The transition from Basic Sciences to Clinical Sciences can be a challenge for many students. For the first time in nearly two years of being together, your class is now dispersed and you find yourself isolated from your friends and classmates. You have all this paperwork you have to complete and a big test to take, and your advisors, deans, and professors from the island are so far away.
To prepare for this transition, I highly recommend going to the townhall meetings and talks hosted by the Office of clinical affairs when they come down to the island every semester. Not only is there useful information, but you can also meet the clinical advisors with whom you will be working so that you have an idea of who they are in person (and vice versa) during the transition. It’s important to meet them in person because you may not have another chance to do so once you leave the island (after which you will only be able to communicate with them via email or phone). I also highly recommend going to the clinical fair during May to meet with the clinical directors you may be working with.
As for me, I have finally confirmed my third year rotation schedule. For my first rotation (in less than 2 weeks), I am heading across the seas again, this time to the United Kingdom, where I will be doing a 6-week clerkship in Psychiatry, followed by the rest of the year of rotations in Miami. I am very thankful for this opportunity to finally begin learning the tricks of the trade in a real clinical setting, as well as the invaluable opportunity to experience the medical systems of two countries, and I am looking forward to this new phase in my journey.
Here I have laid out a checklist of the things that need to be completed from the end of Basic Sciences until the start of clinicals.
- Attend the Fifth Semester Clinical Orientation hosted by the Office of Clinical Student Affairs (OCSA) during fifth semester. During this orientation, you will fill out and sign an Official Leave Request Form to cover for the 4 months (1 semester worth of time) that you will be on official leave to study and take the USMLE Step 1 exam.
- Once you have passed your first NBME Comprehensive exam on the island, you will be given permission to start registering for ECFMG by the school. The first thing you’ll have to do is to go to the ECFMG website and then register for a USMLE/ECFMG ID# as well as complete the online part of the ECFMG application. To start, go to “Online Services” on the Homepage menu, and then “IWA.” Establish an account with ECFMG. They will email your ECMFG Number. You can use this number to log in and out of the ECFMG site.
- After you fill out the online application, print out Form 186, fill in your information, and attach a passport-sized photo of yourself on the form. You can do this on the island with the Dean of Academic Affairs (Dr. Yoshida), and the school can print out a passport-sized photo of you from y0ur student ID photo for free. Turn in your Form 186 to the Dean of Academic Affairs or the Registrar.
- Next, login to your ECFMG account to register for the USMLE Step 1 on the site, and pay the fee. Wait a few days to receive your scheduling permit for the exam.
- Once you get your scheduling permit for the USMLE Step 1, go to the Prometric website and then schedule your Step 1 exam. The exam can be taken anytime throughout the year and anywhere in the United States, as long as there is availability at the specific prometric site where you want to take the exam.
- After you set up a time and place for your Step 1 exam, contact OCSA of your registration date.
- Study really hard.
- Take Step 1. Remember to get plenty of sleep the day before the exam. The exam is 8 hours total (7 one-hour sections and a 1-hour break). Remember to bring your scheduling permit and drivers license (or some sort of government-issued ID).
- Go home and celebrate that you are done with the exam. Get some rest.
- In the meantime while you wait for your scores, get your titers, ppd, physical, and flu shot done. Print out the Health Statement form from the AUC Clinical page and have it filled out by your doctor. The ppd is a 2-step ppd, each done one week apart from each other. Once you complete your health form, send the filled-out paperwork as well as a copy of your lab results to your advisor. You can also scan the paperwork and lab results and send it via email. Your health form and immunizations must be updated every 12 months. It costs anywhere from $200-700 (depending on which clinic you go to) to get these forms/immunizations updated.
- If you took your exam on a Wednesday, Thursday, or a Friday, you will receive your Step 1 score on the third Wednesday after your exam. If you took your exam on a Saturday, Monday, or Tuesday, expect to get your score back on the fourth Wednesday after your exam. You can go on the ECFMG website (Online Services –> Oasis) to check your score status. You will also receive an email telling you your scores are ready. Your scores will be in a pdf file posted on Oasis.
- Immediately download and forward the pdf file of your score (on Oasis on the ECFMG website) to AUC’s Office of Clinical Student Affairs at email@example.com. In the same email, list your top three preferences for regions where you want to do your rotations. Also list your phone number and when you would like to start your rotations. Be sure to use your AUC email.
- One week after you receive your Step scores, you will receive a phone call from a clinical advisor to let you know what clinical sites are available and to schedule your core rotations. You can take some time to think about how you want to schedule, according to the choices available. You can also decide to schedule your first few rotations now, and then decide on the later rotations at a later time. Once you decide on where and when you want to do your rotations, officially confirm your schedule with your advisor via email so he/she can start processing your financial aid.
- Do financial aid — 4 things to fill out: FAFSA, MPN’s for Stafford and PLUS loans, and Request for Direct Plus Loans (credit check). Afterwards, you will receive your financial aid award letter, which you sign and return to the AUC Financial Aid Office. You’ll only need to fill out FAFSA once a year, but you must fill out the two MPN’s and the Request for Direct Plus Loans every semester during clinicals (vs. Basic sciences, where you just do it once every two semesters).
- Have your advisor initiate a background check for you. He/She will send you a custom link, in which you go to a website and fill out the information.
- Fill out the Registration Form, which you can download from the AUC Clinical Page, and send it to your advisor. You can also scan it and email it to your advisor. Registration Forms must be filled out each semester.
- Make copies of your drivers license, passport, and CPR card, and send them to your advisor. You can also scan it and email it to your advisor.
- Finally, the site director or coordinator will contact you and give you further details on the rotation you’re about to start.
- In the meantime, look for accommodations, flights, or travel plans, and connect with classmates who will be in the same clinical site (Consider joining one of the several clinical Facebook groups here). You may also want to brush up on your medical knowledge while you wait anxiously for your clinical rotations to begin. If you are rotating in Miami, brush up on your Spanish skills. If you are rotating in New York, complete the required Infectious Control Training for the state of New York on the ProCEO website, using the discount code that AUC has provided you. It takes about two hours to complete and costs $25. Submit it to the school and the hospital. If you are going to the UK, get your visa applications done. Some hospitals may prefer you not wear your AUC white coat. In this case, shop for a few new white coats. In the UK, they may prefer you not wear a white coat at all, for sanitation reasons.
- Start rotation. Learn. Have fun.