How to Impress Your Attendings During Clinical Rotations

Arman Israelyan
Published on Sep 29, 2020. Updated on Sep 25, 2020.

Are you ready to embark upon your third year? It's a time in a medical student's life where you go from simulated cases and enter into real life scenarios. Read on to ensure you are prepared to enter the professional world and stand out amongst your peers.

I am beyond excited and privileged to enter the real world of medicine in the upcoming months! At this point, I have taken my boards and have spent a vigorous amount of hours learning about the human body. With this comes an immense responsibility when it comes to providing patients with the highest standard of care. Read on for important tips on how to impress your attending and stand out as a practicing physician!


We’ve heard this term like a broken record. However, there is a reason why our professors and mentors stress this over and over again. As future health professionals, we are expected to act like leaders and healers; we need to earn our patients’ trust. 

In order to practice professionalism, remember that we are students and preceptors are taking extra time out of their busy schedules to teach us. Come prepared! Arrive at the clinic early, 30 to 60 minutes in advance depending on the specialty, and pre-round on your patients. Dress well and keep yourself tidy. Don’t gossip about your patients in the hallways or elevators. Treat your co-workers and patients with the utmost respect. Advocate for your patients’ well-being and dignity. If you see a patient walking the hallways exposed, please offer to tie their gown. 

Conduct yourself with professionalism outside of the medical setting. If you’re at a social event outside the clinic, don’t drink yourself to death. Lastly, if your attending yells at you or says something inappropriate, do not complain to hospital administration. This may sever your school’s relationship with that specific hospital and your experience during that rotation may suffer as a result. This is an unfortunate reality of medicine. If there is an issue with professionalism, contact your school’s leadership and let them handle it. Acting professionally will go a long way and your attending will surely notice it. 

Can Do, Will Do

As a third year medical student, you are expected to work long hours and complete the minimum to pass. If you want to stand out, you must be willing to go the extra mile. When your attending offers you to scrub in on an extra case in the OR, you must take advantage of the opportunity. If there’s a procedure that you’re not too familiar with, offer to help and suture at the end of the case. Your attending will surely make note of this and allow you to sit in on more cases. 

The same applies to rotations that you’re not particularly fond of. Obviously you can get by and do the bare minimum, but all it takes is one satisfactory rotation grade or negative letter of recommendation to deter a student from matching into your dream residency or job. My advice is to work even harder during the rotations that may bring you out of your comfort zone. Not only will this help you as a healthcare professional, it will demonstrate resiliency and it is certainly something you can discuss during your interview. The more opportunities you take advantage of, the more trust your attending will place in you. 

Good Luck!

As a second year medical student, like many of you reading this, I am uncertain of how this third year will go. But I do have enough medical experience outside of the classroom where I think my advice could be helpful to you, especially for those that have not had much guidance over the first couple of years. I wish you the best of luck going forward - whether you’re a first year or preparing to enter residency (flattering if you’ve read this post). Thank you for reading through this! 

About Arman

Arman Israelyan is a second year medical student at the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine. Emergency Medicine is his passion. He loves hiking with his dog Buster, practicing Brazilian jiu jitsu and finishing massive food challenges. 


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