The preclinical years of medical school includes a lot of homework assignments, lectures, and laboratory work. But when you reach your clinical years, you are required to complete clinical rotations. Choosing the right clinical elective in medical school offers an amazing opportunity for medical students to experience an entirely new side of medicine, hone their clinical skills, and gain an in-depth medical knowledge.
Many medical schools, including Windsor University School of Medicine, entail students to complete 24 weeks of elective rotations – 12 weeks to fulfill the elective rotations and another 12 weeks to meet the graduation requirement of the selective curriculum. However, medical specialties may vary from school to school. Many medical schools offer clinical rotations in urgent care, emergency medicine, family medicine, rural medicine, and public health, while others allow students to complete clinical rotations in surgery, psychiatry, obstetrics, surgery and other competitive fields.
Clinical students are required to complete their clinical rotations no matter the type of specialty they want to pursue. Since clinical electives that medical students are required to pursue, may vary from school to school, a majority of schools offer electives running the gamut from pathology, anesthesiology, hematology, oncology, and dermatology, to geriatrics and radiology. Medical schools affiliated with government hospitals and medical centers offer a number of clinical elective programs that students can pursue. However, there are some medical school programs that have fewer resources, thus offer limited elective options.
Benefits of Pursuing Medical Electives
Clinical rotations not only help students cultivate clinical skills and gain in-depth medical knowledge, they also prepare medical students to find and successfully match into the residency program that meets their career goals. Pursuing clinical electives also allow students to gain experience in the field of medicine that they want to pursue a career. In short, completing electives is an excellent opportunity to improve your overall medical school experience.
How to Choose the Elective Program
With so many available options to choose from, finding the right clinical elective in medical school is extremely difficult for many medical students, especially if they don’t have a particular specialty in mind. Therefore, it is advised to choose wisely and decide how you can make the most of the particular elective. You can easily find the information regarding elective opportunities from different sources such as clinical department at US information office, and faculty members in areas of your interest.
Prior to choosing an elective program, it is advised to carefully consider your needs and interests. Decide whether you want to increase your knowledge and experience in the particular clinical medicine. Do you wish to complete a research project, or do you simply want to observe patients with medical conditions that you have read about in textbooks? When you have a clear goal in mind, it will become easier for you to make the most of your elective.
Find the Perfect Residency Match
Whether you choose gastroenterology or pediatrics, elective programs play a key role in increasing your chances of getting the perfect residency match. During clinical electives, students are required to perform a lot of medical procedures to hone their clinical skills and knowledge that will help them later in their career. In elective programs, there are usually fewer students, which will give you a chance to get additional attention. Furthermore, you will get the chance to develop relationships with your resident, physicians and other staff which greatly help you when it comes to getting strong letters of recommendations for residency.
If you have already made up your mind and decided which medical specialty to pursue, it will be easier for you to choose the clinical elective program that perfectly fit your interests and career goals. For instance, if you want to become a pathologist, an elective in pathology and laboratory medicine is the right choice to meet your career goals. However, for those who haven’t decided on which medical specialty to choose, clinical electives are indeed a great opportunity to get a better understanding of a particular field of medicine.
All in all, elective clinical rotations allow students to determine the right medical specialty, gain an in-depth experienced in different clinical settings or subspecialists they are interested in. Choosing your clinical elective in medical school is a big decision, hopefully, but these easy tips and tricks will help you make the right elective choice.