You can’t just practice the same study methods from college in medical school. Clinical rotations allow students to apply knowledge from the classroom to real life medical situations. Of course, you probably have some questions about what exactly goes on during these rotations: what do you actually learn and how do these rotations advance your medical career?

Clinical rotations comprise the last two years of medical education. During rotations, students shadow physicians and residents at teaching hospitals, have access to patients, and gain valuable hands-on experience. Their professors are physicians and students work with residents to solve complex medical dilemmas. U.S. medical school students typically participate in clinical rotations at one hospital while Caribbean medical school students complete rotations at teaching hospitals throughout the United States.

In most medical schools, this is students’ first hands-on experience interacting with patients. At American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine, we provide students with the opportunity to obtain clinical experience early, making them better prepared for their rotations. AUA has a simulation lab where students can put in practice what they have learned in the classroom.  Students also take pre-clinical courses at Mount St. John’s Medical Centre, where they are able to interact with patients.  These aspects of the curriculum provide AUA students with an advantage when they begin rotating.

Because AUA is approved by the New York State Education Department and recognized by the Medical Board of California, it has more clinical affiliates throughout the United States than any other Caribbean medical school.  This provides AUA students a number of options for clinical rotations and the opportunity to build a broad network through residency positions.

Clinical rotations are important for obtaining a residency position because they act as informal interviews. The physicians and hospital administrators you work with are the ones that will most likely write your recommendation letters. They can offer you a heads up about career opportunities at the hospital or other hospitals in the area. Rotations are not all networking, though.

These rotations assist students in figuring out what residencies are right for them. By shadowing physicians in a variety of disciplines, students are able to make a more educated decision about what specialty they want to join. These sorts of decisions don’t come easily. That’s why it’s pivotal to explore as many rotations as you can. This way, you’ll discover the specialty you’re truly passionate about.

Medical students obtain the experience necessary to become physicians because of these rotations, which why they typically come towards the end of their studies. By the time they graduate, they need to be fully prepared to act as physicians in their residencies and clinical rotations are the perfect training tool to make the jump from medical school seamless.