Now that I have transitioned from third-year to fourth-year, I’ve got some helpful tips to share that will hopefully provide you with more meaningful and successful rotation experiences.
- Treat others the way you’d like to be treated. I think this is so important. What is fundamental to a great rotation experience is just being kind—to your patients, nurses, residents, etc. Being kind and professional to your team and those who are caring for your patients alongside you will really benefit you. For example, there was one morning I overslept and panicked (naturally) because I had several patients to see. I built a rapport with the nurses, and they were truly so helpful, especially when I was first starting out.
- Know the most about your patients. This piece of advice probably annoys me the most because I just wonder what does that even mean?! I don’t have all of the knowledge to “know the most” about my patient. So let me provide you with some context. For example, whilst I was on Psychiatry, several of my patients provided me with more history as opposed to the entire team. My residents found the information to be helpful, and it helped me and my residents when presenting to the attending.
- Find an upperclassman. They can enlighten you about specific aspects of the clinical years at your school, especially tidbits of advice about personality types of certain attendings or even residents. For the most part, clinical rotations are standardized; however, each institution has its nuances.
- Be on time. This is pretty self-explanatory. Be there when the residents tell you that you need to be there, and give yourself plenty of time to see your patients and prepare for rounds.
- Read the syllabus about how you will be evaluated. Each rotation might be different. Obviously, you want to do your best but it helps you in terms of planning out your schedule and with time management. For example, Pediatrics may divide the clerkship grade by NBME Board 20%, Attending and Resident Evaluations 30%, Quizzes 20%, Final Exam 10%, H&P 10%, and Professionalism 10%. So you want to make sure you make plenty of time to study because that consists of 50% of your final clerkship grade. Family Medicine may divide the clerkship grade by NBME 20%, Attending and Resident Evaluations 60%, Assignments 20%. So at this point, you would want to do the best that you can in the clinical setting.