Answering 8 Common Questions About SGU Clinical Rotations


11.21.2019

Savvy students know there’s research to be done well before the first day of medical school. It obviously takes a lot work to prepare for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and other application components. You also need to fully investigate any program you’re considering to make sure it can provide you with the quality education you need. It’s a good idea to look into any program’s United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 performance, residency placements, and curriculum.

Now that you know you’ll be including St. George’s University (SGU) in your final list of medical schools, you’re gathering as much information about the program as you can. You’re especially curious about the clinical training portion.

You’re not alone in wanting to know more about the final two years at SGU medical school. Luckily, the University’s network is more than happy to offer some insight. Below, you’ll find answers to some of the most common questions students have about SGU clinical rotations.

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Taking a closer look at SGU clinical rotations

If you want to ask something about the clinical program that’s specific to your background, it’s a good idea to reach out to a current SGU student for perspective. That said, you can learn a lot by perusing answers to these eight common questions.

1. Where do SGU students complete their clinical rotations?

Most students complete their clinical training in the US, but that really just scratches the surface of what’s available. There are many locations offered.

"We have 70 different sites throughout the country and Great Britain."

“We have 70 different sites throughout the country and Great Britain,” explains Dr. Daniel Ricciardi, Dean of Clinical Studies at SGU.

One of the more unique things about going to school at SGU is that you can choose to stay in the same area to complete your clinical rotations or move around to different sites. The choice of which route to take really comes down to what you want to do.

Tory Cange, a fourth-year SGU student, initially planned on returning to his home state of New York for all of his clinical rotations. But he started to realize there was some value in seeing how locations differ. Cange ultimately pursued rotations in a few areas, including the UK.

“You can get exposure to different hospitals, different health care systems and different communities,” he offers. In the UK, Cange explains, clinical skills are emphasized a bit earlier on during medical school.

2. Are the rotations accredited?

SGU students complete their clinical training at US hospitals and centers with postgraduate programs that have been approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). They do their rotations right alongside students attending US medical schools. And UK rotations are completed at teaching institutions that are considered equivalent.

“All of our programs are ACGME-approved,” Dr. Ricciardi states.

"All of our programs are ACGME-approved."

3. How well does SGU’s basic sciences education prepare students for clinical rotations?

Working with patients is an important part of a physician’s job. But you first need to have a solid background in medical education to build upon. While some students worry they won’t be able to establish the foundation they need at an international medical school, Cange says that’s simply not the case.

“That fear is completely unfounded,” he asserts. “Just look at the evidence. I’ve had the pleasure of working with brilliant attendings and even program directors who went to SGU.”

That said, most students do go through a bit of an adjustment period, regardless of what school they attend. You have to start taking on a lot more responsibility during your final two years of medical school. Dr. Ricciardi likens it to transitioning from being a college student to a working adult.

“You have to be there at 7:30 or 8 am and you have to stay until the end of the day,” he says.

4. Will students face hurdles with their clinical rotations if they start in January?

The short answer is “no.” The timing is just a little bit different. January students start clinical training near the beginning of May. SGU students who started the MD program in August, on the other hand, typically head out for their first clinical rotation near the end of August or the beginning of September.

5. Is it possible to do away rotations at hospitals that aren’t affiliated with SGU?

While students must complete core rotations at SGU-affiliated hospitals and centers, it’s completely acceptable to do electives elsewhere. Students from Canada, for example, often like to secure an away rotation back in their home country if they’re able. Or perhaps you’re simply interested in a particular elective at a site outside of SGU’s network.

"You’re allowed 12 weeks of nonaffiliated rotations."

“You’re allowed 12 weeks of nonaffiliated rotations,” Dr. Ricciardi says. “That’s not a problem.”

6. Does SGU assist students with securing clinical spots?

Perhaps you’ve heard rumors that Caribbean medical schools don’t ensure they have enough training sites to accommodate all third- and fourth-year students. That’s not the case at SGU.

“One thing we can say at St. George’s University, and I’ve been doing this for more than 25 years, is we have clinical spots for everyone,” Dr. Ricciardi says.

So how does the placement process work? Near the end of your second year, you’ll be notified that it’s time to rank your selections. Every student can list their top few choices. Cange points out there’s also a comment section that allows students to explain why they want to head to a specific location, which SGU works hard to accommodate.

“There are a lot of variables to this,” Dr. Ricciardi explains. He offers financial reasons as an example of something the school would consider. “If your parents live in New York and you want to stay at home with them so you don’t have to pay for an apartment, that’s something we take into consideration.”

"There are a lot of variables to this."

“There are a lot of variables to this,” Dr. Ricciardi explains. He offers financial reasons as an example of something the school would consider. “If your parents live in New York and you want to stay at home with them so you don’t have to pay for an apartment, that’s something we take into consideration.”

7. Does SGU provide any support services for students completing clinical rotations?

Students often go through a bit of an adjustment period when they start their third year of medical school. It’s actually quite common to feel a little uneasy at first. The good news for SGU students is there’s a support system in place.

“I think the biggest advantage we have at St. George’s University in our clinical program is all of our on-site counselors—most of them are SGU graduates,” Dr. Ricciardi offers.

Dr Ricciardi has also been working to establish even more assistance in the form of 24-hour psychological services.

“If you need to talk to somebody, you’ll be able to pick up the phone across the country and in Great Britain to get that help,” he offers.

8. How can I make sure I get the most out of my rotations?

While it can be frustrating to feel like you aren’t excelling right away, try to be patient. No one figures out how to work with patients overnight. Dr. Ricciardi says he sees students become more comfortable working with patients over time. Cange certainly feels this is true.

“Those patients count on everyone involved, including the nurses and the students, so I feel like I started to take on that responsibility,” he says. “A lot of that just comes from getting exposure and building confidence.” Cange also thinks it helps to model yourself after the residents you see setting a good example.

The last thing to keep in mind as you start your clinical rotations is that you should try to remain as unbiased as possible. Even if you’re confident you know which type of doctor you want to be, that could change once you experience the field firsthand. Cange actually realized he doesn’t want to pursue orthopaedic surgery as he once thought he did.

"I think you can find positives in any specialty, so just keep an open mind when you’re in the clinical setting."

“I think you can find positives in any specialty, so just keep an open mind when you’re in the clinical setting,” he suggests.

Work toward your physician future

You can see that SGU clinical rotations have a lot to offer students. This training program is thoughtfully designed to ensure you make the most of your final two years in medical school. You’ll have so many opportunities to develop your patient skills and find mentors who will help you every step along the way.

If you can picture yourself as a student at SGU, start thinking about moving forward in your medical school journey. Head to our request information page today.

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