How Important are Rotations for Future Doctors? Read on

When medical students are ready to kick their education on to the next level, clinical rotations are how they do it. It is here that students get to work on core and elective rotations which allow them to apply the knowledge that they’ve acquired in the classroom as well as develop clinical skills by treating real patients, in real-world medical scenarios.

If this is you, then you probably have a few questions about how this happens and what actually goes on during these core clinical rotations. So in this post, we’re going to look at a few of the issues that surround this stressful period in a medical student’s life and discuss why they are so very important to you. Medical careers will always be in demand, so if you’re only considering a career in medicine, it’s a good time to start.

Clinical rotations or ‘clerkships’ bring together the final two years of medical school tuition.

During these rotations, medical students ‘shadow’ their physicians and residents. They have access to patients as well as hands-on experience in clinical medicine. Then, students also get to work under the tutelage of experienced physicians and specialists that work with residents to treat patients as well as solve complex medical problems and issues.

It is often through these rotations that medical students will find the field in which they wish to specialize in.  Clerkship America can help with advice and guidance.

Now, there are two different types of rotations: core rotations and elective rotations.

Core rotations are built around the disciplines of internal medicine, family medicine, obstetrics, and gynecology as well as other disciplines like family medicine and psychiatry, whereas elective rotations allow students to explore a variety of paths for their careers that are in line with their interests and career goals.

So, rotations introduce students to the nuances of medical diagnoses as skill is after all, based on experience. During this time, students also develop physical examination maneuvers, under the supervision of their attendings of course, and they learn how to interpret medical laboratory studies to start thinking about how they want to practice medicine in the future.

On rotations, students are evaluated differently than during theoretical training. At this point in their studies, they learn by doing, hearing, and experiencing the full range of medical situations and scenarios. Each patient is different and patients that present with similar symptoms will all require a different range of treatment options, thus increasing students’ knowledge and instincts.

Transitions to rotations can be difficult for students who might not have the clinical skills of their peers, but with that being said, everyone is different we’ve already discussed, so trial and error is after all the best way for students to learn.


Get to know your patients: Take the time to know your patients and work on your bedside manner.

Work on your time management skills: You cannot learn enough here. Learning how to prioritize and meet your guidelines and goals on time is an essential skill you can’t live without.

Invest in your patients: Don’t learn the bad habits of more experienced residents or attendings, learn best practice healthcare from the get-go.

Worth with ancillary staff: You’re no better than a nurse or junior staff member – no better at all and you have no idea how much practical knowledge you can gain by opening yourself up to learning from nursing staff. Don’t be the doctor that thinks they’re above all of that.

Plan your study time effectively: Failing to plan, is planning to fail.

Ask questions – and don’t stop: You will never know all that you can know, so remember that.

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