This week was a crazy one in terms of selecting a preference for the summer rural placement and for the 3rd year rotations (clerkship). The picture above is actually of the third year schedule – and if one looks closely you can see that there are 24 different variations of how one might do the rotations in the third year. In my mind it came down to a bit of debate on whether or not I wanted to do the big three first or second (the big three being paediatrics, internal medicine, and surgery). Each run consecutively for 8 weeks, back to back, and are considered to be the most intense of all the rotations done in third year. Furthermore, the experience I have during these rotations will no doubt play a critical part in my decision whether to do medicine or surgery (still undecided at this point). Doing the big three first would be intense but would happen at a time when I most excited and enthusiastic about school and would result in the easier rotations falling over the summer months. On the other hand, doing the smaller rotations first would allow me to gain a set of skills that would definitely make doing the big three easier. That is to say, I wouldn’t be as inexperienced in the hospital and this would alleviate much of the stress caused by the intensity of the longer rotations.
The decision for third year rotations was made all the more complicated by the fact that everyone had their own strategy for choosing. After talking to a number of people I ended up with a set of different theories of what the best course would be without any definite answers. This all may be a moot point because at the end of the day the actual placements are done by computer. In theory the computer draws everyone’s name at random and assigns the selections according to ranking and preference, in much the same way it was done for rural practice. Essentially, all thought and research into choosing may be for nothing if I lose the lottery.
So what to do? Myself, I chose the big three first and I hope I get it. This was based on several conversations with close friends and some late night strategy. In the end we (as a group) decided to maximize the chances of getting placed together. This is a group of people I know I get along with, that studies well together and that should help relieve stress during those times when I need it most.