Tips for MS3 doing elective Surg Path rotation

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Full Member
10+ Year Member
Sep 22, 2007
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Hey, I was wondering if anyone had any advice for me. I'm starting a 2 week Surg Path rotation in a couple of weeks and was wondering if there is anything I should know going into it, or anything I could do to prepare.

I've been getting more and more interested in Path over the last year, but this will be my first real exposure and I'd like to get the most out of it, but mostly I'd like to get a good idea of whether or not Path is for me. I'm currently finishing my general surgery rotation, and it's sucked all the life out of me so I'm really hoping that Path works out (not to mention my wife would probably kick me in the groin multiple times every day if I ever went into something that was like my current surgery experience). If anyone has any advice or suggestions, I'd appreciate it.


Moderator Emeritus
15+ Year Member
Aug 15, 2003
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Just keep your eyes and ears open, pay attention, ask an attending for a slide box or something and go through cases. When you see cases on service, read about them or read about the differential diagnosis. Don't worry too much about being "helpful" as path is not like medicine or surgery where you can be a gopher and do little errands for people. To prepare, well, you can try reading about normal histology or reviewing a normal histology atlas, but it probably won't be that helpful except for familiarizing you with terminology. Once you sit through a day of signout it will focus you a bit more. Most med student path rotations are very low stress and kind of up to you as to how to organize your day.

Also try the search engine, many people ask this question or a similar one.