Learning is what happens between seeing patients: defining clinical access.
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The inability to access clinical placements during the COVID-19 pandemic stimulated us to reflect on key elements of the experience, beyond history taking and examination. We were also mindful of concerns about work readiness of new graduates. We identified seven aspects of clinical experience distinct from those requiring direct patient contact. These are: recognise and contribute to the collective competence of multidisciplinary teams; apply project management principles to the complexities of clinical care; integrate personal and team-based clinical reasoning; deliver patient-centred collaborative care; achieve an integrated perspective of clinical care; demonstrate adaptability to health systems; consolidate professional identity formation. We consider that making these aspects explicit in learning objectives and assessments in medical schools is likely to improve the work-readiness of new graduates and should also be reflected in accreditation standards.
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