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Duration: 2-4 week rotation
Course Offered: Throughout the year

Rotation Overview: Endocrinology

The Endocrine rotation will include clinical experience and some educational discussions as time allows.  Students will see patients in the office with the physician, diabetes educators and nutritionists; also may see patients with nurse practitioner or physician assistant if there is an appropriate interesting case.  On occasion, there may be an opportunity to see a patient in the hospital but this is not common.  

The following is an outline of the most common diseases and associated issues seen in the Endocrine Clinic. In a 2-4 week rotation, student will have opportunity to: 

1. Learn about diabetes:

  • Pathophysiology of all forms of diabetes.
  • The importance of life-style in type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes
  • Various drugs in current clinical use and upcoming drugs --both oral and injectable.
  • Discover what patients learn in diabetes education classes
  • Learn about the various nutrition counseling sessions patients attend
  • Learn how to interpret finger stick blood glucose data, and make treatment decisions based on this.
  • Use of insulin pumps: how to set up, program, and manage. Also learn when an insulin pump is appropriate. 
  • Use of continuous glucose monitors for diagnosing problems in diabetes management and also for patient personal use.
  • Combination of insulin pumps with continuous glucose monitors.
  • Patient's challenges with treatment and complications. Learn how to treat diabetes complications.
  • The multitude of complications from diabetes, which can affect multiple organs.
  • The big diabetes studies: DCCT, UKPDS, DPP and others.
  • Discuss the history of diabetes knowledge and the discovery of insulin (if time permits and student is interested).  

2. Learn about thyroid diagnosis, treatment and long-term management, specifically for:

  • Autoimmune thyroid disease
  • Protocol for thyroid nodule 
  • Toxic goiter -single nodules and multiple nodules
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Thyroid cancer

3. Learn about the neck ultrasound:

Patients with thyroid and parathyroid disease may need neck ultrasound, which is done in the office by the preceptor, and student will be expected to learn about neck ultrasound technique and how to identify neck structures on ultrasound.  Student may gain experience in performing thyroid/parathyroid ultrasound, and also will see thyroid biopsies done in the office by the preceptor. (parathyroid biopsies also done at times but far less common)

4. Learn how to diagnose and manage pituitary diseases:

  • Cushing's Disease
  • Acromegaly
  • Hyperprolactinemia
  • Central hypogonadism
  • Central glucocorticoid deficiency

5. Learn how to diagnose and treat hyperparathyroidism. Identify appropriate patients for surgery. 

6. Learn how to work up for adrenal diseases.

7. Learn about male Hypogonadism.

8. Learn about metabolic issues of polycystic ovarian disease.

9. Learn about management of Osteoporosis and occasionally will see patients with other bone diseases

10. Interpretation of tests and studies:  

  • Student will learn how to interpret various endocrine lab tests and imaging studies such as nuclear medicine thyroid and parathyroid scans, pituitary MRI, adrenal CT scan, and bone densitometry scan.

Also, the preceptor has various power-point presentations about endocrine topics which may be shown as time permits and based on student interest.

Students Report To:

Melissa Owens
Medical Student Coordinator

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