Over a period of four years, 693 third-year medical students were offered the opportunity to receive half of their required internal medicine clerkship clinical experience by rotating on a well-established family medicine inpatient service in a university hospital. This learning experience was designed and evaluated by the physician and behavioral science faculty of the department of family medicine. The family medicine inpatient experience provided the student with a greater number of individual patient encounters and a greater variety of clinical problems than an internal medicine experience. Scores on an internal medicine national board test showed no statistical difference between those students who completed a traditional internal medicine clerkship and those receiving a portion of their internal medicine experience by rotating on a family medicine inpatient service. The success of this student experience was a significant factor in the eventual acquisition of curriculum time for a third-year required family medicine clerkship.