6th Year MSTP
University of Michigan
Post #7 of the "Back to the Wards" series focusing on the transition from
research years back to the medical school and clinical rotations.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week, an incredibly gracious current M3 let me
shadow him on the first two days of his inpatient pediatrics rotation. I would
highly recommend this before returning from an extended absence, as it not only
gives you a better sense of what will happen in the months to come, but gives
the more advanced student a unique opportunity to demonstrate everything he/she
has learned and to teach a newer student.
The logistics: The MD/PhD program identified a willing volunteer who was on
an inpatient pediatrics rotation this month, which is what I’ll be doing in
either May or June, and put me in touch with him. I decided not to go to
orientation, as I knew I’d get my own orientation soon enough, but met up with
him following orientation before rounds started for the day. I only spent a few
hours with the team on Monday, but I got a good sense of how the team works in
the hospital, and when I showed up for pre-rounding on Tuesday, I got a real
sense of what medical students do with patients who’ve already been in the
hospital for a while. I went on rounds again, saw the med students present, and
helped with the tasks that followed.
The lessons: Do this! No amount of shadowing can prepare anyone
completely for anything, but it can substantially decrease anxiety. I learned
that even after eleven months of clinical rotations, there are still new things
to learn and different approaches to adapt to on each service. I saw some great
medical students in action, and learned that even folks who haven’t taken a
break are constantly learning new things. I also learned that interns,
residents, and even attendings are not scary (which should not have been
surprising, as many of them were my med school classmates!), and are nice and
helpful and willing to teach if you work hard, try new things, and aren’t afraid
to ask questions. I also learned that “work hard” includes spending long hours
at the hospital. I had a good sense before that this was the case, but spending
just two half days in the hospital drove it home.
The bottom line: I need to start believing folks that this will all be fine!
There will be long hours, and lots of work, but nothing insurmountable. I’m
certain that as crazy as next month may be, at the end of it, I’ll join the
chorus reassuring you that you too, will be fine.