Acing your EM Clerkship
Here are five things you can do to shine during your rotation
- You are on stage all month: present yourself well at every opportunity. Residents, nurses, and secretaries notice how you act, and will make their thoughts known. Be polite, be agreeable, be willing to bend as needed. Be WHERE you are expected WHEN you are expected: be eager from minute one, until you leave.
- Yes, but... At some point you will be asked to do something you have never done before. Accept the challenge but explain your limitations. This way your supervisor knows where you are starting from. When asked if you would like to suture a child's face answer "yes, but this will be my first experience suturing a child’s face. Can you walk me through it."
- Anticipate the next step: Students who interpret are noticed. If you sent a urine to check for infection, decide what antibiotic you want to use if it is positive. Be flexible, plans will change, patient's status will worsen, exams will change- don't be too invested in any one direction, flow with the needs of those around you.
- Presentations present you: Be concise, succinct, and focused. Take a moment after seeing the patient to put your thoughts together and practice your presentation. Focus on the complaint and the differential, and let them guide your presentation of the history, exam, differential, and plan. The following is a great article on EM presentations: The 3-minute emergency medicine medical student presentation: a variation on a theme. Davenport C, Honigman B, Druck J.Acad Emerg Med. 2008 Jul;15(7):683-7.
- Demand timely, useful feedback: at the end of the shift residents and attendings are rushing to finish. Rather than asking how you did at the end, give your supervisor an area to concentrate on right from the start. As you begin a shift let them know the area you want to work on. "Today I'd really like to work on my presentations, can you help me with that." Now your supervisor has a focus, and you've enlisted them to be your ally.