Physical Examination

Physical exam skills are the one thing that cannot be self-taught very well. It requires someone experienced to confirm or refute your findings. Thus, it is important to make sure someone experienced observes you performing physical examinations, the more times, the better.

The College of Medicine developed a list of abnormal physical examination findings that every graduating medical student should be able to identify. The list below is required on the medicine clerkship. You will have a card that a faculty or resident should sign off when you independently identify the abnormality. This card is turned in to Ms. Pipkins.

Medicine Abnormal Physical Exam Finding Checklist

You should be able to independently recognize the following abnormal findings common in internal medicine patients.

  1. Edema
  2. Goiter/abnormal thyroid size
  3. Pulmonary crackles
  4. Wheezes
  5. Dullness to percussion
  6. Irregularly irregular pulse
  7. Arterial bruit
  8. Heart murmur
  9. S3 gallop
  10. Jugular venous distension

Comprehensive physical examination

  • Performed on every new patient
  • If observed performing a comprehensive physical exam, use the observed physical exam form for feedback
  • Observed physical exam feedback form

Focused physical exam

  • When observed performing part of a physical exam, use the Mini-CEX to promote feedback
  • One Mini-CEX History and one Mini-CEX PE is required in your zip file to Ms. Pipkins