Saturday, January 14, 2012


    I'm not sure if other med schools do this too, but at my school we have a very interesting way of picking our third year clinical rotation schedules.  It's infamously known as the "lottery", and this year it coincidentally fell on Friday the 13th.  The staff at school decorated the lecture hall with all sorts of omens of good and bad luck: black cats, ladders, broken mirrors, four leaf clovers, lucky charms, etc.  It was pretty exciting!

Filing in to pick our numbers out of the hat

   You might be wondering, "Why the big fuss over the order of the 6 rotations that everyone has to do, anyway?"  Well, there are pros and cons to doing different rotations before or after one another, depending on what is important to you.  For example, the benefit to doing things sooner is to get them over-with, or they can help prepare you for subsequent rotations, however, you are more inexperienced early on.  The benefit to doing things later, is that you will have more experience under your belt by then, but you run the risk of being burned out by then.  The only thing I really cared about is having Surgery some time before OB/Gyn to help prepare me for it.  In the end, it doesn't really matter which order you do your 6 clinical rotations in, like I said - pros and cons to everything.  But some some control freaks get pretty worked up about having a particular order.

    So the way it works, is that we all filed into the lecture hall, picking numbers out of a hat.  There were six rounds of picking spots in each rotation, one for each time slot in the school year.  To make things fair, each round started on a different random number, so that different people would get chances to have first pick for each round.  I didn't think it was going to be very stressful, but it was hard not to feed off the tension in the room.  The whole picking process went really fast, and it was pretty nerve-wracking trying to come up with strategies in the moment, as you had to adjust for what other people were picking and filling up.

Before all the spots filled up

All the spots almost full!

    I didn't end up with exactly what I originally wanted, but I'm pretty happy with my final third year schedule:

1 - Psych
2 - Surgery
3 - OB/Gyn
4 - Pediatrics
Winter Break
5 - Family Practice
6 - Internal Medicine

Now that I know exactly when I am going to be doing certain rotations, it makes third year all the more real, and I'm getting really excited to be in the hospital!


  1. Whoa! Our school hasn't even TALKED to us about picking third year rotations! We do a lottery too, but it's more like you submit your preferences and then an algorithm assigns you your order. It's awesome that you got all your choosing done in one day, but that room does look pretty intense. I kind of like your rotation schedule!

  2. I can't wait for rotations to start! Makes the rest of this block all that more painful...

  3. We do it kind of rank your rotations in the order that you want them and then there's some kind of lottery that tries to get everyone into the order that they's all kind of done behind closed doors and, really, if you're a favorite of the woman in charge, you'll probably get what you want. Your schedule looks pretty good! Psych first is a good idea so that you'll get eased into the hospital system without TOO much stress. Exciting!