Friday, April 12, 2013

Away Rotations - Keeping Bridges Unburned

After working so hard, and stressing so much, over securing the Away Rotations that are going to make your application for EM perfect, it can be really hard to let those rotations go.  What is the harm in hanging onto that spot until the last minute, just in case?

Please do not do this.  Once you know you will not be completing a rotation, politely withdraw.  Three groups are hurt if you wait to the last minute to vacate that spot:

1.  You - that program that you were recently interested in enough to rotate at will now treat you like persona-non-grata.  Drop them at the last minute and you should not bother wasting money on an application.  The repercussions could be even broader than burning bridges at one program.  All the Clerkship Directors know each other.  

2.  The Clerkship and Program left with an empty spot - they are trying to get as many students an opportunity to rotate as they possibly can.  Canceling at the last minute just makes their job harder.  Clerkship Directors, as a rule, are really nice people.  Generous with their time and very much invested in helping students navigate the path to an EM Residency.  They are a difficult group to make angry.  Leaving them with a last minute unfilled spot in the rotation they pour so much of their personal and professional time into, is a very reliable way to make them angry.   

3.  The other students in the applicant pool - somebody else would have really liked that rotation opportunity that it may now be too late to fill.  Emergency Medicine is a team sport and cut-throat, self-serving behavior has no place in it.  If you even occasionally suffer from these "qualities", now is the time to remove them from your character.  

While I cannot guarantee that Groups 2 and 3 matter to you, I am pretty sure that Group 1 does.

No rationale person, including Clerkship Directors, will be angry if a student withdraws more than a month before their start date.  They may not even notice, and they certainly will not put you on a list of students whose careers they must crush.  No one has that kind of time.

Withdraw at the last minute, or no show, and that Clerkship Director may decide to make the time.  

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