Most medical schools start their clinical training during the third year. This exciting time allows you to grow professionally and encounter the realities of healthcare. This phase of your medical training, however, can be incredibly stressful as it represents a drastic difference from your preclinical work. Now, you will be assigned different roles and responsibilities.

Rotations occur during the second half of medical school in various teaching hospitals associated with the medical school. Students “rotate” through different departments of the hospital and learn through observation and by hands-on experience. They treat patients in various departments and specialties under the supervision of physicians.

Elective: Elective rotations are additional rotations typically completed during a medical student’s third or fourth year of medical school. Schools usually require their students to complete a certain number of elective rotations in specialties of the student’s choosing. This gives medical students the opportunity to explore other specialties outside of the core required specialties. 

Externship: an externship, is similar to rotations, however, it is designated for medical school graduates.

Observership: an observership is NOT a hands-on experience. An observership simply allows you to observe and shadow practicing physicians in either a hospital setting or private practice.

Residents Medical offers core and elective rotations at ACGME accredited university-based teaching hospitals. Many of our rotations are selected from the AMA Graduate Medical Education Directory (Greenbook) and are suggested based on a candidate’s interest. International and foreign medical school students should consider enrolling in U.S. rotations in order to strengthen their candidacy for residency. Oftentimes program directors require a minimum number of months of U.S. clinical experience (USCE) in order to be considered for a position. They might also require at least one LOR from a US doctor who has witnessed your hands-on work. Don’t hesitate to contact one of our student advisers before these spots fill up!

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