Rural clerkship and competitive specialties?

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by ooglygoo, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. ooglygoo

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    Hello,
    I'm hoping to hear from students who have done a rural clerkship in 3rd year - or if you know of someone who has - and whether or not this hurt the student in applying for some of the more competitive residences, i.e. plastics, rads, ENT, etc.

    I am aware that the rural clerkship really appeals to those who are interested in family medicine and other primary care specialties, but it seems like the experience would be valuable for any clinician. At our school we have a choice of whether or not to do a rural clerkship, and I'm trying to find out if there is any negative bias towards these students from program directors or others.

    Thanks...
     
  2. ubcredfox

    ubcredfox Member
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    I'd have to say that doing a rural rotation would be seen as a huge asset on any application. The inherent challenges in rural medicine i.e. the lack of referral centers, the lack of resources, both medical and diagnostic, and generally higher levels of morbidity have a tendency to rapidly foster a sense of clinical acumen that, in my opinion, is unparalleled by many "city" docs.

    I was a great skeptic of these rotations, until I went on a month's long rural elective. The experience was stunning and I'm looking forward to doing another one (in the same locale). I don't think you'd have too hard a time selling a rural experience as something "extra" on your application.

    In regards to the competitive specialties the independence and leadership required in rural settings would certainly be a good bonus, and at the least, a good talking point during interviews. My only caveat would be that I'd only do such an elective if I wasn't sacrificing elective time at a center where I'd be interested in matching. Obviously, having face time with the fellows making the decisions would be of greater use.
     
  3. Samoa

    Physician Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

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    The question was not whether it ought to be a huge asset, but rather whether it is viewed as one.

    Two very different things.

    Programs mainly care about the quality of the rotations you did in the field where you're applying. In rotations outside your field but closely related to it (i.e. surgery and medicine), they really only care about the grades and comments. In unrelated fields, they may not care at all. But if they do, it will only be about your grade.
     
  4. BigRedBeta

    BigRedBeta Why am I in a handbasket?
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    Considering my school requires an 8 week rural family med clerkship in the M3 year and we don't have a problem sending people into competitive residencies, I can't fathom that it makes a difference. I think Samoa's point about programs caring far more about your performance in that field and then the medicine and surgery clerkships is absolutely true. If it's something you're still concerned about, bring it up in your interviews and spin it and sell the experience you got as being extremely beneficial to your development as a physician...you always have that chance to put things in your terms.
     
  5. ooglygoo

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    Hello everyone,

    Thanks for all the advice! In fact, what I was referring to was not a rural rotation, but a rural *clerkship*. As in, the full 8 months of your 3rd year are done in a rural area. You get 6 weeks of selectives at the end of it, plus your 3rd year electives (5 or so weeks) tacked on at the end.

    Anyone done anything like this? I like the idea of the electives being at the end of your 3rd year after the core stuff is done, plus having the flexibility of selectives to bone up on areas of core specialities that you felt were lacking in the rural area, i.e. pediatrics or surgery.

    How would doing your full 3rd year in a rural area look on an application for, say, a fairly competitive surgical specialty?

    Thanks...
     
  6. CorazonDoc

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    This info is a bit second hand, so I apologize, but I had a similar conversation with a big wig at my school. He said:

    "If you are applying to a competitive specialty, you need letters from folks in that field period. Preferably from academic centers.

    If you can get these by doing rotations during the beginning of your 4th year by rotating through your schools main hospitals, then you're fine.

    Aside from this, it's going to be all about how you communicate your experience to residency programs."

    I've spent most of my 3rd year in more rural environments and it has been fantastic. Going back to do the specialty I'm interested in back at the main academic center because I need at least one letter from 3rd year. My other 2 letters are going to come from electives early in 4th year.
     

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