Longitudinal Clinical Experiences (LCEs)

Course Description: 

“In the Longitudinal Clinical Experience (LCE) courses (PAP 110, 120, 130), students participate in practicums, which, by definition, expose them to the practical aspects of clinical medicine. From the first semester in the program, students consistently describe how these LCE opportunities help to solidify their knowledge and enhance their level of confidence. These experiences only strengthen their confidence and competence in Year 2 during clinical rotations”

LCE is longitudinal clinical experience (called Longitudinal Placements or LPs at McMaster’s PA Program). We are expected to do 30 to 40 hours Max, in any clinical setting.

In certain semesters, we have certain requirements for areas of medicine. For example, 10 hours of LCE has to be primary care, which includes family medicine as well as emergency medicine. And you can do the remaining hours in other specialties.

The thing about LCEs is you are expected to reach out and network and, this goes back to the importance of networking skills.

We are given an LCE database of clinical preceptors and locations, to reach out to people who’ve taken students on before. These LCEs are done based on your interests, and you do these clinical placements and again, throughout the week.

Tuesdays are officially allocated for those placements. Your day could range from just four hours of clinic, or 10 hours like when a General Surgery LCE which was from 7:30 a to 5:30 PM. So it can be short or long days.

Every semester has a different requirement and as you progress through 1st year PA school, you’ll find that second and third semesters LCE requirements are more focused on specialties. While first semester you have primary care as well as allied health professionals, which is when I was able to do those super cool, EMS places and with the paramedics.

Expectations as on an Observer on LCE Placements

Expectations of PA students during LCE placements varies with the setting. For example, with my paramedics placement, I wasn’t able to do anything. There was a lot of observership and I did have a lot of discussions with the paramedics – like what their thought process was in that emergent situation and why they did certain things. For those kinds of experiences, you’re writing a reflection piece, reflecting on what your goals were going in and what you learned throughout what things we found challenging .

If the LCE was in a more clinical setting, like when I did general surgery or when I did family medicine and ER, you do write S.O.A.P. notes. In first semester PA school you are expected to write a certain number of SOAP notes and reflections.

In addition to the paramedic placement, I did the coroner’s office, which was another interesting experience where I could reflect on how I felt during the experience.