It’s easy to lose motivation during fourth-year clinical rotations especially during the Springtime and most definitely after Match. But I think it’s important to put your best foot forward as you’ll be a better intern and physician for it. I performed well during my fourth-year rotations so I wanted to share some tips on how to excel (even when the going gets tough)!
- Be engaged. I know what you’re thinking—what does that mean? Really take ownership of your patients and pretend you’re the acting intern. I did this during my Internal Medicine rotation and I learned so much from my residents and attendings. I was proud of myself, and it helped me gain confidence in my abilities. It wasn’t easy but such a great learning experience. Of course, I had plenty of questions and needed help but I took initiative, and that counts for something. P.S. It’s okay to say, “I’m honestly not sure but I’d love to learn about it.”
- Be punctual. Oh my goodness—I’m being a hypocrite by saying this. One of my weaknesses is getting to places on time. But for rotations, I really do try to make it a point to be punctual, and for those who are, you know it goes a long way. Although I fail at this piece of advice many times, I do think being on time provides value.
- Help out your third-year medical student colleagues. You remember what it was like to be a third-year medical student at one point—you’re nervous with a deer in headlights look most of the time.
- Be kind. You never know how your kindness can impact someone, whether that be your patient, other medical students, or your resident. People have bad days and so do you. Forgiveness is important as you never know what people are going through.
- Listen. Again, this goes a long way with your patients, residents, and attendings. There’s so much to learn and absorb, and listening is a key trait to help facilitate this.
- Be a team player. Sometimes that means taking initiative. Other times it means staying out of the way. Basically, just be adaptable to the situation.
- Teach. Sometimes the best way to learn is to teach. This is great for your third-year medical student colleagues and yourself to stay refreshed on medical knowledge!
- Coordination of care. This is an important part of medicine—EHRs, billing, coordination of care, social work. See how everyone works together and think about your part in the process. This also ties into quality improvement.
Good luck on your fourth-year rotations! Most importantly, HAVE FUN—you’re going to be a PHYSICIAN!