The VA Longitudinal Undergraduate Medical Education clerkship, often referred to as VALUE, places a tremendous effort in creating the best experience for students– and patients.

“Longitudinal Integrated Clerkships (LICs) allow for continuity of relationships with patients, preceptors, and the healthcare system,” said Dr. Nacide Ercan-Fang, co-director of VALUE.

Throughout the entirety of the ten-month clerkship, students follow the same patients– sometimes more than thirty in total.

Not only do they have the chance to bond with patients, but also their preceptors.

“Students have a wonderful opportunity to form relationships with their preceptors and explore their career interests, all during their ten-month stay,” says Dr. Amy Candy, co-director of VALUE.

In addition, students have the ability to gain experience with quality improvement projects and patient safety.

“Participating in this clerkship has only further emphasized my interest in the importance of building patient relationships,” says VALUE student Casey Smith.

And though the benefits to students seem almost incalculable, the patients benefit tremendously as well.

“VALUE helps patients by allowing them to have someone– a person they can count on– to help them navigate a system that can be difficult to navigate at times. Someone that can support them, and answer any questions that they might have throughout the process,” says Smith.

The feedback, collected via survey, has been incredibly positive– patients that were followed by students reported significantly higher patient satisfaction rates than those who weren’t.

“I think patients really appreciate having the student by their side, throughout the entirety of their care journey,” says Dr. Candy.

But the value of the program doesn’t stop there. It also serves as an important recruitment tool for the VA Medical Center.

“Several students that participated in the VALUE clerkship said that they would be interested in returning after they complete their training,” says Dr. Ercan-Fang.