Hybrid Problem-Based Learning Curriculum

Focused on Patients, Teamwork and Problem-Solving

The NSU MD program was developed by a team of 100 medical educators, physicians and researchers with decades of field experience. As compared to passive, lecture-style teaching, the college’s curriculum is designed to prepare you to interact with patients and health care team members more effectively. 

 curriculum  curriculum

Active Learning: Just 7-8 Students Per Cohort

The innovative curriculum integrates didactics on ethics and humanities, genomics, inter-professional collaboration, biomedical informatics, and leadership, with heavy emphasis on research, technology and innovation.

Our students train to become active learners, work in smaller groups, (7-8 students per cohort), and learn to solve medical problems through active inquiry, under faculty facilitator direction.

Using clinical cases and a team-based approach, you’ll solve complex problems by honing your diagnosis skills. The program leverages both simulated patients and real-world examples.

Curriculum Schematic
 Download Curriculum Schematic PDF
Sample Week
 Download Sample Week PDF
2018-19 Academic Calendar
 Download 2018-19 Academic Calendar PDF
2019-20 Academic Calendar
 Download 2019-20 Academic Calendar PDF

Think. Diagnose. Treat. Repeat.

Each day, NSU MD students tackle complex cases in tight-knit teams. They learn to think critically, diagnose effectively and treat patients as the center of every case.

Think. Diagnose. Treat. Repeat.

Each day, NSU MD students tackle complex cases in tight-knit teams. They learn to think critically, diagnose effectively and treat patients as the center of every case.

Nine General Competencies Students Must Master

  • Medical Knowledge (MK): Students will apply evidence-based medicine principles of biomedical, clinical, epidemiological and social-behavioral sciences to guide diagnosis, treatment and patient care decisions.
  • Patient Care (PC): Students will use knowledge and skills during clinical encounters to gather necessary information and apply evidence to develop appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic plans that enhance health and treat disease.
  • System Based Practice (SBP): Students will demonstrate an awareness of, and responsiveness to, the larger context and system of healthcare, utilizing other resources in the system to provide care for patients. Students will acknowledge the relationship between the patient, the community and the healthcare system and the impact on health of culture, economics, the environment, health literacy, health policy and advocacy to determine their role within these social and system dynamics.
  • Practice Based Learning and Improvement (PBLI): Students will be able to actively set and pursue clear learning goals and exploit new opportunities for intellectual growth and development. They will demonstrate the ability to generate critical, reliable, valid self-assessment(s) and use this knowledge for self-regulation and to promote their development. Students will be able to recognize and thoroughly characterize a problem, develop an informed plan of action, act to resolve the problem and subsequently assess the result(s) of their action.
  • Interpersonal Skills and Communication (ISC): Students will listen attentively and communicate clearly with patients, families, peers, faculty and other members of the healthcare team: establishing rapport; fostering, forming and maintaining therapeutic relationships with patients; effectively gathering and providing information during interactions with others and participating in collaborative decision making that is patient-focused.
  • Ethics and Professionalism (EP): Students will carry out professional responsibilities with the highest standards of excellence and integrity, consistent with the Honor Code and with adherence to ethical principles. Students will value the humanity of all and demonstrate accountability to both patient and society by placing the patient first and advocating for improved access and just distribution of resources.
  • Interprofessional Collaboration (IPC): Students will demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care, as well as the ability to call effectively on other resources in the system to provide optimal health care.
  • Personal and Professional Development and Wellness (PPDW): Students will demonstrate the qualities required to sustain lifelong personal and professional growth and wellness.
  • Scholarly Inquiry (SI): Students will recognize the central importance of discovery, understand how current medical knowledge is scientifically justified and evolves, and critically appraise and incorporate new information in the practice of evidence-based medicine.

Curriculum Phases

The pre-clerkship phase of the curriculum is compressed and occupies a total of 16 months (from August of Year 1 through December of Year 2), allowing the clinical phase (Year 3 required clerkships and Year 4 electives) to begin in March of the second academic year.

Year 1 begins with a two-week Orientation and Professional Immersion which will include 1) the students' first learning experience with students from other health professions, 2) interactive lecture/demonstrations focusing on the doctor-patient relationship, 3) experiences in the simulation center including basic cardiac life support training; 4) orientation to the problem-based learning (PBL) process and a practice PBL case; 5) a session focusing on maintaining personal wellness as a medical student; and 6) small group discussion of scenarios related to professionalism that will culminate in the students as a class writing their own Class Oath to recite at the White Coat Ceremony.

The remainder of Year 1 and Year 2 are made up of basic science blocks which are integrated across disciplines and organ systems, using a hybrid PBL model. The introductory block focuses on core principles in anatomy, histology, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, and physiology and is followed by a series of blocks designed around organ systems. Each block occupies 18-20 hours per week of scheduled activities. The clinical courses include clinical skills training with SPs, patient care experiences in the offices of primary care preceptors, and small group discussions focusing on curricular threads (e.g., genomics, research, ethics, biomedical informatics). The clinical courses occupy 4 hours per week in fall semester of Year 1 and 8 hours per week thereafter.

At the end of each foundational science block there is a Reflection, Integration and Assessment (RIA) Week, which will include cumulative summative assessments (examinations, OSCEs) that address a range of competencies and 8-12 hours of scheduled curricular activities related to curricular threads (e.g., leadership, inter-professional collaboration) plus reflection exercises and student affairs activities such as Careers in Medicine.

The required clerkships (Year 3) include 48 weeks divided into three 16-week Clerkship Modules, each of which includes two core clerkships (Internal Medicine and Family Medicine, Surgery and Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pediatrics and Psychiatry) followed by two RIA Weeks. During the RIA Weeks, students will take the NBME subject ("shelf") examinations for both clerkships and participate in other scheduled assessment and curricular activities.

The final phase (Year 4) starts in March of the third academic year and includes 4 weeks of required research, a minimum of 28 weeks of electives, and 12 weeks for residency interviews or additional electives.

Scheduled Weeks Per Year

CURRICULUM Weeks
Pre-clerkship Segment 64*
Required Clerkships 50*
Required Research 4
Year/Phase Four 28
Total Weeks of Scheduled Instruction 146

 

* Includes Orientation/Transition Weeks: Two weeks at the beginning of Year 1, one week at the beginning of Required Clerkships and one week at the end of Required Clerkships.