Starting off clinical rotations in the hospital can be overwhelming and scary, but really fun, too! Being a part of a multidisciplinary medical team is a huge group effort: we all depend on one another to best take care of our patients in the best way that we can.
Here are some tips on how to be a star student to help out your classmates, interns, residents, attendings, nurses, and other team members while on the hospital floors:
- Be attentive to your patient’s needs. As a third-year medical student, you’re usually only following 1-2 patients at a time. Therefore, you are likely able to spend the most time with your patients out of anyone on the team–so take advantage of it! Whether that means taking your patient for a walk for a lap or two around the unit, grabbing them an extra warm blanket, or calling a loved one on their behalf to clarify their treatment plan for that day, your little effort can make a huge difference–and this won’t go unnoticed!
- Read up… Because you have more time than the intern, residents, and attendings, take any free or downtime you might have to read up on a topic that you’re unfamiliar with. You’ll shine when asked questions on rounds, and maybe even be able to teach the group about a new paper recently published on the topic.
- …and share what you’ve learned! If you read an interesting article, don’t be afraid to share what you learned on rounds. You never know when what you contribute will change the patient’s care plan!
- Communicate with your team. A lot can happen within a few hours, let alone overnight with a single patient. If you find out what the neurologist you consulted recommended about your patient because you ran into him in the hallway or the nurse tells you some information about the patient’s uncontrolled pain overnight, make sure you let the team know so you’re all on the same page.
- Ask how you can help. Whether this is asking your superiors, like overstretched interns, overwhelmed senior residents, experienced attendings, or nursing staff, it never hurts to ask how you can best be of help.