How Are 4th Year Electives Scheduled?

“I know the 3rd year rotations are set up back-to-back, but should we anticipate gaps between rotations during 4th year?”

Short answer: No. However, you are primarily responsible for scheduling fourth year electives so it is your job to make sure you don’t have any gaps.

Long answer: Ross tells you that they will call you based on your semester and help schedule fourth year electives with you. 10th semester students are called first, then 9th semester students, and so on and so forth. However, they have a limited number of hospital affiliations that they are able to schedule you for rotations at. This year’s hospital affiliations are California Hospital Medical Center (Los Angeles, CA), Center for Haitian Studies/Jackson Memorial Hospital (South Florida, FL), Cleveland Clinic Florida (South Florida, FL), Mount Sinai Hospital (Chicago, IL), Norwegian American Hospital (Chicago, IL), Saint Anthony Hospital (Chicago, IL), West Suburban Medical Center (Chicago, IL), St. Agnes Hospital (Baltimore, MD), Prince George Hospital Center (Cheverly, MD), and St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital (Pontiac, MI).

Each hospital offers different electives and depending on which semester you are you may or may not get what or where you want. For instance, I was unaware that Ross only had three potential electives at Cleveland Clinic, FL which are breast surgery, vascular surgery, and an internal medicine sub-internship. I only have two more weeks in surgery left and I plan on it being my last two weeks of surgery so there was only one elective that I even wanted. Additionally, I only got the sub-I in February. It will literally be my last rotation of med school (woot woot!) but I was hoping to do a few rotations there instead of just one. If I knew this earlier I would have scheduled electives there on my own.

So don’t wait for Ross to schedule your fourth year electives. Most hospitals, including Cleveland Clinic, FL, have their own system of accepting students for rotations. So if you really want to rotate through a specific hospital then go to their website, find the paperwork, and send it in. I could have, and still probably can, schedule electives there. It just involves a little bit of extra paperwork. And I’m currently one month out from writing step 2 CK so changing fourth year electives is not my biggest priority. Though it’s a relief that I have my entire fourth year scheduled. 6 out of my 8 fourth year electives I scheduled myself…with the help of my friend who is way more on top of this type of stuff than I am (thanks Sonia!).

As for gaps- some hospitals start their electives on the first of the month and other start in the middle. For instance, although I applied to rotate through SUNY Upstate I didn’t end up scheduling an elective there because it would mess up my elective before and after the Upstate elective. The elective I wanted starts in the middle of the month. So I would have had two weeks off before the beginning of the elective. And then I would have had two weeks off after the Upstate elective ended. So it would have been a month of doing nothing. Which in retrospect is not that big of a deal. I will be finishing my fourth year at the end of February but I have until May to finish my rotations. I simply made finishing early a priority so I can enjoy myself before residency starts. In the end, small gaps like that aren’t a big deal. Just don’t forget to schedule electives so you don’t have months off or end up having to move half way across the country to keep from going into temporary withdrawal.

Hope my tangents weren’t too…tangential. Let me know if you have any follow up questions. Good luck!

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