Monday, June 27, 2011


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Thursday, March 4, 2010

4th year schedule

When determining your 4th year schedule, there are a few things to consider. The first is how many away rotations you will do. If you go into a competitive field, you will need a few away rotations. That is fine.

The big mistake many medical students make is choosing elective rotations in their field of interest. That is what residency is for. Use the rest of your 4th year to explore fields that you will never get to see again. You will be a better, more well-rounded doctor for it.

Next, don't make 4th year too stressful. Choose fun, relaxed rotations where you will learn something new. For example: I've decided to persue child & adolescent psychiatry. A few of my electives were radiology, sports medicine, emergency medicine, etc.

Last of all: enjoy life. Intern year will stress you out enough.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Away Electives

Deciding to do "away rotations" at another institution is always a big headache for 3rd year med students. Should you do them? Where should you go? Will it be helpful? What should you do there? etc. etc.

Should you do them? - If you are applying to a competitive field, I would strongly recommend you do at least 1 away elective. For something super competitive like Derm, I would recommend at least 2. For less competitive fields, away rotations are optional.

Where should you go? - Only do away rotations at institutions that you could easily see yourself at for residency. Away rotations are "auditions", but at the same time, it is for you to decide if you want to do residency there. I would also choose to do an away rotation at an institution in which I would be considered underqualified (by step scores, etc.). This can get your foot in the door at places your foot couldn't have gone before. Also if I am already fully qualified to get an interview at a program, I don't gain much by doing an away rotation. In fact, an away rotation could hurt if I don't get along with residents, don't put enough work in, slack off, etc. etc. Analyze whether you have more to gain or more to lose before choosing an away rotation.

Will it be helpful? - There is an unwritten rule that most students that do an away rotation will get an interview. At some places, not rotating there means no interview (very selective places). If you have less than stellar scores and want to do residency at Harvard, DO an away rotation there. Away rotations can also be helpful if you are really considering a location and just want to see how the program works. Still, you need to work hard.

What should you do there? - While there, I would strongly recommend setting up a meeting with the residency program director. Let them know you are interested. Come early to the rotation and stay late. Offer to help with anyone's research project. Be a team player. In other words, plan to work harder than you have ever worked. Your hard work could get you into a residency that you otherwise would never be able to obtain.

Don't feel pressured into doing away rotations, because everyone else is doing it. Many people don't do away rotations at all, and they do just fine.

Ob/Gyn Rotation

Before I even begin talking about my Ob/Gyn rotation, I would like to offer one piece of advice: As soon as you get to the Obstetrics floor, put on the BIGGEST booties (for your shoes) you can find. Shoes get ruined in this rotation!

Overall I really enjoyed my Ob/Gyn rotation, but I quickly learned it was not for me. My school's 2 month rotation was set-up very well. Every week, students rotate through a different specialty clinic/surgery center. It was very well planned by the clerkship director.

I prefer Gyn over Ob. You have more of a bond between you and your patients in Gyn. The stories are also much more entertaining. For example: I was asked if shaking up a coke bottle and opening it inside the vagina was effective to expel sperm. You can't make these things up.

Ob is much more intense. Lots of emotions flying around the room. Not very sanitary. Not my thing.

Another hint: When performing your end of rotation practical (OSCE), do not use slang terminology. Someone I know (not me I promise) used "vault" during the practical. It doesn't help your grade.

The rotation can be lots of fun and informative if you let it. I definitely have a greater respect for Ob/Gyn after my rotation; however, I will not be entering this field. If you love moments of chaos, spontaneity, and procedures, consider this field.


Sorry that I have been away for awhile. I plan on catching up with posts here in the near future now that everything has calmed down a bit.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Internal Medicine

IM was quite a ride. My school had me at 2 different hospitals with 2 completly different systems. I thoroughly enjoyed the program through our main teaching hospital, but the second month through the military hospital was very hectic. The military hospital was not very supportive in my opinion. I got the distinct feeling that some physicians were only working there to "pay-back" the government. The best teaching physicians seemed to be non-military. While my team was better than most, a fellow med student was put on a team that would never inform her of when rounding would begin or even where it would begin. Very hectic.

I thought our main teaching hospital did a GREAT job in IM though. One of my faculty members I would consider a complete genius, and I would gladly work with him again.

IM residents work very hard here. I definitely give them 2 thumbs up for enduring such a rigorous program. After these two months, I have definitely learned to appreciate the field, but I can't see myself in Internal Medicine.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I have finished my psychiatry rotation, and it has by far been the most fun and exciting rotation yet. Coming into medical school, I was dead set on emergency medicine because you have new and exciting challenges with every patient. Psychiatry seems to be very similar in that almost every patient has a different story, yet psychiatry still has continuity of care. Originally I didn't really know whether continuity of care made a difference to me, but I am quickly learning how much I enjoy seeing my patients get better and lead more fulfilling lives.

We also had some exposure to child psychiatry during my rotation, and I thought it was a lot of fun. I've heard from numerous sources that the field has a high burn-out rate, it is just too hard to deal with, etc., but I don't see why. The chance to make an improvement in a child's emotional well-being seems greatly rewarding. Maybe this burn-out rate is partially due to dealing with parents, but if you are going to be dealing with kids in any aspect, you need to be able to handle parents.

I think right now my top two choices in residency are:
1.) Psychiatry with a fellowship in child & adolescents
2.) Pediatrics

Looks like I am stuck dealing with parents in either case. :)

Sure the pay isn't as great as other fields and psychiatry isn't the most prestigious specialty around, but I think if I could benefit just 1 child in every 100, I'd be happier in child psychiatry than a lot of other fields.

I would definitely recommend others looking into this exciting field, and feel free to ask any questions. I'll do my best to answer them.