We've rounded up our most asked questions with answers to make your experience easier.
How do I know which department to contact if I have a particular question?
Each of our departments is highly trained and specialized, so although we are always happy to help in any regard, we know everyone likes to talk to the "right person" the first time around. Our teams are:
For initial clinical schedules and new or additional clinical blocks or services
For enrollment processing, document collection, document revision, career counseling, and medical branding
For specific questions regarding clinical blocks, clinical site requirements, and changes in your schedule.
If an attending asks me to write my own letter of recommendation, can a Career Advisor write it for me?
Although our Career Advisors can not write the letter of recommendation for you, we are able to analyze the quality of the letter through our LORA (Letter of Recommendation Analysis) rubric. This rubric will determine the strength of your letter and help us to assess how beneficial it will be towards your application.
How quickly can I start my clinical experience?
You can begin your first clinical block in as little as three weeks after becoming Fully Enrolled Certified, or "FEC, as we call it, which means we have approved all your required documents and received the necessary payments.
For those who need to move a little faster, we also offer our FASTART™ service. Please speak to your Residency Enrollment Specialist if you're interested, as this service is not available for all site and additional fees do apply.
How do I get in touch with the attending physician?
Prior to your clinical block, you may NOT contact the physician in any way. A week prior to the start of your clinical block, you will be provided with the necessary information (address of the clinical site, physician contact information, etc.). Each attending has his or her preferred method of contact, and we must respect their right to privacy at all times. If you have any questions or concerns or need to get in touch with the attending, you may contact your National Clinical Coordinator.
What procedures will I be allowed to do during my clinical experience?
Every member must always be aware of the crime of "practicing medicine without a license" (see below for an explanation). With that in mind, although our clinicals are "hands-on", this does not mean – in ANY way – that you should introduce yourself or act as though you are a licensed healthcare provider. (This includes, but is not limited to, wearing a long lab coat, interpreting data to a patient, and providing a diagnosis to a patient.) Our members are encouraged to be involved in patient care, but always under the direct supervision of the attending. Sanctioned activities include communicating with a patient (i.e. practicing medical or psychiatric history-taking skills) and coming in contact with a patient (i.e. practicing non-invasive physical exam skills, when available).
What does it mean to "practice medicine without a license"?
The phrase "practicing medicine without a license" covers almost anything in which a patient could perceive you as acting like a doctor. Specifics include: offering to diagnose, cure, advise, or prescribe for any condition; administering or prescribing drugs or medicinal preparations; severing or penetrating human tissue; using the designation of "doctor", "physician", or "surgeon". Although many of our members are licensed physicians in other countries, until they are licensed in the U.S., they cannot portray themselves as such in America. If you have any questions regarding a specific action or procedure, please contact Jennifer Machado.
If I am still in medical school, will I receive academic credit for my clinical experience?
If you are a medical student, you must obtain a Clinical Authorization Letter (CAL) from your institution in order to be considered for credit. This letter will detail your clinical schedule, including specialties and number of weeks, and must be agreed to and signed by the proper authority at the school. Credits will be granted by the school according to their internal policies.
Will I always get a letter of recommendation?
We can not – and nor can anyone else – guarantee a letter of recommendation for any clinical experience you obtain through Medicalrotation.org Although you will receive an objective evaluation upon the completion of each clinical block, your eligibility for a letter of recommendation will always be determined by the individual attending based on your performance.
Can you guarantee that I will match after completing rotations with ?
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will match after you complete your clinical rotations with us. The Match is a very rigorous and detailed process that uses an algorithm to compare an individual's Rank Order List with the lists of residency programs. Although we will do everything in our collective power to make you a strong candidate for your preferred programs, we, nor any other company, can not guarantee a matching position.
Do you provide "Green Book" rotations?
Although we don't like to use the phrase "Green Book", as it can be misleading, we realize that this has become a common phrase that holds great value to IMGs. In general, "Green Book" refers to any clinical rotation that has been conducted in a hospital that has an ACGME-approved residency in that same specialty. For instance, if you want an Internal Medicine rotation to "count" under the rules of a specific residency program, the rotation will need to be completed in a hospital who has an ACGME-accredited IM residency.
However, too many students and graduates get too caught up in the "Green Book" stipulation, and forget that many states have additional requirements, such as the quality and regulation of the clerkships. Each state has its own set of requirements for licensure (which may differ from some of its residencies), and you must be aware of all of them for each state in which you might like to practice.
In order to help students and graduates meet some of the stricter requirements, we now offer "Teaching Hospital Guarantee VERIFIED" clinical sites. Each member who participates in one of these clinical blocks will be processed through the medical staff office of the hospital, ensuring that the clinical has been properly documented and can be presented to any agency who requests verification.
Are the hospitals ACGME accredited?
Some are, and some aren't. "Verified" sites are – though not necessarily in the particular specialty of your chosen clinical. However, most states only require that your experience be completed at a hospital with ONE program; a few require that the experience occurs at a site which has a program in the specialty you are rotating in (as discussed above, regarding "Green Book" rotations).
Can I Schedule my rotations both core and electivies back to back?
Yes. We have all of the cores and elective clerkships necessary in order for you to start with your first core and end with your last elective. There are no delays in our processes as we can schedule students seamlessly from one rotation/clerkship to the next with attention to student/graduate customization.
Do I get my entire clinical core and elective clerkship schedule in advance?
We do our best to provide as much advance notice as possible. However, we like to follow the 4-week rule as it works well for the schools, students, and our preceptors:
The 4-Week Rule in two simple steps:
- Student notifies Medical Rotation. regarding their next clerkship request 3 weeks prior to the end of the current clerkship
- Medical Rotation will give the student details of the next clerkship when (1) confirmation is received from the preceptor, and (2) when payment is confirmed as being 'sent' by the medical university.
In our experience, this is the fastest method to schedule cores and electives because if clerkships are scheduled too far in advance, preceptors may tend to forget about the start/ end dates of any given student. Therefore, to increase the retention of information by preceptor staff, we will schedule according to the steps outlined above.
Can you help me find housing for my clerkships?
Yes. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help
How can I be a better student?
We suggest the following:
- Work and do not stop working: ask about more hours, more on-call opportunities, more patient responsibilities, read articles, & research the topics relevant to the clerkship specialty.
- If you are asked to take the day off, DON'T ~ be the first one there and the last to leave!
- If you have some down time, ask your preceptor if he or she may have other clinics you can attend for additional experience.
How do I guarantee a letter of recommendation from my preceptor?
There has been a misconception brewing about letters of recommendation. These letters are never guaranteed, they are earned. Once you have proven your worthiness to your attending physician during your clerkship and asked for a recommendation letter from him or her, they will decide whether or not to give you one.
So how do you increase your chances of getting one?
The answer is: good timing. Mention to your preceptor that you will be applying for residency programs in the United States and you would like to know what is to be expected of you in order to receive a letter of recommendation for residency. Ask early because it may help the preceptor and their office staff pay more attention to you throughout the clerkship. But remember, do not ask frequently as it could be misconstrued as being too eager.
How are core and elective clerkships broken down in terms of weeks?
Core Clerkships are either 6, 8, or 12 weeks in length depending on the requirements of your medical school. For example, we have seen an OBGYN requested to be counted a 6 week core clerkship and an 8 week core clerkship.
Elective Clerkships are generally 4 weeks in length.
Do I need to pass Step 1 to start my clinical clerkship?
There is not a requirement that states that you must pass USMLE Step 1 to start your clinical clerkship. However, many of our preceptors and sites prefer (and may require) that you do.
This is my first clinical rotation and I have no prior medical experience, so I'm kind of scared that when I start, I will not be able to answer a question…
That is okay. You will not be expected to know everything during your very first day. We are sure you have heard the phrase: it is not where you start that matters, it is where you finish.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to ask as many questions as you can without feeling afraid to do so. Remember, your preceptor is a human being with a passion for teaching. Make sure you show up every day and do your best.
What do I need to wear – do we wear scrubs all the time?
Here is the scoop – unless told otherwise, wear business casual clothing with your short (not long) white coat unless you are an international medial graduate. Refrain from wearing excessive perfume and open-toed shoes. Always have your stethoscope handy along with a pen and paper for notes.
Since dress code is preceptor-specific, you can always get clarification the first or second day of your clerkship.
I am a 1st year international medical student, can I complete a summer externship?
Yes. The best way to set this up is to email us today and will get you started immediately.
What are the steps I need to take in order to start practicing medicine in the United States?
Step 1: ECFMG Certification is a vital part of this process as they are the body that analyzes the abilities and readiness of any international medical graduate prior to joining a United States residency/fellowship program. To learn more about becoming ECFMG certified, visit: www.ecfmg.org
Step 2: Completing a residency program in the States is crucial. Generally, this takes about 3-4 years. To learn more about the National Residency Match Program, visit: www.nrmp.org.
Step 3: Applying for a State License License can be by learning more about the requirements of the state in which you wish to practice. The best way to do this is to Google the following: 'medical license + STATE NAME' and you will find the relevant information. Keep in mind that Medicalrotation.org does not accept responsibility for state licensing as requirements are constantly changing on a state by state basis. Please ask us all the questions that you need regarding our rotations and research those states that fit your criteria thoroughly.
Step 4: Immigration Clearance, without it, you are stuck. Look into this by visiting the Department of Homeland Security for up-to-date information.
What is the best type of visa to obtain for a residency program?
For residency, the best visa to have is called a J-1
Information for J-1: ECFMG (www.ecfmg.org) may sponsor international medical graduates if they have the following items in order:
- Passing score on USMLE Step 1
- Passing score on USMLE Step 2 CK
- Acceptance offer letter in-hand from an ACGME-accredited residency program
- A letter of need from the applicant's previous place of residence
Be sure to visit the Department of Homeland Security's website for last information on this trending topic.