Saturday, 21 September 2013

Observerships and US Clinical Experiences Missed Opportunities

Opportunities are more than you seek
Very often, I see applicant not make full use of an observership opportunity. These obsies or pseudo-USCEs are hard to come by for an IMG applicant so one must be fully cognizant of the opportunities that it entails. Sadly, many an applicant just goes through the motions of attending an observership without using that break to full potential. I imagine the benefits that one gets from doing shadowing or observing are like an iceberg

1. The tip: The most obvious benefit is the fact that it shows that you are resourceful in getting a chance to improve your skill set and you can add it as a professional accomplishment to your CV.

2. The body: This is the part that just under the surface that is not readily seen from the top but yet easy enough that you can make out the obvious under the surface advantage. This is the chance to obtain a US Letter of recommendation. These LORs are very beneficial especially if they are written by faculty who are well established and respected in the their fields. Also letters from University based hospitals are quite desirous for an IMG applicant.

3. The depths: This is the most difficult part of the obsie to grasp and if one is not resourceful it is the biggest missed opportunity. This is the chance to network and make connections when you are doing the observership. Keep your options open and try to connect with as many professionals as possible from the residents to medical students to your supervising faculty to faculty in other departments. Of course you do not have to be obsequious and obnoxious about your eagerness to make connections but it goes a long way to just know the right persons at the right time. Opportunities can present themselves even in the most unexpected situations and if you don’t reach out, you will never know.

So now that you realize the potential of what you can gain from these clinical experiences it helps to set some expectations from yourself and from the supervising faculty

1. Do a good job at impressing all the people you meet
2. Discuss with the supervisor that you would like a honest assessment of your performance at the end of the rotation and that you would appreciate if they were willing to write a letter to that effect, documenting your qualities and your strengths.
3. From the day 1, use every single human interaction in a positive way to find influential connections that have the potential of furthering your residency mission cause.

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