In order to rectify this gap in the curriculum,
Medical Council of India (MCI) in 2011 published a document announcing curricular strategies
including Early Clinical Exposure (ECE) to effectively modify the Indian system of education. Lack
of proper guidance prevented many institutions from implementing ECE. Since our institution had
run a similar program of “Clinical Observership” as early as 2001, we were able to implement ECE
in an efficient way.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Early clinical exposure was implemented as a structured program,
with the participation of 10 clinical departments since 2013. Feedback from the students, soon after
ECE and also from the batch of CRRIs, who had undergone this program while they were preclinical
students amply support the effectiveness of ECE in its contents and methods of implementation.
Manual content analysis was performed on open comments. After reading the responses, they were
broken down to meaning units, and these were then condensed. The condensed meaning units
were labeled with codes. The codes were grouped into categories. Themes were derived from the
RESULTS: Out of the 70 CRRIs, 52 responded to the questionnaire. All the CRRIs except one said
that ECE was very helpful during their clinical postings and internship period. They suggested that
the number of hours of posting should be increased and also reiterated the fact that a greater number
of clinical departments could be included in the program. Though the beneficial effects were felt in
all the domains of learning, the most remarkable impact was felt in the affective domain, wherein
changes are not easy to come by.
DISCUSSION: Recently, National Medical Council has come out with plans of including ECE in
the syllabus with strict time schedule. It is felt that the faculty will find our experience of running the
program for the past five years helpful in implementing this program, for the fullest benefit of the