Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tricks of the Trade: Rotations

Tricks of the Trade


When you get the rotation you wanted you have preparation to get done:

Read the paperwork from the program carefully, and complete it in a timely manner. There is no second chance for a first impression. You don't want to arrive, and not be able to rotate because of paperwork. Health requirements vary at different institutions. Check with the undergraduate medical education office or health services, at the hospital you are going to. They should relay what you need in detail. This is the time to jump through the hoop and get it done.

How many is too many?

There are no perfect number of clerkship applications. Get help from your advisor to review your application to determine your competitiveness. Look at where you want to go, and how competitive a market it is for clerkship. For most student 4 applications will suffice. If you are a weaker applicant or looking at a more competitive market- consider 6. If you get a clerkship and still have applications outstanding that you will decline, call and let them know you appreciate their time but have accepted another opportunity. This is better than waiting and declining the spot. This proactive stance will win you points with the clerkship director and the coordinator. If at all possible do not accept a rotation and then back out of it. This sends the message you are not interested and inconsiderate- not a good impression.

To Research or not to Research?

Research is less likely to enhance your application than great letters and rotations, but can be another opportunity to get experience, get to know an EM attending, and be on the front lines. Discuss with the attendings at your home institution or contact the Research Director at a program you are interested in. They can help connect you with ongoing projects that you can assist in. Many EM attendings have great ideas and simply need man-power to make them reality. If you get involved, list the project on your ERAS application. Be prepared, this will be a topic of interest in your interviews.

Who is successful?

Students who succeed in EM are proactive, flexible, and enthusiastic. Be a "tigger1." Show up to every shift with a smile, ready to do and be anything needed. Have a positive outlook, and energize those around you. Put your hands on patients, and FOLLOW THROUGH. Know the labs, update your supervisor on how each intervention has worked, and ask to make consultant and admission calls. When you don't know something, look it up. Find articles, case reports, or guidelines and show your supervisors. Be honest, if you didn't ask, or didn't do it, say so. I trust a student who say, "I didn't...."

  1. Amal Mattu. Becoming the Leader That Others Follow: ACEP Teaching Fellowship, March 9, 2013.

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