How Long is a Clinical Clerkship?

During their final years of medical school, students will go through clinical rotations, also called clinical clerkships. During this time, students shadow physicians and residents in a medical setting. This opportunity allows medical students to take everything they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to real-life settings. How long does a clinical clerkship last?

Keep reading to learn more about this important milestone on the journey to becoming a physician!

How Long is a Clinical Clerkship for Medical Students?

CHHA’s Clinical Rotation Program has rotations that range from four to 12 weeks each in duration. As an example, you might do one month of clinical rotation in surgery, another rotation on internal medicine, and a third on psychiatry. You quite literally rotate between the different specialties. Other core specialties include pediatrics, family medicine, neurology, obstetrics, and gynecology. Beyond that, you have electives, which are generally a little shorter in length. At the end of each rotation, medical students must pass an assessment, complete a standardized test, and receive their instructor’s performance evaluation.

100% attendance is required, regardless of the rotation. We’ve designed this program for IMGs exclusively, and we work in unison with various medical schools. Rotations cover both primary care and a number of specialties, as well as both inpatient and outpatient services. They’re typically divided into blocks so that you have the unique opportunity to explore each individually.

Hands holding stethoscope behind the back

What is a Clinical Rotation Like?

Medical school involves endless reading, lectures, note-taking, and studying. Rotations allow you to put everything you’ve learned into practice. During your clinical clerkship, you’ll work directly with physicians, nurses, and other hospital staff to take patients’ histories, conduct physical exams, present cases, and analyze lab results. You might also attend workshops and conferences.

Overall, your clinical experience is a chance to get a firsthand look at what it’s like to be a physician.

Your clinical experience is important for a couple of main reasons. For starters, this is the first hands-on experience you’re going to get of what it’s like to be a doctor. Secondly, this is your opportunity to explore different specialties and better understand which one you might want to focus on. For example, you might discover that you prefer hospitals to clinics. Or, you might find that you particularly enjoy family medicine.

Note: A clinical clerkship is not an internship! Clerkship is the last stage of medical school. Your internship happens during your first year of residency — in other words, after you’ve already graduated. It’s a requirement to receive your medical license. Additionally, the main goal of a clinical clerkship is to get hands-on experience. Internships, on the other hand, help you finalize the specialty that you want to pursue.

IMG doing clinical clerkship

What’s the Next Step Toward a Clinical Clerkship?

In order to apply for a clinical clerkship, you will need:

CHHA can help you pursue a clinical clerkship program! Apply now and someone from our team will reach out.

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