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Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Minnesota)


The physical medicine and rehabilitation elective provides students with experience in a broad scope of physiatric practice through direct patient care, educational conferences, and individual study. Students rotate through the inpatient and outpatient physical medicine and rehabilitation services at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota. To apply for an elective, please review the Application Process tab above for more details. A minimum of two letters of recommendation will be required.

Specific goals

  1. Expose students to the broad spectrum of physiatric practice, including identification of patients who may benefit from physiatric referral
  2. Improve and refine musculoskeletal physical examination, differential diagnosis, and clinical decision-making skills
  3. Expand clinical evaluation skills to include functional assessment of patients with impairments
  4. Develop a greater understanding of the roles of potential rehabilitation team members, including but not limited to physicians, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, recreational therapists, speech therapists, and social workers

Activity outline

Inpatient services

For two weeks, students are assigned to the inpatient services on the rehabilitation unit at Mayo Clinic Hospital – Rochester, Saint Marys Campus. The two service options are the:

  • Brain service, involving traumatic brain injury, stroke, general debilitation, and polytrauma
  • Spine service, involving spinal cord injury, myelopathy, multiple sclerosis, neuropathy, and polytrauma

During the inpatient rotation, students function as rehabilitation team members, assisting in the evaluation and management of patients on the rehabilitation unit. Students are required to follow two to three patients and write daily clinical notes on these patients.

Additional activities include patient admissions, daily teaching rounds, teaching conferences, patient care conferences, management of acute patient care issues, discharge planning, and observing physical and occupational therapy.

Students are under the direct supervision of the staff consultant as well as physical medicine and rehabilitation residents assigned to the service. There are no formal weekend duties or call.

Outpatient services

During the outpatient time, students are assigned to the general outpatient practice on the 14th floor of the Mayo Building (Mayo 14), but may also be assigned to the Spine Center, Musculoskeletal Clinic, Sports Medicine Center, or Hand Clinic.

Physicians on Mayo 14 evaluate a broad spectrum of problems and conditions, including:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders, such as neck, low back, shoulder, knee, and hip pain
  • Neurological diseases, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, peripheral neuropathy, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Vascular disease
  • Arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and other connective tissue diseases
  • Gait disorders
  • Geriatric issues

During the outpatient services, students work closely with staff consultants, review laboratory studies, assist in the clinical decision-making process, and may independently examine and present patients. Students also attend departmental teaching conferences. There are no formal weekend duties or call.

Method of evaluation

Students work closely with staff consultants, who assess performance during the rotation. Residents also evaluate students' performances during the inpatient rotation.

Students are evaluated on their ability to perform a comprehensive history and physical examination, perform appropriate roles as part of the medical team, exhibit self-directed learning, and participate in didactics and conferences.

If you have questions about this rotation, contact: