Away Rotations: Quick Tips

Stephanie K. Nguyen


September 18, 2018

I just came back from my first away rotation, and there were a few things that I wish I had started doing at the very beginning of it. So here's a quick set of tips for you to consider when approaching your audition rotations.

  • My rotation was for a procedural-based specialty, so I thought it was valuable to have a procedure log, including the attending, fellow, and resident involved with a description of the equipment and techniques used. With this information, you can take note of particular ways each attending likes to do a procedure and can be more involved in future similar procedures. It makes you look really good if you can hand the attending or fellow the next instrument that they'll be using.

  • Another useful thing to do is look up each of the attendings that you'll be working with. Take note of where they completed their medical training. Asking them about their thoughts on the programs they trained at can give you a better sense of how you'd like to potentially rank your match list while simultaneously giving you something to talk about.

  • To shine on a service where you don't have a defined role, try picking up a couple of patients every day to present during morning rounds and looking up the details of the procedure the night before. Although knowing the steps of the procedure can be impressive, it's more important as a medical student to know the indications and contraindications for a procedure.

  • Other than that, just being enthusiastic, a team player, and having a positive attitude will make a world of difference.

Audition rotations can be exhausting because you're constantly being judged and evaluated. Especially for a visiting student, you want to make sure you're constantly on your "A game." However, away rotations are usually the best way to get your foot in the door of a program that might be a "reach" or if you're not geographically linked to a particular area.

I had a blast at my away rotation, and it reaffirmed that I should be applying for this specialty. Good luck!


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