Wednesday, March 14, 2018

How to leave a good impression during your clinical rotations?

Many of us are looking for observerships/electives in the US to gain some clinical experience, have recommendation letters and become more familiar with the medical system in USA.

In this post, I will shine the light on some points that will help in getting the maximum benefit from your rotations.

So, Let’s go:

1- Always come early and show commitment
If the working day starts at 7:30 am, be there at 7:20 am.

2- Dress properly
>Many hospitals have a dress-code, this is usually mentioned in the paperwork that you have to read/fill.
Eg: Business casual; shirts, ties and no jeans for men.
>Take care of your personal hygiene, use deodorants....etc

3- Write down notes
Have a small notebook and a pen. Write new cases that you see or any interesting syndrome. When you go back home, read more about these cases and check if there are any new scientific papers about them.

4- Be proactive
Don’t just sit and do nothing. Ask questions and check if you can present a case / give a talk or a presentation. Especially if you are doing an observership, the outcome at the end can really vary depending on how you use your time and how you reflect yourself as a doctor.

5- Know when to ask questions
It is nice to know more and to show interest but avoid the times when residents/fellows are busy, these include but are not limited to: pre-rounding, immediately after rounds when orders will be entered.

6- Don’t be “Mr. Know-it-all”
Although answering questions is important and can give a very good idea about you. Acting snobby and answering everything including questions that are directed to the residents may have an opposite effect.
Be patient and don’t interrupt. Answer when the question is directed to you or when it is open to everyone to answer.

7- Identify important "players"
Get to know who is the program director, the associate program director, attendings who are known to write good recommendation letters and those who are not. You will find a resident/senior/fellow who will provide this piece of info.
After all, you need to be remembered and to have a good recommendation letter when you apply for the match so do your best go get one! A strong recommendation letter from a chairman has much more weight than an average one from a newly appointed attending!

8- Be social
Respect everyone, smile, shake hands and introduce yourself to people who you meet for the 1st time. It is also cool to have nice conversations outside the field of medicine. For example, movies, books and sports. This will give an idea that you are well-rounded and more approachable rather than just an outsider who is there to do a job.

9- Discover the place
Try to be familiar with the hospital, its departments, the floors and the outpatient clinics. This will lessen the moments - especially during the first week of the rotation - when you will suddenly stop, conclude that you are lost and start blankly looking around :D

10- Remember that the first impression is vital and very hard to change, so be sure that the first impression that is made about you is positive.

In short, just be yourself and give it your best shot :)

Good luck everyone!

PS: this post is subjective to updates whenever I remember any new point that will help :)



  1. To summarize work hard, party harder :p
    Thanks for the write up Dr


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