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How Long are Clinical Rotations in Medical School?

Clinical rotations in medical school are an integral part of the academic medical journey and refer to the tasks assigned to the medical students at approved healthcare sites. The second phase of the medical school marks the transition from theory to practice, and it is during this time, that the students receive hands-on training working with real patients in a hospital setting. During the valuable clinical rotations, medical students work under the supervision of expert and experienced medical professionals. If the clinical rotations are rightly done, it can be one of the best experiences of the medical journey.

Duration of Clinical rotations

Usually, the clinical rotations in medical school last for 72 to 80 weeks of clinical rotations depending upon the medical school. Each rotation lasts for several weeks at one site before allowing the student to move to another rotation. The duration of clinical rotations also depends on the types of rotations, which are discussed in the section below.

Types of Clinical rotations

The 72 to 80-week clinical rotations are of two types: Core and Elective clinical rotations. Core clinical rotations are mandatory rotations that all medical students are required to complete. But, during elective clinical rotations, the student may request different electives based on their interest and future objective. Let’s understand the disciplines of the two types of clinical rotations.

Core Clinical Rotations

  • Internal Medicine: The internal medicine rotation is spread over 12 weeks, allowing the students to develop skills in physical diagnosis and physical examination of the patients. During internal medicine, students become active members of the clinical management team and are responsible for direct patient care under the close supervision of a medical professional.
  • Pediatrics: The rotation in pediatrics is six weeks long. Students during clinical rotations are introduced to challenging medical treatment of infants, children, and adolescents.
  • Psychiatry: It is a 6 weeks rotation where students learn about major psychiatric illnesses like schizophrenia.
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology: This is a 6-week rotation where medical students get familiar with the normal course of pregnancy, including prenatal care, labor, childbirth, and the postpartum period.
  • Surgery: Surgery comprises 12 weeks of rotations. The students, during these rotations, are introduced to disease processes that might require some surgical intervention.

Elective Clinical rotations

Elective rotations can be done at different specialties. The choice of elective clinical rotation is entirely based on the student’s interest. However, the students during the four-year rotation, which is the elective rotation, must complete a minimum of 30 weeks. All the students must complete a four-week primary care elective.

Here are the popular disciplines offered during the elective clinical rotations:

  • Cardiology
  • Family Medicine
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Vascular Surgery
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Intensive Care Medicine
  • Anesthesiology
  • Emergency Medicine

It is only during the clinical rotations that students can apply their years of medical learning into practice that can help them become excellent doctors. The clinical rotations are an excellent opportunity offered to medical students in the medical school that allows the students to get confidence in working with actual patients. Investing the entire phase of medical school in clinical rotations is worth it as it will significantly impact your medical career. So, look for excellent clinical rotations during the MD program on priority like never before.

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