Thank You Notes After First Clerkship Rotation?

Congratulations third years! You’ve survived your first clerkship rotation, possibly even have a day off before you start the next one. Now you might be wondering what the etiquette is for thanking the physician or staff who helped guide you through this intense first month. Should you send a thank you note? Well, everyone’s different, so here are all your options – do what feels right to you!

How to Show Your Appreciation

  • Thanking your PreceptorsUse Your Words: If you thanked everyone on your last day, gave a few high fives, or just told your primary preceptor how much you appreciated their assistance you can consider your work done.
  • Send an Email/Text: A simple “Thank you for teaching me this month!” via email or text to your attending is more than enough. If you were in an outpatient setting and the team was helpful you can always add a “Please thank the team for all their help, too” and be done.
  • But I Have So Much Stationary: If you’re like me and have an addiction to buying thank you cards there’s nothing wrong with using them. It’s a nice touch, and again you can just send a single card to your primary preceptor, or a card thanking the doc and her entire office staff.

Should I Send a Gift?

No. First, you’re a med student and you’re broke. What are you even thinking? No one will expect this of you, and it’s just a little too much effort – don’t be a suck up. Seriously, do not do this.

What about Residents?

If you weren’t thanking them in person this past month then they weren’t helping you. And if you already thanked them every time they helped you learn there’s no need to go further. However, if you worked a lot with one resident and feel they taught you more than the attending you can go ahead and send a thank you text/email, too. Again, don’t go overboard here, gifts are not appropriate.

Do I Have to Do This?

Not at all. Not everyone is awesome, so although I love dropping off pretty thank you notes, the ones who received them were chosen for a reason. I ended up thanking about a third of my preceptors, the ones who went out of their way to teach me and made an impact on my specialty choice and knowledge base. Most of the students I’ve spoken to didn’t bother. It really is up to you and your personality!

By Pixie






Pixie is happiest reading with a cup of tea in hand. She enjoys women’s health, adolescent medicine, painting and polymer clay. For more info, see her much longer bio on the author page.

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