6 Tips for Clinical Rotations

Student Academy Board of Directors Share Survival Skills

January 13, 2020

Congratulations – you’ve made it through anatomy and pharmacology and you’re ready to start clinical rotations. You will put your medical knowledge to the test in real world clinical settings. We know it can be intimidating, so we asked AAPA’s Student Academy Board of Directors members to share their tips for making it through clinical rotations.

[What I Wish I’d Known Before Didactic Year]

“Use the Maxwell Quick Medical Reference Guide! It’s a fantastic resource and has helpful references from developmental milestones to common ECG rhythms. Make it your job to constantly be learning, even when conditions aren’t perfect.”
Cooper Couch, University of Southern California

“Learn to balance time spent on rotations and studying. Try to correlate patient cases with the topics you learned during didactic.”
John Cuenca, University of Texas Medical Branch

“Before any rotation, refresh yourself on relevant information, but don’t go overboard. Success is in knowing the extent of your knowledge, asking questions, and being confident in yourself to ask to see patients and do procedures.”
Katie Ganser, University of Colorado

[PA Students: Get Involved in the Future of Your Profession]

“Treat every rotation as a job interview – the PA community is small and you never know who knows whom.”
Katie Lukovich, University of Detroit Mercy

“Jot down topics through the day that you aren’t comfortable with, then go home and look them up. Don’t be afraid to say ‘I’m not sure.’”
Ashton Ogle, Sacred Heart University

“Ask loads of questions and take the time to come up with not-as-obvious ones. If your question can be answered easily with UpToDate or another resource, it shows that you’re not taking the time to research. When you ask thoughtful questions, you learn things you can’t find the answers to anywhere else.”
Lauren Trew, University of Washington MEDEX Northwest – Spokane

AAPA provides more information and helpful resources for student members. As a member, you’ll have access to the Maxwell Quick Medicare Reference guide and survival checklists for both didactic and clinical phases. Plus, tools and advice designed to support busy PA students – from your first day of PA school to graduation and beyond.

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What I Wish I’d Known Before Didactic Year