Elective Suggestions

August 7, 2013

Good Morning, Readers!

Still on my study break, so won’t get off on too big of a tangent but wanted to write something to those of you who are just beginning clinicals.

So the school tells you, starting during your Med 5 clinicals meeting, that you will be responsible for setting up all your own elective rotations. At first that sounds really intimidating, but then you’re told that it’s not that complicated and not that big of a deal and not to worry so much about it. You calm down, go on with your core rotations and sort of put it in the back of your mind. DON’T!

I had read, during my exhaustive research on valuemd before choosing a school, that it’s vitally important to try and get ALL of your cores done ASAP, and with as few gaps as possible. As with many other topics on valuemd I thought these were just students being fastidious and took it with a grain of salt. I just HAPPENED to LUCK into getting all of my cores booked back-to-back in Chicago and was elated about not having to move for a whole year, but had no idea how truly lucky I was! Here it is fourth year and everyone is trying to set up elective rotations and I have SO MANY CLASSMATES who are lacking just one of the 6-week cores…and they CAN’T GET ELECTIVES! It’s terrifying! Now that’s not to say they can’t get ANY rotations, they have gotten some, but I have now talked this over with multiple classmates who are all having the same trouble. They’re scrambling to find a site to finish their last core before they can book more electives.

You’d think, for example, that if you’re trying to do a rotation in say…peds allergies and asthma, that just because you haven’t done your psych rotation yet, you’d be ok. I mean, you’ve covered the biggies: peds, IM and surgery. WRONG! I have no idea what psych has to do with peds allergy and asthma. And it’s not about the number of weeks you’ve completed either. Almost all of these folks who are running into trouble have completed a family medicine elective (also 6 weeks long like their missing core) but the rotation directors still won’t take that in lieu of the last core.

So my advice to you folks, get your CORES DONE!

I’ll discuss more about electives later but for now, I’m taking an ACLS class today!

2 Responses to “Elective Suggestions”

  1. rycbar said

    Hi Jen,
    I was wondering what actual electives you have been able to get and where because the lists of possible locations isn’t actually true when you contact them? Also, did the school really force you to take a break for step 2 because I’ll have step 2 coming next year and really don’t want to take a break to make match by ’15. Thanks in advance and I have loved your blog when I was down in Nevis and apprehensive about what was coming thanks again.

    • jenningers said

      Hi, Rycbar!

      Good to hear from you, and so happy that you enjoyed the blog! Booking electives has been a very difficult process for just the reason that you listed–the ‘list’ that is given to us is quite out-dated and doesn’t reflect the introduction of the VSAS (visiting student) application that US Med students use to book their electives at US hospitals [which we are not eligible to fill out]. The problem I’ve occurred is that many of the places I was interested in doing electives at, no longer take non-VSAS applications, essentially meaning “if you’re not a US student, we’re not interested.”

      Happily, though, I’ve managed to book 4 out of my 6 4-week electives. It just takes a lot of persistence, a lot of filling out applications, and many, many phone calls. Also some of the places on the list–when you visit their website, say that they don’t take IMG’s unless they have a special relationship with your school and some of them DO actually recognize MUA and you CAN rotate there. My advice is to carefully shop around, make some phone calls, and then if you’re having trouble finding places to take you, call the clinicals department and talk to M.

      Yes, the school really does force you to take a break for Step 2 CK. It wreaks havoc on your schedule, especially if you’re trying to finish on-time and not take an extra year off, so I would suggest you pencil it into your schedule. The guidelines (via the “Step 2 Academic Plan” on the grades site–which has changed, recently, it looks like) are:

      6-week mandatory break if you have >210 on Step 1 + No failed clinical NBME’s
      10-12 week mandatory break if you have <210 on Step 1 OR failed a clinical NBME

      Also it's looking like the dean is requiring you to submit two passing scores on practice NBME CK's before you'll be allowed to schedule your CK. Ouch.

      Just do your best to FIGHT! It seems like EVERYTHING is trying to lull you into having to match a year later–a 2-week delay here, a 4-week gap there–but you have to stand up for yourself and be your own advocate! Tell the clinicals folks that you have calculated it and it is possible for you to match in 2015 and be ADAMANT about it! Good luck!


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