Clinical Clerkship Vs Internship: What’s the Difference?

Clinical clerkships and internships are two major work experiences. They help set up your success as a medical professional. But as a medical student, you might be wondering about the difference between clinical clerkship vs internship. 

Let’s find out!

What is a Clinical Clerkship?

Clinical clerkship, also called rotation, is a practical learning experience. Students undergo one-on-one patient interactions and apply their learning of clinical sciences. Under supervision, students have first-hand experience of patient care. This is also an opportunity for them to gain exposure to various fields of medicine and different specialties. 

Generally, clinical rotations are available for third- or fourth-year medical students. Depending on the specialty, clinical clerkships can run from four to 12 weeks. Likewise, they can include medical fields like emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, neurology, OB/GYN, pediatrics, psychiatry, and surgery.

At CHHA, our clinical clerkship program is for IMGs, working with the medical school. In this comprehensive clinical experience, IMGs work with doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff. They are able to get hands-on experience to apply their theoretical knowledge. This includes conducting history taking, physical exams, case presentations, and lab analysis. 

Students that complete their clerkship training through our Clinical Rotation Program are able to build a strong foundation in clinical medicine. It sets them up to succeed in the annual Residency Match

Now, you might be asking: Is a clerkship the same as an internship?

The short answer is this: Not exactly. 

What is an Internship?

An internship, also known as the first year of residency, is a requirement to receive a general license to practice medicine. It lasts for one year, beginning every July 1st. But many opt to continue their internship for a few more years. 

Interns generally work under the supervision of qualified medical practitioners. They get the skills and experience needed to succeed in their selected medical field. During an internship, you’ll be able to perform similar duties as that of a doctor. This includes taking patient histories, diagnosing and managing patients, meeting with family members and carers, and conducting medical procedures. You also get to assist in procedures and improve skills in analysis communication, research, problem-solving, and teamwork.

medical student studying for internship

Internships are a crucial step to becoming a qualified, practicing medical professional. In your final year of medical school, you apply for a postgraduate internship in your chosen field as it can get competitive. After you complete an internship and STEP 3 of the USMLE or the Level 3 of the COMPLEX, you may begin as a general practitioner.

Internships can provide medical graduates with the avenue to finalize their specialization. Exposure to different medical settings helps you decide which medical field you are interested in and suitable for. 

The main difference between a clinical clerkship vs internship is when you’ll take it. Clerkship occurs at your last stage of medical school. Internship happens after you graduate from medical school. 

Likewise, while similar, the objectives behind these two are somewhat different. Clinical clerkships allow you to have hands-on experience in various fields and specialties. Internships give you a chance to finalize what specialization to pursue. 

If you need any guidance with your clinical clerkship, C.H.H.A is here to help. Contact us today to learn more. You can also fill out the simple form below to start your application process. Apply now and let’s start making your dream of being a doctor a reality!

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