OBSERVERSHIPS, CLERKSHIPS, EXTERNSHIPS, RESEARCH ELECTIVES & FELLOWSHIPS
US Clinical Experience – Importance of US Clinical Experience
U.S. Clinical Experience (USCE) is very important for IMGs to obtain US residency. It is a very important step for having a successful match for anyone. The medical school you have studied might be the most famous institute in your country but you should keep in mind that the program director or the residency committee doesn’t know about your institute back in your country. They also don’t know how you are trained or how your institute runs training sessions. They are not familiar with the structure, duties, responsibilities and training procedures. So it is a key to complete clinical rotations or get clinical experience within US. Moreover clinical rotations can be the best place to get a letter of recommendation for your application. There are many forms of getting clinical experiences. Some are described below-
Medical School Elective Rotations (can also be named “Clerkships”): You can arrange this type of rotation with an academic institution of US during your medical school or MBBS study. You can also look for this type of opportunity into the internet. There are many institutions who allow electives for MBBS student. This type of rotation may include direct patient care, didactics and also can give you ability to interact with other residence and attend. This type of elective can cost you money. It is better if you get a letter of recommendation from a good and reputed contact. Best possible time to complete this type of rotation is while you are a medical student. Although there are many academic or medical schools will host international medical student (IMGs), they may not invite international medical grads. As a student, if any malpractice or crisis situation arises, they will more likely to be taken care of by your host institution. This indicates you are a part of team of US resident and you also have the same duties US students have. This will eventually help to prove yourself; you can prove yourself to others that you are qualified to be a physical within US. On the other hand, if you are not familiar with the ward structures of US medical teams, you will be able to learn about the structure, function and cultural aspects of US medical by giving the excuse of being a student. Usually residents understand that student will do more mistakes rather than trained physical due to their knowledge gap. But if you are already a practicing physician, with the completion of Medical degree outside of US, it is still important for you to do rotation at US institutions.
US employment in related field: This means working as a healthcare professional, physician assistant or as a nurse. This will be counted as your clinical experience. This has some advantages like you can earn some money and on the other hand, you can form some good contacts. There are some downsides too; it can be costly to get qualified and also you may not be able to get a letter of recommendation.
Importance of USCE
- USCE if often required for IMG applicants for residency program. Some programs have some sets of requirements (e.g. length) for the experience. If you didn’t make USCE, you will have to go for the residency choice automatically.
- USCE can get you letter of recommendation (as said earlier) from US physicians for clinical expertise, which will make your application strong. From the 2012 Program Director survey, it has been seen that LORs put great weight on your application, especially if it is from a physician within your applied specialty.
- USCE also gives you the chance to make some contacts. You should know why we are giving importance on making good contacts. Contacts can play a very important part for you to get residency interviews and match. If you get LORs from the physicians who are familiar with the program director, you will get more familiar with the program director, which is very helpful.
- USCE will also help you to understand the medical system of US.
Set Your Goals High
When you are doing a rotation within US, try to be on you absolute best behavior. You should set up your goals to-
- Learn and understand the US medical training system.
- Present yourself as a highly skilled team member.
- Learn more about the medical specialty you are doing rotation on. Don’t think about to do extra mile in your every work, while others just sit back and take the experience lightly.
Work, Work and Work
During your rotation, take chances as much as possible to see more patients, take more calls, and study more articles and published research. Even if you get chance to take a day off or early leave don’t take it. Make sure that you are the best in your rotation. Also make sure that you come early on every meeting, rounds, and experience sharing or leering sessions. Try to be well prepared and knowledgeable on every chance you get. It is possible that your attendance might be noticed, that you are working hard. If you get a scheduled afternoon or day off, ask your attending if they have any other clinic where you could attend. It is very common that the Attending Physicians may have their own personal clinics or some personal clinical duties. They would be delighted if they can get some extra help. If no other option is available, go to the library and read about your patient as well as about others too. You may be asked about your opinion on other patients.
There are additional sources of educational experience that a medical student can obtain. These are known as Clinical Experiences and are referred to as Observerships, Clerkships, & Externships. Each one of these can add to the experience an IMG has, and help them be better candidates to match into a residency program of their choice. Most of these are built into an AMGs medical school’s classes, all done before residency, so if an IMG wants a particular specialty in a desirable location, they need to complete some form of these.