General Clerkship Tips

Preparedness & Professionalism

  1. Know when and where you are expected to be. Be there on time. If there is some unavoidable delay, contact the physician directly.
  2. Read about patients in advance, if possible. This is especially important in preparation for a surgery.
  3. When speaking with patients, use language that they can understand.
  4. When speaking with patients, be honest. If you don't really understand the medical situation or what the plan is, tell them you will discuss it with the physicians and return. be the patient's advocate--especially important on busy in-patient services, like Gyn-Onc.
  5. Try to have most of your oral presentation completed by the end of the third week of the rotation.

Attitude

  1. Be enthusiastic. Ask questions.
  2. Actively participate in patient care activities. Be present and helpful. Try not to get frustrated by "scut" work - this work is important and necessary to care for our patients. Your efforts will not go unnoticed!
  3. Befriend unit secretaries or clerks - show respect for all members of the health care team. 

Learning

  1. Try to spend time with patients. You can learn a great deal from just talking with your patients about their health and their lives. This is especially valuable when interacting with admitted patients. The patients also get so much out of the added time that you can spend with them.
  2. Seek out learning opportunities from other sources. For example, nurses on L&D are a great resource and can teach you so much about normal and abnormal labor, how to interpret a NST, etc. Social workers and medical consultants are also very valuable sources of additional learning.

Reading

  1. Read, read, read!! Carry around a small text (Hacker and Moore, Blueprints, etc). Make use of the down time during your day.
  2. Read about the given topic the day you see a patient with that specific condition. This will help "cement" it in your mind.
  3. Set a schedule for yourself to read all required topics by the end of the 5th week of the rotation.