Clinical Rotations, Advice from 2nd Years

Recently a group of our second year students (who are about 2 weeks from graduation) came in to talk to us a bit more about rotations. It was great to hear about all of the experiences and get their recommendations and words of wisdom before starting our rotations on Sept 6.  I wanted to share the Top 5 Pearls that I got out of the session. Each person seemed to have a slightly different preparation style so not all of these will be applicable to everyone, but I hope you will find 1 or 2 things helpful. 

1. Readings: If you are looking for something structured and general to help you get through rotations - the Blueprint series seems to be the recommendation. Spend your rotation reading through the book so that you are using the final week to complete the test in the back of the book. (Good prep for the end of rotation exams).

2. Prepping for surgical rotation? Recall books are great when prepping for all of those pimping questions that you are bound to be asked, but it does little to prepare you for the details of procedures. They also suggested brushing up on anatomy. Don't focus on the big stuff - everyone knows where the heart is - focus on large blood vessels, blood supply and innervation to organs... be prepared to answer the following questions:

a-What is this? 
b-Where does it get its blood? 
c-What nerve innervates it?

3. During surgical rotations: 
a-Eat and pee before scrubbing in. You never know when a complication will arise - you could be in there for 10+ hours! 
b-Review the procedure, complications, and risk factors for each of the surgeries that you will be participating in the next day.

4. Be flexible! I was amazed at the variety between rotations. For example, one internal med rotation had hours from about 8 am to 6 pm with some on-call responsibilities, while another internal med rotation just down the road ran 6 days a week, 5:45 am to 7 pm. The same variation is applicable to preceptor-style. Some preceptors ease you into the process. They build on your responsibilities day by day. Other preceptors throw you into the fire immediately and inform you that you are on-call your 1st night. (Always have an overnight bag and change of clothes in your car!)

5. One of my favorite pieces of advice: Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know." They're going to be several questions that you don't know the answer to - that's OK. The key is that if you don't know the answer - go home and look it up because you will probably get asked the same question the next day. 

I'm excited. I'm nervous. I think my excitement is edging out my nervousness.... but check back with me on Sept 5. 

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