27 May 2014

Med School Update: Elective

This was Scott's second elective of his third year (to read a summary of his first elective click here). He was pretty fortunate to have this opportunity to schedule another elective. Originally, he had considered doing a rotation with a sport medicine group in Portland. As we approached the planning phase for his fourth year, I convinced Scott that he should really consider doing a rotation in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) with a physician who completed their residency in a program that Scott is considering applying to. By going that route, he could get inside information on the residency program, how it would prepare him for a career, and maybe even get a letter of recommendation. Good plan, right?

Scott lucked out in arranging a PM&R rotation in Bend, Oregon with a group of physicians who were former residents of UC Davis' program. In fact, Scott was told that his preceptor helped create the PM&R residency at UC Davis. He followed several physiatrists with connections to UC Davis. They directed Scott to look at jobs on the AAPM&R website.

While on rotation in Bend, Scott was privileged to help with many musculoskeletal patient cases.He saw patients who came to the client after work accidents and car accidents. Scott followed "like 15" physicians, from physiatrists to orthopedic surgeons. He didn't shadow any surgeries, just clinic days. Scott did get to help one of the physiatrists with injections. He also shadowed EMGs, which are nerve conduction tests.

It was certainly helpful for Scott to have this rotation before he begins applying for audition rotations and residencies. He is still considering PM&R residencies and Family Medicine residencies, but after this rotation he may apply for orthopedic surgery residencies. Scott is not the typical orthopedic applicant, but he really enjoys the time he spent in that specialty. It wouldn't hurt to submit his name and do an audition rotation.

His interest in PM&R makes the fourth year match a bit tricky. This may be one of the last years that allopathic and osteopathic residency matches happen on different days. The osteopathic residency match happens first, so students know whether or not they matched into a DO residency but not the MD residencies. Scott is planning to apply for PM&R residencies, which are all be allopathic (MD). If he is matched with a DO program (Family Medicine or Orthopedic Surgery) first, Scott will need to decide if he that is his future before he even hears MD match results. A potentially tough spot to be!