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  /  Blog   /  12 Mistakes in Clinical Rotations that Can Cause You to Fail the USMLE
Mistakes in Clinical Rotations

For med students fresh out of the classroom, clinical rotations are an exciting change to the daily routine. However, they are also a crucial part of your medical education, and mistakes made at this stage could cause you to fail the USMLE exam.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid during clinical rotations:

1.Not Being on Time – Many medical students get into trouble by being late for rotations. Showing up late all the time gives you a bad reputation, and it’s disrespectful to others around you.

2.Wearing Inappropriate Clothing – This is a very important aspect of presenting a professional image, for men and women alike. Avoid jeans, t-shirts, high heels, casual sandals and cleavage-baring clothes.

3.Ignoring Personal Hygiene – If you have poor personal hygiene, no one will take you seriously in a health care setting. Paying attention to hygiene and grooming shows commitment to everything you do.

4.“Pimping” Other Students – Berating or “pimping” those lower in the hierarchy is common in med school, but it doesn’t make you seem smarter. Be respectful to residents, attendings and other med students alike.

5.Arguing with a Patient – When you practice medicine, you’re expected to remain professional in any situation. Getting into arguments with patients causes you to be noticed for all the wrong reasons.

6.Disrespecting Hospital Staff – Being disrespectful to nurses and other staff is one of the biggest mistakes you can make during rotations. Be nice to everyone you meet and your clinical rotations will go a lot smoother!

7.Issues with Physical Findings – Alert residents or attendings about important physical findings on a patient instead of just documenting them. Never report physical findings you haven’t actually observed.

8.Performing Unauthorized Procedures – Unless you’ve received authorization from attending physicians, don’t perform procedures of any kind on patients. This could get you into major trouble, legally as well as career-wise.

9.Complaining All the Time – If you have issues you’d like to raise with a senior, wait till they ask you how everything is going. Doctors don’t want you to fail the USMLE and they will help you out, but no one appreciates unsolicited complaints!

10.Constantly “Whining” – You may be more busy than other people, but so is everyone else at the hospital. Slacking off or complaining about being tired, busy or bored will earn you a bad reputation.

11.Always Making Excuses – When you make mistakes in clinical rotations, own up to them instead of making excuses, covering them up, or passing on the blame. Taking responsibility for your actions shows character, which will be noticed.

12.Behaving Inappropriately – Hospitals are full of people who feel sick, scared, worried and helpless. You need to remember this at all times, and behave in a manner that’s suited to the health care environment.

If you want to do well during your rotations, tread carefully. You want to make sure you’re getting noticed for the right reasons instead of the wrong ones!