Rotation advice from MS3s

By the MS3 Class

Since Baylor College of Medicine’s preclinical curriculum is only 1.5 years, it often happens that the med students helping out the residents in clinics can go from studs to duds in the middle of the year when the MS2s replace the MS3s. This has nothing to do with knowledge, but rather just understanding the ins and outs of every hospital and knowing where things are and who to talk to about what.

It happens every year. So with the MS2s slowly slipping in for the MS3s in clinics this year, we decided there are some things that the new clinical students should know (and things we may or may not have learned the hard way). From the MS3 class:

1. Step 1 is easy compared to the surgery shelf.

2. Work hard + don’t be annoying + average shelf usually gets you high pass or honors. Residents don’t like annoying med students. Another student added to this point “It’s more important to be helpful than the smartest person on your team. No one likes to have that person on the team who is constantly trying to show off.”

I recently heard about a student who paged a resident at 6 a.m. on a Sunday which happened to be his day off. If you wouldn’t want someone else doing it to you, don’t do it to them.

3. Choose your evaluators wisely. You can often very easily tell who cares about helping you and providing you constructive feedback and others who just want you to get the work done and then get out of their face.

4. There are not one but TWO Starbucks at the VA.

5. The most annoying thing to a resident is when they ask you to do something and you don’t do it and they end up having to do it themselves. If they need a phone call made, make the call. If nobody answered, PHYSICALLY go down to that department and talk to them. Don’t ever come back to your resident and say, “I couldn’t do it.” Figure out a way to get it done. Otherwise you’re just increasing their work load.

6. If you want to learn how to do something – reading an EKG or x-ray, physical skills, any procedure – ask. People will usually be glad to show you. Then do it over and over as often as possible. When you inevitably get pimped, it’ll be so much less painful.

7. If the staff is slow, don’t get too upset, don’t curse at ancillary staff, stay professional and just follow up. Those two minutes of ranting can be spent talking to the nurse again or getting the necessary supplies. (current observations of MS2s…) It also looks bad when you tell the attending negative opinions about any employee.

One that same note someone else noted, “I was trying to get a reactivation of my computer status at a hospital and when I thanked the lady and apologized for the inconvenience, she told me not to apologize for a a lot of the other medical students who had been – well, to put it in our words – not the brightest part of their day. Let’s not establish this reputation for ourselves. Remember, one person can ruin it for everyone so KEEP CALM.”

8. If the team needs something done, DO IT YOURSELF. If they need blood drawn, go find the phlebotomist and ask them to teach you how to do it. Then the next time you can do it yourself. Learn to put in an IV. Learn to put in a Foley catheter. Learn to check the patient’s glucose. Learn how to do an EKG so that when your patient needs one stat, you can be the good, useful student. And finally but MOST importantly, learn to call a consult.

9. Bring cash or change to the VA because of two words – Popcorn Wednesdays. On that same note – at the VA, blue means freedom. Not only are the first floor blue elevators adjacent to friendlier and less busy Patriot Brew, they also provide access to the exit closest to Le Donut, Le Subway, and M&M grill – in other words, to liberty.

10.Children are in fact, small adults.

BONUS (and probably the most highly touted advice that was provided):  It’s only a dollar more for the 20 piece McNuggets as opposed to the 10 piece. Get the 20, share them, be a hero.

Good luck!

One thought on “Rotation advice from MS3s

  • January 30, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Great list! Also keep in mind that you’re (usually) the only member of the treatment team actually paying to be there. Take advantage of the learning opportunities!


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