I was told that for surgery, it is a double-edged sword to do an away sub-internship. Unlike specialty surgical programs, there is not as much pressure to audition for residencies with away rotations. Away rotations can only hurt you since you have to learn a brand new computer system, locate the bathrooms, work on unfamiliar terrain, assimilate into a new culture.
So when I accepted an opportunity for a surgical sub-internship in inner-city St. Louis (much different from New Hampshire), I knew that the learning curve would be steep. Particularly because I would have only 4 weeks to prove myself a valuable member of the team.
Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned as an away sub-I:
- Come in early the first day and explore.
- Get your badge and check out the computer system early. Even if it’s the same program (i.e., Epic), they may have different features enabled.
- Ask about expectations day 1. Is this a service that likes med student notes? How many patients do you like students to round on? What is the expectation for operating vs clinic time? Do I report to the intern or the chief resident?
- Take time to flex your learning. If an attending asks a question, you better look up some research on the topic and find a paper or two.
- Be mindful in the OR. This is not your arena. Be helpful in every way possible, from pre-op to post-op. Help gather papers, transport the patient, set up the OR. Introduce yourself to everyone.
- Print out morning lists for the team.
- If it’s at a program you’re interested in, schedule a meeting with the residency director, and have questions. This is your opportunity to make a strong first impression.
What other tips have others learned?