Sep 21, 2023

The Meaning of Clinical Rotations

Clinical Clerkship

During the final years of medical school, students undergo a clinical rotation — but what's the meaning of clinical rotations? During rotations, students shadow physicians and residents in the hospital. They also get valuable experiences interacting with patients and their families. Clinical rotations, also called clinical clerkships, experiences, or training, are opportunities for you to transition from theory to practice of medicine — to deliver the best healthcare services.

A typical day in clinical rotations is closely similar to a day in the life of a physician. You get to conduct supervised patient interviews, do lab results analysis and reviews, go on hospital rounds, learn about different health conditions, provide patient care and treatment, participate in operations and team discussions, and visit clinics.

Essentially, you gain guidance from physicians and the medical team. Additionally, you get a good grasp of the typical life of a doctor before becoming one.

How Clinical Rotations Work

You are integral member of the medical team during clinical rotations. You work alongside other students, residents, fellows, nurses, and the attending physicians.

Most clinical rotations last for 80 weeks, usually divided into four- to eight-week blocks. This means you have the unique opportunity of deep diving into each rotation’s specialty.

For instance, you may be required to do one month of clinical rotation in surgery, the next on internal medicine, and the succeeding month on pediatrics. Other core specialities for clinical rotation include family medicine, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, and psychiatry.

Students receive their own schedule. At the end of the clinical rotation, they must successfully pass the end-of-rotation assessments. This includes a standardized test and the clinical instructors’ performance evaluation.

medical students doing clinical rotations

Why Clinical Rotations are Important

Clinical rotations are vital to advance your medical career. They are informal interviews or stepping stones toward a successful residency program application. Do it well and you’re likely to gain not just clinical skills, but also references and recommendations from physicians, administrators, and other instructors. This will contribute to your residency of choice.

The switch from academic world to practical world occurs in clinical rotations. It’s the time that you actually experience the medical field and find out what it’s like (and what it takes) to be a practicing doctor. It also gives you a look into the career opportunities and networks in the hospital in the area you’re eyeing.

More importantly, clinical rotations help students determine what residency to pursue. By experiencing a variety of medical specialties, students can make an educated decision about what is right for them, what they’re passionate about, and what fits their goals.

Ultimately, the meaning of clinical rotations is to allow students to apply the knowledge and skills they acquire from the classroom setting to real-life medical practice. It’s an opportunity to learn and practice a wide range of medical topics in short span of time. And above all, it’s a chance to assess which path to take to advance your career.

If you have questions about you clinical rotation, what it looks like, and how to get into the program, C.H.H.A is here to help you. We work with international medical universities, students, and graduates. Let us help you get the training required to build a competitive U.S. residency application.

Contact us today to learn more.

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