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Clinical Rotations-Definite Guide With All You Need To Know

What are Clinical Rotations?

So, what exactly do clinical rotations mean? What are clinical rotations like? Let us explore all of that.

While there is no hard definition for Clinical Rotations, we can define clinical rotations in our own words:

Clinical rotations refer to the practice of medicine by medical aspirants under the guidance and supervision of experienced health professionals and practitioners, during their medical program.

Clinical Rotations are the final phases of the medical program in which medical students or future doctors get an opportunity to visit clinics and hospitals, learn medicine practically through working in hospitals, dealing with patients, providing patient care and treatment under expert guidance and actually experiencing the typical life of a doctor even before they become one. 

Clinical Rotations are also referred to as Clinical Clerkships, Clinical Experiences, Clinical Training or just Clinicals.

While the duration and timing of clinical rotations may vary depending on the University and the level of the medical program, at Lincoln American University, one of the fastest growing medical universities in South America region, Clinical Rotations start in the 4th year of the MD Program after completion of 1 Year of Pre-medical Program and 2 years of Pre-Clinical Program. 

Clinical rotations are the bridge in your journey of transformation from a medical aspirant into a doctor. Clinical rotations form the last two years of the MD Program.

In clinical rotations, you will interact with patients, will be involved in patient care and get hands-on training in various domains of medicine. 

Clinical rotations represent the most challenging as well as the most rewarding part of the MD Program in which you will discover various fields of medicine, explore your medical interests and specialization. 

Clinical rotations are the best time to hone your existing medical skills, learn new ones and make the best blend of theory and practice of medicine to deliver the best healthcare services. Right from using the medical syringe to conducting serious operations, you’ll learn it all by observing and practicing in clinical rotations.

A typical day in clinical rotations is not much different than a typical day in the life of a doctor. Visiting clinics, interacting with patients, understanding their health issues and overserving progress, participation in operations and going on patient-rounds will be a ritual for you during clinical clerkship. Feeling excited? We know you are! Let’s now explore what makes clinical rotations different than the medical studies you have done so far.

How Are Clinical Rotations Different from the Rest of The Medical Education?

During the first three years of studies in the MD Program, you learn with books, seminars, and laboratories which are conventional ways of education. In clinical rotations, you, as a medical aspirant, get an exclusive opportunity to visit hospitals as a trainee, observe experienced doctors and treat patients under guidance! At first, it seems overwhelming but real. 

During clinical rotations, you live the typical life of a doctor even before you become one!

Clinical experiences are most exciting as well as the most crucial part of your medical journey. Most exciting because this is the phase when you enter the “practical world of medicine” and face the real-world challenges, encounter real patients and help give them real cure. Most crucial because this is also the phase when you learn the practical application of medical knowledge you have acquired throughout the years to provide the best healthcare to the patients. 

In clinics, the more you learn, the better doctor you will be. From nursing skills to conducting serious operations, you go through all possible experiences in your clinical sciences time.  

While you experience many moments during clinical rotations —moments of joy for good news, moments of sadness in critical conditions of patients, moments of fatigue when you are in too much demand at the clinic— one thing is sure: every moment is a moment of shared work, empathy, care, and immense learning and all that learning remains with you for life as it is a learning gained through real-life incidents and experiences.

Why Are Clinical Rotations Important?

Clinical rotations help you switch from the academic world of medicine to the pragmatic world. It’s the only time where you, as a medical professional, are forgiven for committing a mistake and are guided to solve a case. 

Before clinical rotations, you are learning medicine, but you are not in the field. Clinical rotation is the time when you land in the filed and realize what it takes to be a doctor.

Clinical rotations are an essential aspect to advance your medical career. It’s the time to get hands-on experience an explore the hidden gems of medicine.

In clinical rotations, you get to apply your medical knowledge to real-life medical problems and take care of real patients.

It’s imperative to take your clinical trailing seriously and opt for reputed hospitals for clinical rotations to treasure as much experience as you can. After graduation, when you will be looking for residency programs, your clinical skills and references will be the most contributing factors in getting you a residency of your choice. 

Don’t miss a clinical rotation if you get the opportunity to attend. Remember, your clinical time will never come back. Clinical rotations cover a wide range of medical topics within a short span of time and there is a very rare chance to replicate the similar situations and topics that have passed by. If a learning opportunity is gone, it’s gone. There are very fewer opportunities to make up for what you would have learned had you not missed a rotation.

Clinical rotations provide a platform to master the science and art of medicine that stays with you for life and help you become a proficient and skillful medical practitioner. 

Remember, clinical rotations for medical students are an incredible privilege that only medical aspirants can avail. Promise yourself to deliver the best you can and learn all you can during your clinicals. Deliver your promise and rest assured, you’ll become a great doctor!

Types of Clinical Rotations

There are several types of clinical rotations depending on the factors of differentiation. Due to varying levels of expertise, knowledge, specialization, and experience required, each new clinical rotation can feel like a new job. 

Depending on whether a clinical rotation is mandatory or optional, all the clinical rotations can be grouped into two broad categories:

Core Rotations

Core Rotations are mandatory rotations that medical students are compulsorily required to undergo. Rotations that are included in Core Rotations vary depending on the medical school chosen by the medical students. Let’s have a quick look at an illustrative list of Core Rotations:

  • Family Medicine Rotation
  • Internal Medicine Rotation
  • Obstetrics/ Gynecology (OB/GYN) Rotation 
  • Psychiatry Rotation
  • Pediatrics Rotation
  • General Surgery Rotation 
  • Neurology Rotation

Elective Rotations

Elective rotations are special rotations that are optional for medical students. Students are free to choose from a wide variety of elective rotations depending on their interests and areas in which they would like to specialize. Depending on the medical school, some Elective Rotations may be conducted as Core Medicine by the concerned school. While there is a wide variety of Elective Rotations, here is an illustrative list of Elective Rotations available to medical aspirants like you:

  • Cardiology Rotation
  • Pathology Rotation
  • Radiology Rotation
  • Emergency Medicine Rotation
  • Ophthalmology Rotation 
  • Infectious Disease Rotation
  • Orthopedics Rotation
  • ICU Rotation 
  • Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R) Rotation 
  • Plastic Surgery Rotation 
  • Allergy & Immunology Rotation
  • Nephrology Rotation
  • Pulmonology Rotation
  • Endocrinology Rotation
  • Gastroenterology Rotation
  • Dermatology Rotation
  • Hematology & Oncology Rotation
  • Allergy & Immunology Rotation

How To Prepare for Clinical Rotations

To make the most out of clinical rotations and experiences, you need to have or develop certain qualities which will also help you become a great doctor and stay on the top of medical career throughout your journey. Here are the necessary qualities and traits–can we say tips for clinical rotations?–required to succeed in clinical rotations:

Be Curious: On clinical visits, curiosity is the key to broaden the learning opportunities. The more you ask, the more you get to know and the more you get to learn. Well, that doesn’t mean that you should start raising questions during the middle of an operation. Instead, take a note of all you need to ask, and it’s a good practice to clear a bunch of queries in one go.

So, while It's great to be inquisitive, be mindful of when to interfere and don’t disturb the team when working in a stressful situation.

Stay Focused: A doctor can’t afford to lose focus, given the repercussions of a small medical mistake and the same is equally applicable for medical aspirants. Being a doctor is not just about a successful career but an opportunity to relieve the pain of others and save lives. Make sure that you don’t bring just your body, but your mind as well.

Be Calm: In clinical rotations, you will meet different kind of patients with different type of diseases. Being a doctor is a test of your patience as well which start with clinical training and continues for life. To treat your patients carefully, gain their trust and provide them with the best possible health care, you need to be calm and get a deep insight into their medical situation. 

Don’t Argue: You are not pursuing a career in law but medicine. As a medical professional, you need to stay calm – always and all ways. You should never argue, especially with your patients. Always remember that giving cure to patients is not just your job, but a shared exercise and goes beyond any personal egos and interests.

Be a Good Listener: It’s a no-brainer requirement for being a good doctor but needs great efforts. Active listening helps you both ways in a medical career. Carefully listening to your professors, colleagues and senior doctors can help you to dive into some hidden gems of medicine while as a good listener, you will be able to properly understand the patients’ issues and give them better cure.

Get a life-long Learning Mindset: In Clinical rotations, every day is a day to learn something new. When it comes to medicine especially, we should not claim to be a perfectionist and develop an aptitude for continuous learning.

Be Empathetic: If one can’t understand the pain and sufferings of others, one can’t be a good doctor. In clinical rotations, you will see people who are in pain on a daily basis. You need to be empathetic towards your patients, their family members, and relatives. Only then, you will be able to develop good doctor-patient relationships that will help you quickly heal your patients.

Be Caring: That’s the most essential quality. Theodore Roosevelt, 26th US President, said it once so well: “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” Just humbly asking the patients “How are you doing now?” goes a long way. 

"Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care."
- Theodore Roosevelt, 26th US President

Be an Efficient Writer: You must be thinking why I need to be an efficient writer for being a good doctor? Well, in clinical rotations, you need to maintain lots and lots of notes on patients’ medical history, progress in their medical conditions, self-learning reports and much more. So, being a good writer will not only help you save time but also help you to keep track of what’s going on in clinical rotations, what are your responsibilities and what is to be done next. Your writing skills will help you in your medical exams too!

Make notes: Make notes on every major topic covered in the clinical rotations to help yourself in exam time. While the devil is always in details, covering significant issues in summarized notes is a good practice to refer to a topic in exam time or in times when you need to re-brush your knowledge.   

Do Not Forget to Go Through Patient Files: Before seeing your patients who will be assigned to you during clinical rotations, try to get as much medical information about them as possible. The least demanding and the best way to know your patients is to read their medical files and see the patients’ records, their medical history, test reports, etc. 

Network and connect: Clinical rotations are the best times to grow your professional network and connect with like-minded as well as unlike-minded people. During clinical rotations, you get the chance to work with experienced and well-qualified doctors and some of the best brains in the field of medicine. A one-time collaborative work can open the door for a thriving professional relationship which is beneficial for everyone. If you build a strong network, you can quickly get help from your connections when required. Also, you can extend a helping hand when they need it. It’s a win-win.

While looking for residency and job after your medical graduation, you will need references, and that’s where your network of smart people comes to your rescue!

Be aware of your attire: Be mindful of what to wear during clinical rotations. Don’t forget to wear that white coat and other clinical attire like gloves, mask, scrub wear, as per the requirement of the situation. You’re going to be a doctor, and it’s better if you dress and behave like one. 

Maintain Hygiene: Failure to maintain hygiene in clinics and hospitals can result in unwanted repercussions in patient care. You must ensure personal hygiene in all settings of healthcare which is very instrumental in preventing infections.

Be on Time, always: Most people can afford to be late in their daily lives but neither doctors nor medical students. If one is coming late in clinicals, one doesn’t know what s/he is missing at. Try to reach a bit early each day and enjoy what the rest of your clinical day has got for you. 

Feedback: We all are great but only if others say so! All we mean is that don’t overrate yourself or feel overconfident, no matter how good clinician are you. Always try to get the feedback of those you are dealing with. With feedback from different personnel, you will find common weak points in your work, and you will be able to work on your weak areas and excel further.

Clinical Rotations offered by Lincoln American University

To make the students familiar with clinicals on an early basis, from the second year of the program, we facilitate visits and observation of clinics for our students in affiliated hospitals alongside their MD in Guyana.

Also, our state-of-the-art laboratories and simulation facilities help the students gain hands-on experience in an artificial environment, make the most of their medical education in America, and get ready for clinical experiences in the third phase of the MD Program.

To ensure the best possible clinical experiences for our students, Lincoln American University is affiliated with some of the most reputed organizations which facilitate clinical rotations in the USA. Also, we have collaborated with some of the most reputed hospitals in Asia and the Caribbean and other regions to facilitate International Clinical Rotations for International Medical Students in countries like India, Nepal, Canada depending on the choice of the students and provide them with all the necessary resources for clinical rotations.

Clinical Experiences in different countries expose the students to various cultures, diverse situations, medical conditions and international medical practices helping them become well-versed medical professionals and get prepared for the International Practice of Medicine.

Lincoln American University is committed to providing the best possible medical education in Guyana to students from all over the world and has become one of the fastest growing medical colleges in South America. While the students study medicine in West Indies, they get international-standard medical education in Guyana given the 5-Year MD Program of Lincoln American University is based on the medical curriculum of MD in USA. Further, International Clinical Rotations provided to students help them become world-class medical professionals ready to face any medical situation with courage, confidence, intellect, and experience.

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