away elective scheduling

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Aug 20, 2004
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can anyone here give me any input on scheduling an away elective before doing one at their home school? I was able to confirm an away with a school I really want to attend, except that their only available spot is in my first block of electives, therefore must be before my home elective. Our school is also very primary care oriented so that my experience in any surgical specialty is almost none, with only general surgery rotation in third year currently. Does anyone have any input as to whether it would be better to not do this away elective at all then, rather than do it before the home school elective experience, or should I do the away anyway since it's somewhere I want to be ultimately?

thanks again all.

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Unfortunately as an outside rotator you are at the mercy of the host school's schedule. Your situation depends upon how comfortable you are with your orthopaedic knowledge. You have a few options:

Research other programs in the area and contact them about their available rotations. Remember residency coordinators may be scheduling visiting rotations, and they are extremely busy with interviews right now, so be patient. That's what I did, and it turns out by the fate of scheduling conflicts, I rotated at what may be the better program for me, even though I had never heard of it. Also, if there is a specific reason why you are going to an area, you can make that clear in your personal statement (and have different personal statements to specific schools), and that helps out.

Another option is to go visit the program on your own time, for no credit. Explain that you would love to still go there, but are unable to do the rotation because of scheduling conflicts, so you would like to visit for a week or whatever during your vacation. Some programs allow this, some of my fellow students have done this. I am not a residency coordinator, so I don't know if this impresses them or not, but I'm sure it can't hurt and is probably good.

If your heart is set on the program and you have done well on rotations in general, you can go into an away rotation without a home rotation. You will have less experience, but you do what you gotta do. Start hanging out with ortho NOW. Contact your department coordinator, chiefs, attendings, area physicians, whoever will reply (remember they are busy with interviews), and go to clinic, scrub, round, grand rounds, take call, do whatever they let you and you have time for and ASK them to pimp this furk out of you, as it will only help later on. Get a good ortho book to study from NOW, to answer questions and know classifications, understand whats going on. Two programs I rotated at hardly ever pimped, the last one did. None of it was malignant pimping. However, the more confident I was with my knowledge, the more they asked me to do reductions, casts, reduction pins, etc. Doing this all now is nice because most of the interns are experienced with all of the above and comfortable with letting med students do it (as opposed to the beginning of the academic year).

I remember wanting to get everything squared away very early, but you have to realize that interviews are going on, and the spots will be there still in February, so don't sweat it just yet. If you've made your decision, take the spot to hold it, but if you haven't, contact them and say you are unable to take the spot at this moment because of some specific school rules or something but will contact them if your school approves of it.

Good luck.
that was very useful - thanks for the advice, sscooterguy.

btw, if anyone has any particular ortho textbooks to recommend for the beginner clinical rotations please advise? otherwise, thanks again all.