Making the Conversion: From Clinical Rotation Site to Employer

You may be astonished to learn how easy is to turn a rotation into a job offer. Astute clinicians begin planning their careers while they are still in school. And yes, believe it or not there’s no better time than when you’re rotating through a particular specialty to make your mark, rather than wait after your graduation.

So why not start planting the seeds now, before you’re forgotten or lost in the crowd of competitors. It’s easier than you think, if you’re willing to properly groom yourself by uncovering essential information about your desired employer while exercising professionalism, and approaching the process of landing a job as a regular job hunter would. And, researching the practice early may not only will help transition you into your first job, but also help you do well in your final grade.

In this article, you’ll learn six tips that will give you that edge you need to land that coveted first job of yours.


  1. Be engaged

Let them know that you are willing to participate in and learn from all case presentations. Help your preceptors remember you by showing willingness and drive at all times. How? By being actively involved even in the trivial aspects of the case. Always remind them of your “availability” even beyond what’s commonly assigned or expected for a student in the clinical rotation. Maintain a highly visible presence at all times.


  1. Be inclusive

Even if you think you’re not interested in a particular aspect of the specialty, learn it anyway. Let’s say emergency medicine appeals to you but not doing lumbar punctures, per se. Keep these thoughts to yourself. Develop the attitude and mindset that you want to learn every skill under the sun for that particular rotation. Do not disqualify yourself from potential consideration for a job nor from building your skill set. The more varied your skill set the more marketable you are.


  1. Be transparent

Confidence is being aware and assured in your abilities, but also being aware of your limitations. Truthfully, it is always best to say you do not know the answer but will try to find out than to guess at the answer your preceptor is looking for. You will definitely be more respected if you know and accept your limitations. Not knowing every answer is not a crime or a sign of weakness.


  1. Be mindful

Be mindful of and thankful for everyone you come in contact with during the rotation, including administrative staff, ancillary clinical staff and housekeeping staff. A few handwritten thank-you cards or a batch of homemade cookies can go a long way towards building good relationships with these folks.


  1. Be professional

Because today’s healthcare workers—and patients too—are increasingly hurried, it can be easy to be abrupt, stressed out or impatient. So, remember we’re all humans and that everyone can occasionally have an off day at work. The key here is to treat everyone as courteously and respectfully as you would like to be treated yourself. By doing this, you will demonstrate a high degree of maturity.


  1. Be proactive

Be mindful of the practice’s cultural values, strengths and weaknesses and place them in perspective if you would like to consider the rotation site as a potential employer out of school. It is ok to reveal your interest in returning as an employee. Do express this near the end of the rotation to different team members, key preceptors and hiring authorities. Plant the seed before leaving by asking if they would consider hiring somebody with your background and personality profile. Go ahead, submit a resume, but only if you feel it will be welcomed. (You don’t want to come across as the uninvited guest that every family has during the holiday season.) Also, be prepared to explain in 30 seconds or less why you want to join the group and how you would fit in. And more importantly, how will they benefit from hiring you instead of someone else.

Marcos A. Vargas, MSHA, PA-C, specializes in orthopaedics at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Mich. He writes frequently about professional practice and career development issues faced by PAs.