The truth about clerkships???

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    This is my biggest fear in the whole medical school question. Is it true that you have to be prepared for q3 call during clerkships and that there is little flexibility? Does anyone know if the clerkship years can be split into 3 instead of two just like some med schools will allow you to extend the first two?



    Oh, gosh, Kris… really want the truth?

    No, they usually don’t let you split up your 3rd year clerkships, unless you are taking a leave of absence for one reason or another. You just have to slug on through it (though it helps if don’t do something dumb like I did and do your surgery rotation right after your OB rotation – nearly killed me).

    But, that being said, call depends on the rotation. I rarely had q3 call my third year. Most of it was q4, and if there were days that you absolutely could not take call, it was fine as long as you told them in the beginning of the rotation. For some rotations I also did not have to stay overnight – only until 11pm (Family, Medicine, Psych).

    I was the white cloud of the trauma pager and got more sleep while on call for trauma/surgery, than any other overnight call (just about). On OB I was on call during my 4 weeks of OB but not during my 4 weeks of gyn. They scutted the heck out of me during my OB call and I was lucky to get 2-3 hours sleep at night (q4) and usually had to go to clinic the next day. Peds let us out at noon when we were post-call and were a fairly benign group.

    Obviously every med school is different… these are just my experiences. Third year is really not too bad… you are finally getting to do clinical stuff (the reason we are there in the first place) and I was one of those perverse people that found something to like in every rotation.

    Now if I could only get my personal statement written… 😉


    med /mommed/mom

    Hi Kris-

    My experience has been pretty similar to Linda’s as far as type and amount of call. Surgery, OB and Medicine are usually the worst, but it was never more than q4. Also, it’s highly dependent on the resident you work with. Some residents believe in letting med students sleep or even go home on call nights, others don’t. There’s a lot of variation in the culture of different hospitals and different medical schools about expectations for students on call. This is a very important thing to ask about when you interview at med schools–I hadn’t thought about it at all, so it’s good you’re thinking ahead!

    One thing I did want to let you know about is that I actually have been able to split the clerkship years into 3 rather than 2, and it has been the absolute key to my and my family’s sanity. It was fairly simple to arrange–many students at my school take a 5th year for other academic work, travel, etc. and this was just a variation on that theme. I’m doing 3rd and 4th year in three years–I do each clerkship in the normal way, I just take a month off every so often between them. I’ve found that way I can really concentrate on what I’m doing in the hospital without worrying too much about not seeing my kids because I know I have a month to be a stay-at-home-mom coming up. Also, I think I’ve had the least stressful third year of anyone in my class 😀 . Definitely ask about this option when you’re looking at med schools.

    Good luck!


    Hi all! I have just finished my app procedure and I am waiting on my secondaries. This is probably going to seem like the DUMBEST question of all time, but I just happened to find you. What exactly are q3’s, q4s etc? During my interview, I would like to be able to ask the above (providing I get an interview). Anything that might be able to free some time up for my family would be of such a help. I would love to be able to spend at least some time with my son within the next seven years. Thanks so much!!


    Originally posted by lori:
    What exactly are q3’s, q4s etc?

    Not a stupid question at all.

    They have to do with how frequently you are on call: every 3rd or 4th night.


    Hi – just wondering…. Is there any specific order in which you would do clerkships? Which one would you recommend first – especially if I’m interested in going into primary care? I heard that the order that you take things is fairly important.
    I’d appreciate any advice – thanks!

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