10+ Year Member
Jan 23, 2008
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hello everyone...

I was wondering if anyone could give me some insight or advice concerning how to go about getting a good letter of recommendation during rotations. What does a student have to do or show that sets them apart from the other hundreds of students that also want a strong letter? I realize I have to work hard, but what does that entail and is there anything else I can do? I haven't started rotations so forgive me if my question is somewhat naive.

I will be starting my 3rd year rotations in the near future and I am a caribbean student, so I will need every edge I can get.

thank you very much


Angy Old Man
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 10, 2008
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  1. Attending Physician
it's not rocket science. Prove to your attending that you're working your tail off and learning as much as possible. Prove to your resident and intern that you're trying to make their lives as easy as possible.

Show insight regarding meds: Suggest dosage adjustments or alternate/additional medications if current ones aren't working as well as you'd like.

If a scan's been done but there's no rads report, tell them what you think of the imaging and pester radiology for a read.

Work on disposition from the get go (what the patient needs to be done in order to go home).

Know the trends for critical lab values, whether BNP, WBC, BP, or whatever.
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10+ Year Member
May 15, 2008
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  1. Attending Physician
Post # 2 tells you how to really be a good jr. medical student.
Post #3 probably will be equally more effective to get you a good LOR. As far as LOR's go, it's pretty much the attending who matters, with perhaps some small input from the fellow and/or resident. The intern probably won't be asked to assess you, but if he/she hated you for some reason that might hurt a little. This means you should try to help your team, but you need to maximize your face time with the attending if he/she seems interested in you at all. If things are going well after several days on the rotation, ask the attending if you can go to clinic one day with him/her. Also, try to look smart during rounds...usually the attending doesn't spend a lot of time with the team, so that 5 minute presentation during rounds might be the only or primary impression the attending gets of you. Therefore, you need to study up on how to make a good, concise presentation (First Aid for the Wards, etc.) and also practice in front of the mirror. It's kind of gay and I never did it when I was a 3rd year, but that's probably why I didn't get honors in more clinical rotations...LOL!

Do be helpful to your team as mentioned above, but in my experience cozying up to the attending and acting really, really interested in whatever he has to say is equally critical. Just don't slack off while you are puckering up, though :)


Moving to Clinical Rotations forum as this issue concerns obtaining LORs during the MS-III/MS-IV years.


10+ Year Member
Dec 18, 2008
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Best thing to do is NOT kiss up... I've received better evals that the students on my team and I am the least kissup of the group. After this - I've asked politely "Are you willing to write me a strong letter of recommendation". If they are not willing to write a STRONG one - they'll simply say they don't have time.
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