Merits of away rotations for FM vs electives that you wouldn't normally be able to do

tealeafexplorer

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I am trying to decide if it is more beneficial for me to try and do a couple away rotations for FM at potential programs I might like, vs rotations that would be very helpful for future FM practice such as ortho clinic, sports med, radiology, derm, ICU.

I have good stats for FM, so an away for me would be more to try and get to know a certain program better.

I have read on these forums though that rotations such as derm, rads, rural FM, clinic ortho, and ICU are really nice to help for FM as well.

Anyone have any thoughts?
 

VA Hopeful Dr

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There's no right answer to this one, and I don't think you'll regret going either direction.

Doing rotations to get to know programs does have merit (you'll be there for 3 years after all). But you run the risk of making a bad impression that could hurt an otherwise OK application. That's the main reason I didn't do any outside rotations, but you are probably a better student than I am so that might be less of a concern. Most FP programs are also pretty friendly, I know very few people who weren't happy with where they ended up.

Rotations to gain extra experience can certainly be helpful, but you're not likely to learn enough in any of those to really give a huge head start to residency. For instance, I did an ENT elective and don't really remember learning much that residency didn't teach me pretty early on (other than soaking surgicel in Factor 7 to stop a really nasty posterior nose bleed, but I'd never try that anyway).

I guess my advice would be do what you think you'll enjoy since you probably won't get the chance to do whatever elective you want again in your career.
 

Cranjis McBasketball

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I am trying to decide if it is more beneficial for me to try and do a couple away rotations for FM at potential programs I might like, vs rotations that would be very helpful for future FM practice such as ortho clinic, sports med, radiology, derm, ICU.

I have good stats for FM, so an away for me would be more to try and get to know a certain program better.

I have read on these forums though that rotations such as derm, rads, rural FM, clinic ortho, and ICU are really nice to help for FM as well.

Anyone have any thoughts?
You can do both. You can do 3 aways or something like that and then the rest of 4th year doing electives that will help for future FM or that maybe weren't great in 3rd year. I have heard from multiple people you don't even have to do any in FM. However, I'm not confident in the quality of my 3rd year rotations so part of the reason I am hoping to do like 2 or 3 is to help gain more experience in inpatient medicine and working with residents/rounding and all the stuff you do in residency that maybe wasnt that great 3rd year.
 
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simpler2

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Some additional variables to consider:
1. Does your school and local area provide a rock star rotation for a certain field? You only get opportunity for exploration in medical education a few times, might want to take advantage of a great experience.
2. Are you looking at highly competitive family medicine programs? If yes, making yourself known to a few faculty members can be very valuable.

If I could go do it all again, I wouldn't worry terribly about taking a rotation in a specialty solely for the sake of strengthening your knowledge in that field. Chances are whatever you learn may be irrelevant by the time you are independently practicing or you could simply end up rotating somewhere with poor or non-existent clinical education.
 

AMEHigh

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FWIW I did all those rotations during residency and don't think it would've been super helpful before residency. And to be honest, I feel like having a good understanding more of what FM entails when you're a resident doing it yourself makes the context of those other specialities even better to do while you're a resident.

I think the benefit of doing away FM rotations is so you can see if you're a good fit for a program. Obviously if you perform poorly it could knock you down on the rank list.

I think you can do a mix of both and in regards to doing electivies 4th year I'd pick something that you're actually interested in and not worry so much about what is "needed." I guess it's a good thing that FM is broad that you can find something you enjoy that will likely be relevant.
 

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Back in the ancient time of 2019 when we were carefree and I had to walk uphill both ways to give my patient presentations (okay I'll stop) my classmates and I primarily did only 1-2 subI/audition rotations to show additional interest in FM during 4th year. Any other FM exposure after that was either for additional experience or the lucky happenstance of having a month to scope out a program to see if you wanted to go there. This last part is the main benefit in my mind.

Sure, the more time you have with the program the more time you have to do or say something stupid that puts you lower on the list, but if you're relatively normal that's not usually an issue (coming from someone who regularly puts their foot in their mouth).

Otherwise, do whatever rotations you want/can get. It's 4th year. Once you're through interview season, do what you want because you won't have this level of freedom again.
 
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bigindian4891

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Current 4th year, but I wish I did more rotations at the programs I was interested in. I was also warned about the "what if they don't like you?" caution, but felt like if that's what they felt, you would not want to match there anyways. In fact, I was told by some programs that doing the rotation with them put me in a very advantageous position for the match compared to other applicants.

It really helped for ranking too. If I am doing residency at a place for 3 years, a one month rotation lets me see the workflow, the little things that may annoy me, and daily faculty and resident interactions. One of my top choices prior to the season is going to be DNR based on what I saw, while the programs I thought I wouldn't have much of an interest in became my number 1. In my opinion, I think it is a shame that more FM applicants don't do auditions at their preferred programs.

If you do an FM rotation and they don't like you, imagine if you hadn't rotated and ended up matching there?
 

VA Hopeful Dr

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Current 4th year, but I wish I did more rotations at the programs I was interested in. I was also warned about the "what if they don't like you?" caution, but felt like if that's what they felt, you would not want to match there anyways. In fact, I was told by some programs that doing the rotation with them put me in a very advantageous position for the match compared to other applicants.

It really helped for ranking too. If I am doing residency at a place for 3 years, a one month rotation lets me see the workflow, the little things that may annoy me, and daily faculty and resident interactions. One of my top choices prior to the season is going to be DNR based on what I saw, while the programs I thought I wouldn't have much of an interest in became my number 1. In my opinion, I think it is a shame that more FM applicants don't do auditions at their preferred programs.

If you do an FM rotation and they don't like you, imagine if you hadn't rotated and ended up matching there?
My concern is not that they wouldn't like my personality, it's that for the vast majority of fourth year I was an enormous slacker.

Like pretty much everyone else, in residency I worked my tail off but had I rotated in certain places as a fourth year I could have left a bad impression about my work ethic. I like to think I would have worked harder on an away rotation in my chosen specialty than on elective rotations at my home institution, but that was a risk that was not worth it to me.
 
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Sardonix

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My concern is not that they wouldn't like my personality, it's that for the vast majority of fourth year I was an enormous slacker.

Like pretty much everyone else, in residency I worked my tail off but had I rotated in certain places as a fourth year I could have left a bad impression about my work ethic. I like to think I would have worked harder on an away rotation in my chosen specialty than on elective rotations at my home institution, but that was a risk that was not worth it to me.

Can't leave a bad impression if that's the truest impression.

*Taps forehead
 
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cabinbuilder

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I am trying to decide if it is more beneficial for me to try and do a couple away rotations for FM at potential programs I might like, vs rotations that would be very helpful for future FM practice such as ortho clinic, sports med, radiology, derm, ICU.

I have good stats for FM, so an away for me would be more to try and get to know a certain program better.

I have read on these forums though that rotations such as derm, rads, rural FM, clinic ortho, and ICU are really nice to help for FM as well.

Anyone have any thoughts?
When I was in med school I had a unique situation where I had joint custody of of the kids so every summer I had to take them to Alaska to drop off with their dad. So during rotation times I did general surgery, Oncology, and FP in Alaska. Also at the time I had a MIL in Vegas so I did radiology in Vegas and I also did general surgery in Albuquerque. Since I work urgent care my regret is not getting to do derm or ophtho in med school or residency. I also did a blood bank/lab rotation, a coroner rotation, a pathology lab rotation. Bariatric surgery/lap band.
 

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In terms of volume of knowledge you can pick up per day as a med student, an ICU elective is definitely your best bet. We spend 3 months in the icu in residency and I did a couple months as a med student which really helps the inpatient/ED experience as well. If later in the year, you might get some procedures too.

I also did rural ED with some FM docs (who did mostly ED work elsewhere too), and did some reductions/lots of lac repairs and a chest tube. Not every setting will let you do this, but getting things like lac repairs down is an essential skill.

Outpatient specialty rotations you might just end up shadowing, which will just be a blurry memory. Would definitely not do basic inpatient/or FM clinic - you will get more than enough exp in residency.
 

AlbinoHawk DO

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I am trying to decide if it is more beneficial for me to try and do a couple away rotations for FM at potential programs I might like, vs rotations that would be very helpful for future FM practice such as ortho clinic, sports med, radiology, derm, ICU.

I have good stats for FM, so an away for me would be more to try and get to know a certain program better.

I have read on these forums though that rotations such as derm, rads, rural FM, clinic ortho, and ICU are really nice to help for FM as well.

Anyone have any thoughts?
In an interview you got 6 hours to do one **** up and not get ranked well. In an audition, you have 30 days to make one **** up and not get ranked. You play your cards how you want
 
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MedicineZ0Z

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In an interview you got 6 hours to do one **** up and not get ranked well. In an audition, you have 30 days to make one **** up and not get ranked. You play your cards how you want
An audition rotation for FM is a ridiculous risk unless you're certain you will be exceptionally well liked. Basically, most people should not do it and would be wasting their time doing so anyway.
 

Cranjis McBasketball

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Looking over my plans for 4th year and wanted to re-bump this thread:

How badly do you have to suck 4th year for it to actually hurt you when it comes to matching? Does the “sucking” have to do more with personality and just being able to read social cues or will they truly assess your medical knowledge (I ask because I’ve heard that residencies expect 4th years/brand new interns to not really know much). I am trying to decide if I should do an audition at my top 3 programs or not risk it and just try and interview well, and maybe do a couple auditions at places I dont care a ton about
 

fldoctorgirl

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Does the “sucking” have to do more with personality and just being able to read social cues
I've heard it's more this. It's just easy to rub someone the wrong way over the span of a month, by no fault of yours or theirs-- sometimes people just don't mesh. I am applying IM but my plan is to limit my aways/auditions to either a couple of my lower-ranked institutions (so, not number 1 or 2 but would still be happy to go there) or just do a couple all at one institution so that I get the experience without putting myself at risk at multiple places. I think this also depends on how the rest of your app looks.
 
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Cranjis McBasketball

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I've heard it's more this. It's just easy to rub someone the wrong way over the span of a month, by no fault of yours or theirs-- sometimes people just don't mesh. I am applying IM but my plan is to limit my aways/auditions to either a couple of my lower-ranked institutions (so, not number 1 or 2 but would still be happy to go there) or just do a couple all at one institution so that I get the experience without putting myself at risk at multiple places. I think this also depends on how the rest of your app looks.
Thats kind of what I'm thinking of doing. Do auditions at programs that arent maybe in my top 5. The biggest reason I want to do aways is to solidify training because I am not sure how great an experience I am getting here with my 3rd year rotations
 
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fldoctorgirl

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Thats kind of what I'm thinking of doing. Do auditions at programs that arent maybe in my top 5. The biggest reason I want to do aways is to solidify training because I am not sure how great an experience I am getting here with my 3rd year rotations
My reasons are the same.
 
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How badly do you have to suck 4th year for it to actually hurt you when it comes to matching? Does the “sucking” have to do more with personality and just being able to read social cues or will they truly assess your medical knowledge (I ask because I’ve heard that residencies expect 4th years/brand new interns to not really know much). I am trying to decide if I should do an audition at my top 3 programs or not risk it and just try and interview well, and maybe do a couple auditions at places I dont care a ton about

If you don't care about them, don't waste your time doing an audition. Also, don't do one anywhere if you have any concerns about how you will come off socially or clinically.

FWIW, I did an acting internship at my first-choice program, and ended up matching there. I was a much better student during 3rd and 4th year than I was during 1st or 2nd year, and felt like an A.I. would work to my advantage. I'm not suggesting that it's the right thing for everyone.
 
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AlbinoHawk DO

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Looking over my plans for 4th year and wanted to re-bump this thread:

How badly do you have to suck 4th year for it to actually hurt you when it comes to matching? Does the “sucking” have to do more with personality and just being able to read social cues or will they truly assess your medical knowledge (I ask because I’ve heard that residencies expect 4th years/brand new interns to not really know much). I am trying to decide if I should do an audition at my top 3 programs or not risk it and just try and interview well, and maybe do a couple auditions at places I dont care a ton about
Do not audition. This is entirely person dependent. Some people will expect you to work like a tireless robot and know more than Sattar, while another people just wants to see you have interest and put a decent effort. There's no reason someone should audition to FM unless we're talking a Carib grad borderline not able to match
 
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