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Questions about rotations/choosing your own site/out of state

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Can students choose the majority of their rotation sites during second year, or only electives?

Anyone do rotations at another program’s hospital? 

Is it up to your school whether you can go out of state for rotations? 

Lastly, can anyone who did rotations out of state or chose most of their sites comment on their experiences, please? 

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People do out of state rotations all the time. Your school obiously has to agree and there is a formal agreement that needs to be put in place between the program and the site.

Some sites will only take students from certain programs.

Your questions could be asked during your interviews.

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The short answer is: ask your program.  Each one is different and has different rules.  CAN you do programs out of state or at different hospitals?  In theory, yes.  But your school has to let you, you have to FIND your own preceptor willing to take you and their employer has to be willing to let them take you.

It's not just a matter of saying 'I'm going here for this rotation'; there is a TON of paperwork that must be completed, usually by the program, and frankly (and rightfully so) they may limit that if they already have perfectly good rotations set up for you that don't require extra effort.

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All answers to the OP questions are dependent upon the program attended....and those answers may change due to shifting sands over the next near 2 years until the clinical year is reached.

While there are the logistics of finding and arranging these rotations to consider, what will become a significant factor are travel and lodging costs. Hopscotching across the country and arranging lodging takes time and money. Short term living for 4-8 weeks can be expensive particularly if maintaining a  residence elsewhere. 

Good luck.


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  • 1 month later...

I would ask the program about these questions, don't be scared to call them before they've made a decision on your acceptance, just call and ask. Personally, we had 10 total rotations (3 of which were electives) and I set up 4 out of state rotations. Two were at the same out of state (but my home state) hospital. One was a wilderness/urgent care type elective in Yellowstone NP which was of personal interest to me. And the other was at a very rural native american reservation (pediatrics). I gave up my permanent housing near the school to basically travel to these sites. I had 2 of them back to back and the others were my 1st and my Last rotation. When I was back near my school, I typically found rooms to rent (furnished) from people in the MD or PA program (all class years) who were out of town for rotations or who had a spare room and wanted the extra cash for the month. It wasn't too hard of a sell to pay to rent a room from other poor grad students. So yeah, I traveled and moved my "place of residence" about 8 times in school. Got a bit tired of it by the end, but it allowed me to travel and experience a lot of different places, make connections all over the US, and climb like no one's business. (weeks in Indian Creek, the Winds, Ten Sleep, Moab, Telluride, Ouray, Vedawoo, even patagonia...but thats a whole 'nother story ;) )

What really helped in setting up these new agreements was:

- 2 surgical ones were at the same hospital and we had alumni connections there

-The other 2 (YNP and IHS) have existing programs in which they take PA/NP/MD/DO students/residents and are familiar with hospital agreements which streamlines the process.

Note: Typically for new sites, agreements with smaller clinics (vs. hospitals) is more straightforward and requiring less paperwork to setup.


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