How do I become an amazing student in my clinical rotations?
And I’m not just talking about how to become an honor student or how to get your attending to like you, I’ve done that in the past.
Instead, I’m going to give you a simple system on how to go from start to finish on any rotation and simply 10x your clinical rotations results.
I’m going to share with you how to become a freakishly awesome clinical student that you’re going to be hard to ignore.
How to Become Awesome in Your Clinical Rotations
Now I want to share with you steps not just on how to get honors or do well on your shelf exam, but I’m literally sharing with you a secret on how to 10x your results in your clinical rotations.
If you follow the steps, you will be able to take yourself to a completely different level and by the end of your clinical rotations and your third year, you’re going to be leaving most of your peers in the dust.
Does that sound attractive to you? Then, let’s get into the system.
Create A List Of Need To Know
So, the first part is to create a list of need to know on a daily basis.
This may sound weird but, as we’re creating our to-do list and taking care of our patients, there are going to be things that were taught that will come up and just wouldn’t make sense. Right?
My attending physician, for example, maybe teasing me about an EKG and I may be nodding along, but half the stuff doesn’t even seem like English. It doesn’t make sense.
So, what I do is I usually have a sticky note on the bottom of my patients’ charts and I just write everything that I need to look up that night. I lookup
- Anything that didn’t make sense
- An acronym that I don’t know what it stands for
- A medication that I don’t really understand what it’s used for.
- A disease, or illness
When you first start rotation, you’re going to have a huge list of need to know and it makes sense.
You are still mastering the basics so that’s understandable. So, every single day, your goal is to look up every single thing (from that day) on your need-to-know list, aside from whatever studying you’re giving yourself before you go to bed.
Some things are going to be very quick. There are some terms that you can just quickly lookup on Google and realize, “Oh, that’s what that stood for. I understand that anyways.”
Or you may just have to watch a quick video and then understand the concept.
Anyhow, just make sure it’s a goal for you at the start of rotation to create a list of need to know and to go through that list every night.
As you progress day in and day out, towards the end of your rotation, you’ll find that this allows you to master the basics pretty quickly.
While your classmates are still working on the basics as they’re not keeping a list of what they want to look up, you already have yours covered.
And most likely, your classmates will be relying on other resources and hoping they understand it eventually via practice questions.
Fine technique, sure, but you’ll be able to do even better by mastering those advanced topics quicker!
Benefits of Creating Your List of Need to Know
Although it may take a couple of minutes for you each day to do this, there are unprecedented benefits that this habit can give you. Here are some;
1. Become More Comfortable on Rotations
Doing this technique will help you look comfortable and be comfortable on the rotation.
When you’re attending or resident say something, it will feel natural because you looked it up and you don’t have that gap in your knowledge anymore.
Your classmates may honestly still be doing that nod that we always do, but not really understanding what the topic is.
And you’re going to be able to use that topic and apply it to your patients.
Eventually, people are going to see that you know what you’re doing and what you’re talking about, even without you bragging about it.
So that comfort level is going to come out if you keep a list of need to know and cross it off on a daily basis.
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2. Do Better On Your Shelf Exam
The second thing that comes off is you do better on your shelf exam. And here’s why.
Normally we study, we do practice questions and then we try to review it the last couple of weeks before the exam. With the list-of-need-to-know technique, you tend to remember things much better.
When you encounter questions in your shelf exam, and you’ve treated a patient with that disease or given somebody that medication, those will be like low hanging fruits for you.
Those are questions that you would love to see.
The more you’re doing a list of need to know, the more you are giving yourself more opportunities to have low hanging fruits and easy money questions.
So, what I do is, even if my patient didn’t have a specific disease, but my attending mentioned it – I would still write it down and quickly look it up.
And most often, that would show up on the exam.
There are probably questions that were hard for most of my peers, but since I had seen it, in one sense or another, it became easy for me.
And so, it helped me do well on those shelf exams.
Just keeping a list of need to know keeps you more comfortable for those questions that most people would get on their toes for.
So, make sure you do the list of need to know if you want to do well on your shelf exams.
3. Do Better in Future Rotations
Now here’s the final bit that comes with keeping a list of need to know and basically working on your gaps in knowledge from the very start.
If you do this technique, you’ll find that every rotation that you go through, you’re going to have less and less knowledge gaps.
So, even if you’re on Ob/Gyn rotation, then you go into internal medicine and then you go to family and neuro. All those are different, but medicine still overlaps throughout many fields.
And so, if you know how certain medications work for one patient population, you’re going to be able to apply similar principles. Then, there’s going to be less for you to learn.
But if you’re still trying to learn how to treat blood pressure when you’re in internal medicine, then relearn it when you’re in neurology, that would be hard.
That’s just extra effort that you could have been using to master certain topics within those specific fields.
So as you go through your list of need to know and you start mastering things, you’re going to have less basic concepts to master on new rotations.
Then, you can move quicker to advanced topics.
You’re going to be that student where everyone’s like, “Man, he’s so smart”, while they don’t know what they’re doing.
You want to get to that point.
So, that’s it, guys. If you create a list of needs to know, cross it off on a daily basis, I promise you, by the end of your rotation, you’re going to be just on a different level.
And keep doing that one rotation after another, and I promise you, you’re going to just be able to 10x your results.
That’s what you really want because you want to become the best version of a clinician that you can possibly be.
So that’s my simple system on how to become a 10x clinical student at the start.
- Create a list of things that you don’t know.
- Look them up, fill in those gaps and keep at it.
And you are going to become just much more comfortable with the material. And at the very end, you’re going to see how far you are compared to your classmates.
That’s where you want to be, right?
This will help you learn faster when you’re studying for your shelf exams or even any other exams during your medical school journey.
If you’re tired of reading books and watching countless videos to study for your shelf exams, then you might want to read this article where I shared a great resource, Picmonic. Check it out here: How to Use Picmonic to Study For Your Clinical Rotations
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Feel free to message me if you have any questions or if you need help in your medical journey. It would be my pleasure to help you.