Friday, June 23, 2017

My Elective experience

Hey guys,

I was off blogging for a while for obvious reasons and I apologise for that. But, hey! Let me share the reason behind it :D
I was off to the States for my Clinical Electives at Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic, so I'm going to briefly write about Electives in this post.

Overview of US Clinical Experience:

A) HANDS-ON Clinical Experience:
- One to one patient contact, can elicit history, perform physical examinations, write notes, suggest plan of care, have full access to patient records
- Considered better as what can be better than hands-on!
- Can be done only before a Medical Student graduates. ( Therefore, you can't do electives if you're already a Doctor -_-)

1. Sub-Internship equivalent to a 4th year US Medical Student
2. Clinical electives are equivalent to a 3rd year US Medical Student
3. Clerkship (This typically is for US Medical students; not applicable to IMGs)
4. Externships

B) NOT HANDS-ON Clinical Experience:
- You only get to observe (hence, Limited role in patient care)
- Can be done while you're a Medical Student or even after you graduate
- Controversial if it can be considered as USCE?

- Usually, longer the elective, the better it is! (Increases yield of getting a fruitful publication out of it.
- No outlined criteria, eligibility varies from place to place.

I typically like to classify Clinical Electives into: (Although, others may classify them based on different criteria, I believe, classifying this way is logical in terms of expenses majorly)
1. USMLE Step 1 required
2. USMLE Step 1 NOT required
[I shall soon write a separate blog on this, pre requisites for elective application and rough expenses soon, so stay tuned as always :D]

About my elective experience:

I had given my USMLE Step 1 while I was in Third year. So, when I got into Fourth year I applied to Universities that had USMLE Step 1 criteria.
As now a days, getting electives is becoming more and more competitive, along with my friends, I applied to IMG friendly elective places well in advance  (about 10 months prior for a few places). This also meant that we had to wait for a long time to get our acceptances as they don't send out acceptances until 3-1 month prior to your elective start date.

Fortunately, I got accepted at Mayo Clinic, Rochester for Infectious Diseases elective and at Cleveland Clinic, Ohio for Endocrinology elective! Yippie!! (Big thank you to Ikan for guiding me with the application process)

Both, Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic are amazing places to work at! (And if you don't already know, Mayo Clinic has been ranked no.1 and Cleveland Clinic has been ranked no.2 on U.S. News and World Report's Honor Roll :D)

What to do while you're there?

- Be professional, dress professionally, follow code and conduct of your Hospital or Clinic.
- Take histories, perform physical examinations as required, write patient notes, suggest plan of action and so on...
- Volunteer for case presentations/ talks
- If you find an interesting case while you're rotating there, discuss with your residents/ fellows/ attendings if you can submit it to a journal or present it at any conference.
- If you're interested in research, talk to your attending and try to get involved in one.
- Most importantly, As an IMG, it is crucial for us to get A Strong Letter of Recommendation. If you've been working hard, I am sure, most attendings would agree to write you a Strong LoR! Hurray!

Also, once you are done with your elective, in the following week or so, it is good to write your attendings a courtesy/ Thank you email, so that they know you really learnt during your elective!

Stay awesome!


  1. Hey Riya, I would love to talk to you more about your experience and have you guide me. Please tell me how? I really need some help with this.
    Thank you and have a nice day!

    1. Hi Divya, Hope you're doing well. I would love to help. You can write me on and I shall get back to you.

      Have a nice day!

    2. Hey Riya, I am planning to apply for Cleveland Clinic. I wanted to get more insight as to how to go on about it and whether my credentials are worth it to apply there? Your help will be very appreciated. Thank you

  2. Hiiii
    Thank you for the write up .
    Can you share your step 1 marks??
    I got a 251 in step 1 and Mayo clinic is my dream. Can I get a chance?
    Even at cleaveland??

    1. Places like Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic also look at innovation, research, etc. Scores are not the only thing that is required to match there. Do research and publish with them.
      For electives, you do have a chance.

      You can email the respective authors if you want to know their scores (and if they want to share).


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