How Does a Clinical Clerkship Work?

There are a number of milestones you’ll hit on your journey toward becoming a doctor. One of those milestones is your clinical clerkship. But what does this mean, exactly? How does a clinical clerkship work? How long does it last, and what benefits does it offer? Let’s dive in!

How Does a Clinical Clerkship Work? Here’s the Definition

Clinical clerkships for IMGs are when you get to take what you learned in the classroom and start applying it to real life in hospitals and clinics. Under the guidance of trained medical professionals and staff, you’ll participate in:

  • One-on-one patient interactions, like taking their histories, conducting physical exams, presenting cases, and analyzing/explaining lab results.
  • Teaching rounds and conferences.
  • Both primary care and various specialties.

Your clinical clerkship is vital to building a solid foundation as a physician. You get hands-on experience and learn a lot about what type of physician you want to be. It’s an opportunity to learn more about both the environment you might be working in and yourself. Plus, you’ll gain valuable feedback from professionals well into their journey as medical experts.

IMG during clinical clerkship

When Does the Clinical Clerkship Happen?

Your clerkship will happen at your last stage of medical school. So, you’re not technically a doctor yet. This is one of the biggest differences between a clerkship and an internship. Internships happen after you graduate from medical school, so you’re a freshly minted doctor. You’ll also have your residency, which you do after graduating, similar to your internship. In fact, your internship happens during your residency. During the three to seven years of your residency, you’ll dive even deeper into your chosen medical specialty and gain even more finely-tuned knowledge. As opposed to exposing you to different specialties, like clerkships, residency allows you to hone your expertise.

How Long Does a Clinical Clerkship Last?

The length of clinical clerkships can vary. CHHA’s Clinical Rotation program is made up of rotations that last anywhere from four to 12 weeks. For example, you might do an internal medicine rotation for a month, followed by psychiatry and then surgery. Rotations will cover both specialties and electives, which are usually a little shorter in duration. Each rotation concludes with an assessment, a standardized test, and your instructor’s performance evaluation.

How Can IMGs Secure a Clinical Clerkship?

The first step toward finding a clinical clerkship is applying! A well-rounded application includes:

For medical students, the clinical clerkship is the first exposure to the “real world.” This experience and time in your life are invaluable! It’ll reveal your strengths, what you need to work on, and what your future might look like as a doctor. The insight you’ll gain cannot be understated. If you need help applying for a clinical clerkship program, CHHA can guide you. Apply now and let’s take the next steps together.

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