Monday, May 16, 2011

Experiencing Out-of-State Rotations

Being away on rotation definitely changes the pace during the clinical years. Living in a new place forces one to adjust rapidly, but getting there is half the battle. [Pictured: Huntington Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA]

New Sights, New Places

This month I have chosen to do a clinical rotation out of state at a facility I am interested in applying to for residency. It makes for a good opportunity to learn the computer system, get to know the people I would be working with, and decide if this is a good fit for me. I have been happily impressed with things for the most part. Despite the great onsite rotation, moving from my home with a well-established comfort zone to a rented room in someone's home for a short period with roommates is quite the opposite. I feel like I am back in college with so many people on different schedules all doing their own thing to succeed. It's just a change I am going to have to deal with as it's helping me achieve my goals too.

Some thoughts for those looking to do away rotations that I have found useful:
  • Stay organized - Make a spreadsheet for contact and program names, numbers, emails, addresses, dates etc for easy referencing
  • Apply to programs six months in advance or earlier - If it is a program you are interested in, there is good chance others are too and positions will fill quickly if you don't have time on your side
  • Double book - There is nothing wrong with double booking rotations and politely declining one as time approaches to ensure you have a position somewhere
  • Be seen - If you can't get the specialty you want at the site you are visiting, pick one that will permit face-time in the department you are interested in or request a different month
  • Make lodging arrangements early - Ask student coordinators for a list of available renters, visit craigslist for local postings, and check nearby university classifieds for shared housing
  • Save money on flights - Use airfarewatchdog for updates on the best flight prices to your destinations
  • Be a tourist - Plan a day to visit and explore your new surroundings. It may prove helpful when deciding where to apply for residency. Get groupons to local restaurants and activities
  • Show appreciation - Send a note of appreciation to the program, it only takes a minute and will be one more way for them to remember you
If you have other helpful pointers that you would like to share, please leave them in the comments below. 

Question of the Week
A 23 year old obese appearing female presents to the emergency department complaining of headache, nausea, photophobia and tinnitus for 3 days. This is the first time she has experienced a headache like this. She denies recent fevers, loss of consciousness, or a significant past medical history. Her last menstrual period was 5 days ago. Her vital signs are stable and your physical exam is benign. Computed tomography of the head and lumbar puncture are normal.What is the most likely diagnosis?

A. Normal Pregnancy
B. Dehydration
C. Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension
D. Subarachnoid Hemorrhage
E. Meningitis


Answer & Explanation

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