9.6 Clerkship Communication Policy

Policy Statement

Communication in all directions between the student, clerkship, and site is needed to successfully get the student to Day 1 of required and elective clerkships in the Patient Care and Explore and Focus Phases. Some communication may be weeks to months in advance while other communication may be days in advance.

Interested Parties Involved in the Clerkship

There are many interested parties involved in setting up clerkships as depicted in the figure below.

Interested Party Involved in the Clerkship

Figure 1: This figure explains the relationship among the interested parties that make up the   educational experience

Requirements, Procedures and Guidelines


In advance of a clerkship, the student will be contacted about credentialing deadlines.

  • It is essential that students adhere to these deadlines.
  • Many clerkships have a departmental website where students can find credentialing deadlines.
  • At some sites, credentialing may need to be started as early as 4 months in advance; for most sites, credentialing needs to be started at least 6 weeks prior to the start date. 

Communication Timeliness

  • Administrators and coordinators work normal business hours, Monday through Friday. Emails sent outside of business hours may not receive a response for 1-3 business days.
  • Students are encouraged to ask questions in advance and not wait until the last minute.
  • As per the Attendance & Absentee Policy – Clinical Phases, students are responsible for requesting anticipated time-off no later than 6 weeks prior to the start of the rotation. This allows clerkship directors and administrators an opportunity to make the appropriate accommodations to the student schedule.
  • If students anticipate other scheduling needs**, including those related to healthcare access and/or Disability Resources for Students (see Relevant Policies and Resources below), it is essential that these are communicated in advance and that clerkships respond in a timely manner in advance of the start date.
  • Students will be contacted about an upcoming clerkship prior to the start date with general information related to the following:
    • Site director and coordinator
    • Orientation, when applicable
    • General expectations related to clinical schedules, particularly related to evenings and weekends. For many but not all clerkships, clinical schedule details may not be available until the start of the rotation. **Anticipated scheduling needs should be communicated and handled in advance of the clerkship to help meet student needs.
    • FAQs related to housing, transportation to sites, obtaining badges, and so forth.

If students have not been contacted within 2 weeks of the start of the rotation, they should email the Department Administrator for the course.


  • Students should only be contacting the registrar to make schedule changes related to timing of the clerkship. Students should not directly contact the site to be added or overbooked for the clerkship. All students should have the same chance to get a required clerkship in the complicated scheduling algorithm.
  • DROP/ADD changes to a clerkship less than 6 weeks before the start date must be discussed with the clerkship administrator/director. The Office of Student Affairs may also be involved.
  • The E*Value system, managed by the Office of Student Affairs, is where to find up-to-date clerkship availability.
  • Given the busy schedules of students, sites, and clerkships, it is better to over-communicate than under-communicate

Effective Date: March 5, 2024

Last updated: March 5, 2024

Relevant Policies and Resources:

  1. Attendance & Absentee Policy – Clinical Phases
  2. Student Access to Anticipated Healthcare Policy
  3. Disability Resources for Students

Policy Contact: UW School of Medicine, Curriculum Office, somgov@uw.edu; Education Quality Improvement Office, eqi@uw.edu