Medical School Clinical Rotation Prep Checklist: How to Prepare for Clerkships

Clinical rotations are an exciting time for medical students. During your rotations, showing up prepared as a medical student is half the battle! However, another challenge of medical school is knowing exactly what to even do. This is a new experience for all of us so it can be hard to know how to prepare for something you’ve never done before.

In this post, I will be share specific action step you can take before you start you next or first clinical rotation!

Review rotation schedule

Check out what’s going to be expected of you, how you’ll be evaluated, what exams or assignments you have, etc.

Input all important dates and rotation schedule into personal planner

If you’re that person who likes to see all your tasks, important dates, and when you’ll be where in your personal planner, I recommend taking about 30 minutes to pencil this into your physical planner or Google Calendar.

Identify the best study resources to use

See my list of the resources I used to do well on my shelf exams.

Create rotation study schedule

See my example schedules. I find that it’s helpful to do this a day or two before you start so you don’t need to think about this while you’re juggling clinicals.

Ask upperclassmen or classmates for advice on specific rotation site

Connect to those who you know have been through the specific rotation you’re about to do. They’re going to be the best people to get advice on what to expect, what each attending prefers, how to do well, etc.

Reach out to residents and/or attending to get first day instructions at least 1 day prior

You want to connect with those on the service to find out when/where to meet, what to wear, and what to do when you get there. Also, figure out the contact person if you get lost. Should you reach out to a resident or one of the physician’s staff?

Look up clinical site map

You’ll want to figure out here to get there, parking, and access to get in (if needed).

Pack your bag

At minimum, you should have something to write with and on, your badge, water, snacks, stethoscope, and white coat!

That’s it! Best of luck!