What does a "Clinical Professor of Medicine" do?

I’m just curious. My grandfather held the above post at USC, but he passed away 10 years before I was born. Would he have been the doctor who leads a group of interns around the hospital, visiting various patients, making points or quizzing the interns about the patients’ diagnosis or condition? Is that what a clinical professor does?

Or has one or more students in her office or clinic, for teaching by example.

This covers varying levels of involvement.

One can have extensive affiliation with a medical school and/or teaching hospital and spend many hours with trainees.

Or, a clinical professor may be someone who is first and foremost a private practice doc, who does a bit of lecturing on the side.

To add a bit …

Some medical schools have parallel tracks for their faculty. In particular, they recognize that the traditional standards and criteria for promotion of a doctor who spends much of his/her time teaching (especially in an apprentice, hands-on way) may be too difficult to meet. Hence, they’ve created a pathway for academic success based on teaching merit and not strictly on one’s research accomplishments.

Still, there are other ways to get around the problem. For example, at my university, there is no clinical track. You’re either a professor (or assistant/associate prof) or you’re not. There’s no such thing as ‘clinical professor’. In order to allow teachers like me to compete, then, the criteria for promotion were changed such that one could get ahead on research OR teaching merit. Hey, it worked for me. I think, but am not sure, that I was about the first person to make full professor here on the basis of “teaching excellence”.

Odd the way systems work differently here to in the USA.

Here a “Professor” is someone who has presented their own, original research after previously acquiring a further post-graduate degree in medicine. The way someone in any other field (such as psychology) becomes a Professor. There are no associate/assistant professors, as those term are meaningless here.

Our Professors are therefore usually in their late 40s/early 50s, and already senior consultants in charge of their own firm, with their own patient lists and clinics, and therefore able to head a research project. There are perhaps only 3 or 4 Professors in every hospital.

Some of them will teach as well, but most of our teaching is from the Academic Head of the Department, who is paid by the University, as well as by the hospital. The Academic Head may or may not be a Professor or the same person as the Clinical head of the Department (the one who sets hospital policy in their specialty).

Some scary people are all three - Professor, Academic Head of Department, Clinical Head of Department.

Once you graduate and become a doctor, ALL teaching is in a apprentice, hands-on way. Our junior doctors have no lectures or seminars, they’re just expected to learn on the job, and spend their nights studying for their postgraduate exams. The exams are used as a safeguard to make sure that they have appropriate knowledege. The exams have only a 40% pass rate, so most people have to take them twice.

These exams are either Membership exams (to either the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Surgeons, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, or the Royal College of General Practioners) or Fellowship exams. The exams are taken between 3 and 6 years after graduating (depending on the specialty).

After passing their Membership exams, the doctors becomes a Registrar (previously they were a Pre-Registration House Officer (first year after graduation-intern) and Senior House Officer (Second year after graduation, until you pass the Membership).

After several more years of on the job training, you take Fellowship exams for your college. After that, you’re a Senior Registrar, and are eligible to apply to become a Consultant if and when a position opens up in your specialty.

At present that means most people are on the far side of 40 by the time they become Consultants. They’re trying to make this a quicker process, and hopefully there will be more Consultant posts created, and more consultants appointed before the age of 35.