It's that time of the year! Fourth-year medical students are leaving the nest to audition at residency programs across the country. Whether you are rotating at another hospital in town or traveling coast-to-coast, you want to walk through the doors of the ED on your first day prepared and confident. Here are some simple tips to help you shine on your audition rotations.
Before stepping foot into the ED on your first day, make sure you are prepped and ready. Read the syllabus and know the dress code. Make sure you have an ID badge and computer access. Learn how to navigate your new city by test-driving your way to the hospital before your first shift. Fill your white coat pockets with the EMRA Antibiotic Guide and EMRA Basics of Emergency Medicine. Research the program and be familiar with the core faculty and chief residents that will be working with you. You never know who you will run into on your first day. Also, don't forget your stethoscope!
Show up early and stay late. Introduce yourself to the team before every shift. Be helpful and polite to the nurses and techs. If there's downtime, offer to help triage patients, start an IV, or hook up a patient to the monitor. Be the medical student that residents and attendings are excited to see before the start of a long night shift. If you're still waiting for that CT to come back for your patient, make yourself available to help out with other patients. Polish your presentation skills with some tips from EMRA and know your patients inside and out. Read up on your cases during or after your shift. Most important, always be helpful and friendly to the other rotating medical students - they may be your co-interns this time next year!
Get a SLOE.
This is your opportunity to show program directors the kind of resident that you will be. The Standardized Letter of Evaluation (SLOE) is normalized and carries a lot of weight in your overall residency application. Make yourself recognized and showcase your talents. Have your personal statement and CV ready to go before the start of your rotation. Many of your letter writers will ask for this. The programs know you want a SLOE, but make it a point early on to know how to ask for one. Ask who will be contributing to your SLOE and how to get shifts with them. Familiarize yourself with the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and have your Letter Request Form ready. More importantly, become familiar with how you will be evaluated on the SLOE! The 2015-2016 SLOE can be accessed here.
Feel out the program.
Remember that you are auditioning for a spot in this residency program and are always being evaluated. However, you are also evaluating the program! Find out what type of physician the program produces. Are there fellowship opportunities? Do you want to train in a county, community, or academic environment? Do you see yourself fitting in with the current residents? Do you like the city? Are there ways for you to spend time outside of hospital doing the things that make you happy? Overall, is this a place you can see yourself at for the next 3-4 years? Sooner than you may realize, you will be creating your rank list and you now have a month's worth of experience to decide if this program is right for you.