Recently I asked Trish Friederich if she could go back in time to the beginning of third year, what tips would she give herself, what advice might she offer? Here’s what she said:
- Always ask to do more: I did not ask to do enough procedures, especially during my surgery rotation. My preceptor saw that as disinterest, so she didn’t ask me. I wish I would have gotten more experience during procedures, whether it be wide-local excisions for skin lesions, catheters, starting IVs, etc.
- Make time for yourself: It is extremely important to take time for the other things you like to do in life. Because if something goes wrong with school, you have other happiness to fall back on. And it balances you out. My grades did much better if I cut my studying short and went for a run than if I got that extra hour of studying in. If preceptors lets me go home, after asking “is there more I can do today?,” I went home and enjoyed my life. It is very easy to fall into a pattern of just studying and working and wearing yourself out, but you need to take care of yourself in order to learn at your best.
- Do rotations at a teaching hospital: Although I lived and worked in a rural region, it was not until I went to a bigger teaching hospital that I saw skills I needed to master to be successful during my clerkship years. After the big hospital rotations, I was able to go back to the smaller hospital and do things like H&Ps, progress notes, pre-rounding with more confidence.
- Do rotations that you enjoy, not just stuff to build up your resume: Luckily for me, everything applies to family medicine. But that did not stop me from doing a rotation in orthopedics, a topic I absolutely love. Not only are most rotations applicable to family medicine, but it brings a two-week or month-long period of joy to your life in between rotations you may not enjoy as much.
- At the beginning of rotation, it’s okay to do readings your preceptor gives you, but also use your free time to relax: You do not need to study 24/7 (see #2 above). Remember, these years are also about finding balance in your life. I’ve learned the hard way. Don’t exhaust yourself.
Thank you so much for playing along Trish! I know you’ll do awesome this year, but good luck applying to residency and enjoy the rollercoaster-ride experience of it all. We’re making this an ongoing series, so you can expect to see a few more articles like this in the near future. If you’d like to contribute your own tips add them here in the comments!