After all the hours you’ve put into attending med school, it’s finally time to explore medicine outside the classroom. You’re ready to explore the adventures of working in healthcare environments. But how do you get the best out of your clinical rotations, so you become an awesome doctor someday?
Using Clinical Placements to Land a Prime Residency
Interacting with real patients is something all medical students dream of doing. Also known as clerkships, clinical rotations give you chances to make long-lasting impressions on attendings, residents, directors, nurses and other hospital staff.
Excelling during your clinical placement could lead to a prime residency placement!
In 2015, the American Osteopathic Association published a study. It showed that:
- 43% of the medical students in residency programs had done audition clerkships at the same facilities
- 5% of the med students enrolled in residency programs had dome clinical rotations at the same hospitals
That means you need to use your rotations as a way to advance and perfect your medical skills. This improves your chances of landing the residency of your dreams. Competition is stiff in this business. So, make sure you shine wherever you go.
5 Ways to Get the Best Out of Your Clinical Rotations
There are things you can do to help make your clinical placement a success. Measuring your success is not just about finishing the assignment, but what you get out of it in the end… hopefully a residency and ultimately a job as a doctor.
Here are five tips to help med students learn everything they can during clinical placements:
1. Accept the Grunt Work Gratefully
Be grateful to take on those mundane tasks most of your classmates find annoying. Step up to the plate and draw that blood when asked with a smile. Show the physicians and directors around you they can count on you when needed.
This opens many doors for you as time goes on during your rotations. Doctors will soon include you in more exciting medical procedures just because you’re always so willing to help out.
2. Hit the Ground Running
Many students walk into rotations thinking they are just like attending medical school. However, this is far from the truth if you really want to become a successful doctor someday.
These students arrive at the hospital prepared for lectures and didactics. But if you really want to get the best out of your clinical rotations, you must jump in head first and move full-speed ahead.
Be open to learning any and everything you can from day one. Volunteer to help in any way possible, even in specialized areas that don’t interest you. Having a wide range of skills helps you make educated decisions about your future specialty.
And never allow yourself to become idle during your shifts. No matter where you’re placed for rotations, keep your practical skills up to par at all times. Continuously practice skills like these whenever time permits:
- Surgical knot tying
- Writing patient notes
- Taking patient history
- Presenting patients
- Performing physical exams
- Performing oral case presentations
3. Follow an Attending in Your Choice Specialized Field
If you already know what you want to specialize in, start taking strides to get there now. Your rotation is an opportunity to engage with an attending physician in that same field. Find out who they are and “follow” them.
This doesn’t mean become a stalker. It means follow the doctor on social media if she/he has a professional profile. You may get some awesome tips to help you get the best out of your clinical rotations and land the residency you want.
Whenever you’re lucky enough to be in this physician’s presence, pay close attention. Observe the way he/she provides patient care and interacts with them. Whether the field is nephrology, cardiology, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology or surgery, learn everything you can from your newly adopted medical mentor.
Follow your mentor so you understand the everyday culture and expectations of this specialty field.
4. Practice Skills Used Across Clinical Environments
There are various medical skills you should adopt that are usable across multiple clinical settings. Learning how to use ultrasound equipment is a prime example. These days, ultrasound technology is universal. It’s used on hospital floors, in ICUs, emergency rooms, medical clinics, doctor’s offices, even to put in central lines.
As you work your shifts, look for other practical skills used in various medical procedures. This is definitely an effective way to get the best out of your clinical rotations.
5. Choose Your Clinical Placement Wisely
Clinical rotations are opportunities for exposure to multiple fields of study. This helps you make an educated decision about the field of medicine you want to practice.
Make sure the clinical placement you choose gives you broad exposure to an array of specialties. Examine them all, even if you think you already know what you want to do.
You may start off thinking you want to become an OBGYN. However, a rotation in the pediatrics department may have you thinking you’d rather heal babies than deliver them.
How to Get the Clinical Rotations You Want Most
With so much competition in certain fields, there’s no way to guarantee you the exact clinical placement you have in mind. But there are ways to improve your chances. A live clinical placement course can help you gain work experience in your chosen field of study.
MedSmarter’s live clinical placements prep course teaches how to find the right placement for you. Learn tips and tricks to landing clinical rotations in the specialty of your choice at our the Atlanta, Georgia facility.
Ready to learn what it takes to land the clinical rotation of your dreams?
Click the button below to learn more about Atlanta’s Live Clinical Placement Courses now.