International Elective Timing Question

Discussion in 'Emergency Medicine' started by joyuni, Dec 25, 2008.

  1. joyuni

    5+ Year Member

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    I hate to ask such a simple question, but was wondering if anyone could be kind and help me out.

    I'm a 3rd year, and seriously considering EM as a future specialty. I'm hoping to do an international elective during my 4th year. The site I wish to do it at does not have any availability till after August. Would August or September be an in opportune time to a rotation in terms of residency interviews/applications?

    Thanks in Advance
     
  2. SoCuteMD

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    Honestly, I think it's best to be stateside until your application is submitted (early September) and with regular access to email to cattle prod...um, I mean REMIND your letter writers until letters are in (took until mid-October for me). I only got a very few interview invites in September, more in October, and a few in November - but it's important to have internet (and even phone) access for scheduling those. I really think 2nd semester is the best choice (February, April, May). March is NOT ideal, as there is the unhappy possibility of scrambling for which you would want to be stateside.
     
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  3. quideam

    quideam Too tired to complain
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    A lot depends on where you're going to be and, as SoCute said, whether you have access to internet. If you do, then it's no problem to do the elective in either August or September, because interviews don't really start until late November (and invites don't generally start coming in until October, though you want email access for those few in Sept).

    One thing to think about, however - August and September are typically the big months for doing away electives in EM; make sure you have all that squared away before you set up international plans. But, as long as you've finished your electives, or at least set them all up, and have your letters more or less on the way, i'd say you're good to go. The only other good time to do international electives in your fourth year would be in the spring, March-May.

    Good luck - and where are you going??
     
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  4. joyuni

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    Thanks Fellas,

    I'm hoping to do a rotation at this site in Ghana, which I've been told will have satellite internet access.

    So sounds like August-September-October is okay as long as I have internet access or Feb/April/May.

    I actually do not plan on doing any away EM rotations. I've been told though that its not necessary, and can sometimes be detrimental if you don't give a good impression.
     
  5. LadyGrey

    LadyGrey Member
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    You said no away electives in EM -- when is your EM at your home program? If it's in third year, I think you need to do EM somewhere as a fourth year.

    I'm not sure who told you not to do aways, but that's contrary to most advice I've heard here and elsewhere. You'll need two EM letters to apply to most places, so it's nice to get letters from more than one EM program. Also, every interview will ask you where you've rotated. Realize that everyone else will have done two or three EM rotations.

    August-September is prime away time. October is when invites start coming and interviews need to be set up. I think being out of the country then is a bad idea.
     
  6. quideam

    quideam Too tired to complain
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    I agree with LadyGrey. While an away EM rotation certainly isn't mandatory, I do think it's a good idea, especially if you do one that's very different from your home program - this way, you will have done, for example, one academic and one county rotation, or a county and a community, etc. It's also a good idea to do one more EM-related rotation, like toxicology or EM ultrasound, just to give you a greater scope of experience (and show a diverse interest in EM!). On all of my interviews, I've been asked about the differences in my rotation experiences, and it's always been viewed as a huge positive that I did an academic EM rotation, a county, and a tox rotation at an academic center.

    You're right, if you screw around and dont' take it seriously, an away rotation could hurt you - but that sort of thing would hurt you on any rotation. So unless you're set on staying at your home program (and know for sure they love you), I would strongly recommend doing at least one more rotation somewhere else...
     
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  7. joyuni

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    Whoa, thanks for the update guys. I had no idea away EM rotations were that important. At the EM interest meetings I went to, I just remember them mentioning that as long as you had good step 1 scores, grades, and letters it wouldn't be a problem.

    Part of the reason I was hoping not to do an away rotation was so I can save money and put it towards the international elective costs. We do EM as a 4th year rotation. When do people typically set up away rotations? Should this be something I should be setting up as a third year?

    Thanks guys!
     
  8. quideam

    quideam Too tired to complain
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    An away rotation doesn't have to be expensive - try to do one where you have friends or family nearby and see if you can stay with them for the month; alternatively, you can try to sub-lease your apt and lease from another student while you're away (it's not that difficult to do, and Craig's list is a great resource). Also, a few places will actually house you (i forget which ones, but you can research it). Generally, to make sure you get the place you want WHEN you want it, apply this spring (and you want it right after you do your home rotation, so august or september, which gives you enough time to get a letter from them for your applicaton). I applied for all of mine in Feb-March, and honestly, the very competitive places do fill up quickly, so definitely start planning soon.

    You should plan on doing the rotation at either
    a) the program you think you want to go to (but this might change, so give it some thought)
    b) a place that's in the geographic area where you want to be (especially if, say, you go to med school in Chicago and want to come to NYC for residency, etc)
    c) a program that's very different from your home program (so if your home program has an academic ED, do an away at a county, etc)

    If you're totally lost and confused, talk to current 4th years who are going through the process now, and see where they rotated and what they felt would be important to do. And talk to your advisor, though take what they say with a grain of salt, because they're looking at this from a different (and sometimes not very timely) perspective than you are...

    Good luck, feel free to post/PM with questions!

    Q
     
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