This is just a little bit of advice to make life easy for you on your clinical elective rotations, observerships, externships, and clerkships. Clinical rotations are a great learning tool. Some learn best by associating what they see in books with actual patients. It’s an invaluable resource that you will need for learning and will help with residency. The following will not only help you with clinical rotations, clinical clerkships, clinical observerships – it will also help you with clinical externships, residency, and your career as a physician.
For FMG and IMG medical students and doctors not accustomed to what is expected in American hospitals and American clinical settings, here’s some advice on clinical rotation and clerkships.
- Showing up late:
80% of any job is showing up. Many fields – like the medical field – is like a well oiled machine. One kink in the system, and you can be set back to the point where you’ll be playing catch up for some time. Think about an accident during rush hour – or flight delay and how it impacts other flights – medicine is no different. Some people think staying late to make up for coming in late will make up for it. The fact of the matter is no one will notice or care. You should show up at least 15 min prior to your shift to get caught up of the day’s events, current patients, etc. When your shift officially starts, you should be able to hit the ground running. People will always remember when you’re late. They take note of who’s constantly early and who’s constantly late. My advice to you is to BE EARLY. It’s unprofessional and disrespectful to the rest of the group.
- Arguing with a patient:
This not only shows your inability to relate with the patient, it is also a reflection of your bedside manner. My advice to you is to NEVER do it – it’s a losing battle that you will never win.
- Reporting what you didn’t observe
Aside from the healthcare and treatment implications, medical records may be used as legal records. Don’t lie. If you didn’t see it, you don’t say you did. You “practice” medicine. My advice to you is to learn from your mistakes and don’t repeat them. Accept when you’ve made a mistake and move on.
- Always respect the nurses:
Nurses can make your life easy. They are amongst your most valuable resource. The best advice to you is to respect the nurses and learn from them. Seasoned nurses know more than new physicians.
- Dress appropriately:
What you wear not only is a display of how much you respect yourself, it is also a sign of respect for your team. The best advice I have for you is to look at how your seniors dress and emulate them.
- You get what you put in:
To quote the film “Wolf on Wall St.” – “Revolutions” – learning is a process. You will always benefit by the amount of effort you put in.
The medical field is a small world. As you rotate through various clinical settings, you will be working with your future colleagues. You may see them in other sites, in residency, and in practice. Your reputation mattered the first day of medical school.