Sunday, April 27, 2014

So EM is right for you, now you need a plan….

So EM is right for you, now you need a plan….

Step One:
You need to do a home and an away rotation in EM as early as possible. Read the link to get all the details about choosing the right rotation.

This will give you exposure, personal advising, and feedback. It is incredibly important to do two things: 1-recognize the feedback you get, 2- demand feedback you haven't gotten in real time.
  • You will get feedback on every step, of every encounter - your job is to recognize it. While you present, notice what your supervisor does: glazed eyes = too much information, confused look = add details, fidgeting = speed it up. Every supervisor will want something different and you need to continually adapt to every one that you work with. Start with a formal, organized presentation, and then edit it throughout your shift to fit the non-verbal feedback you are getting. This article gives a great architecture to start with. 
  • Next you need to demand feedback. You can ask at the end of your shift, but often you will hear "you did a great job." More effective is a proactive approach. Self reflect and decide what you need to work on, then at the beginning of the shift let your supervisor know what you want to work on today. This lets them focus on the area you need help in and immediately lets them know you are open and eager for feedback and want to improve. This also allows the supervisor to note how you incorporate feedback and feed this into your evaluation. 
Step Two:

You are auditioning, you need to put your best face forward. You want to present yourself, at your best every day, and in every interaction. You want to be the worry free student, always willing to help, looking to do more, and happy to put in extra effort and time. Don't ask for special treatment, special schedules, or lots of days off. Don't call out unless you are seriously ill. Don't show up late to lectures because you stopped for breakfast.

As Amal Mattu says "be a Tigger": show up with a smile, positive attitude, and energy to spare. Be the person everyone wants to work with, especially the nurses and techs. Always be respectful, professional, and appropriate. EM tends to be a casual atmosphere, but resist the urge to be too casual. It is easy to step over the line when trying to fit in. Realize you are not in the same position as the residents or attendings and err on the side of caution. Be professional at all times. lean forward, look interested and acknowledge areas to improve.

Step Three:

You need to get your letters of recommendation. Your rotation is the basis for your letter, the more you can show the kind of resident you will be, the better your letter will reflect your abilities. The SLOE compares you to your peers. Your goal is to show your positive attributes and that you can grow and improve in 4 weeks. Set a time to meet with the program director and clerkship director, to discuss your interest in their program and get recommendations for your application. Set goals for yourself and meet them.

With these three steps you are well on your way to succeeding in your EM application

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