Clinical rotations take place in the last leg of your medical school education. In the final year or final two years of med school, students undergo different clinical rotations, during which they work at hospitals in real clinical settings under the supervision of licensed doctors.

As a final year student about to enter the clinical rotations phase of the journey, it might be overwhelming and confusing. You may be confused about how to choose your rotations or may be swamped with having to study for exams and go to work. Here are some useful tips to make your clinical rotations smoother.

Useful Tips For Clinical Rotations


  • Sign up for every possible rotation

Even if you are sure of the medical specialty you want to pursue, sign up for rotations in other fields as well. Each rotation will be different and offer new learning experiences, all of which will only shape the kind of doctor you will be in the future. Who knows, you may even grow interested in a specialty you didn’t expect to like after doing a rotation. Working in different departments also teaches you how to work across different teams, and gives you opportunities to network with different types of doctors. Put your best effort in each rotation and maximize your learning potential.

  • Talk to physicians of different specialties

Clinical rotations provide opportunities to talk to physicians in a particular field. Ask them what their experiences are like, any advice they can give you, and specific questions about the field. Try to learn as much as you can from doctors who practice full time. This also helps you build a good rapport with people you may work with in the future, and whom you can later ask for referrals.

  • Balancing responsibilities is key

As a doctor in training, your responsibilities as a student will not have left you completely. You will not only have the responsibilities of a doctor, but also that of a student. You will have to work during the day, and study for exams and complete assignments during your free time after work. This is where it’s important to have good organizational and time management skills.

  • Be ready for any situation

Unlike lab settings, clinical rotations involve real-life situations with real patients and real health conditions. As a doctor, you need to be prepared to handle any scenario, even ones that arise unexpectedly. 

  • Talk to your seniors

Talk to seniors who are doing their rotations. Ask them for advice and to elaborate on their experiences to give you a realistic idea of things you will face, which will prepare you in advance.

  • Hone your professional skills

Between juggling multiple tasks, it’s easy to be late to classes or other appointments. Make sure you’re on time for daily rounds, and are appropriately dressed for the job. Even if your attending doesn’t seem to care about these things, it could still affect the overall impression they have of you.

Take the time to talk to patients and learn from them. This can make them feel more comfortable with you and in turn, help you treat them better. Use this opportunity to sharpen your people skills. Patients give you a glimpse of what it’s like on the other side of your job, and the insights they provide will only make you a better doctor.

  • Don’t forget to take care of yourself

You can’t take care of someone if you’re not taking care of yourself first. Make time to exercise, eat healthy, sleep well and do anything else that reenergizes your body and mental health. Making time for hobbies or other relaxing activities restores your energy and acts as a much-needed change of scenery from the hectic environment you’re working in. Constantly focusing on work and not taking care of yourself can lead to burnout, which is not a good place to be in if you want to be a successful doctor.

Rotations may be the most stressful part of your medical degree so it’s important to remind yourself of why you want to be a doctor and what your goals are. Clinical rotations are temporary but still have a long-lasting impact on your career.