Q & A With A Fourth Year Medical Student

"If you’re in it for the money, there are much better, more efficient ways to make a living. Medicine is not one of them."

In  life it pays (most times) to learn from others. Especially those who are wiser, older and more experienced than oneself. The information and advice I received after learning of my medical school acceptance from now practicing doctors who once sat where I sat and endured the lengthy journey I am now on, still helps me today. 

This post will offer you a free day pass into the life of a current fourth year medical student who is now in full swing of his clinical rotations. 


1. As a MS4 what would you consider your biggest present challenge? 

My biggest challenge is adjusting from classroom learning to learning in the field. Also being required to perform at a high level in front of your colleagues and consultants requires nerves of steel, but this is getting easier with time. 

2. Can you outline a day in your life based on your most challenging rotation to date?

5:30-6:55 a.m:      Patient Examinations/note-taking
7:00-8:00 a.m.:     Lecture
8:15-10:20 a.m.:   Departmental Mortality and Morbidity Meeting
10:30-2:00 p.m.:   Rounds with Head of Surgery
2:45-9:00 p.m.:     Surgeries
10:15-1:30 a.m:    Lecture/Teaching Sessions

3. As a MS4, what are your responsibilities from the moment you arrive at the clinic/hospital? 

It depends on the rotation: Currently in Psychiatry and so my day follows the format below; 
9:00 -10:30 a.m.:  Lecture

10:45-2:00 p.m.:  Clinic

2:00-3:0 p.m. :   Lunch

3:00-5:00 p.m.:    Patient interviews

4. What specialties are you required to rotate through and how long are your rotations? 

Internal Medicine
4 months (2 months in 4th year and 2 in 5th)
General Surgery
4 months (2 months in 4th year and 2 in 5th)
2 months
1 month
Community Health
1 month
1 month
Ear, Nose, Throat
1 month
Emergency Medicine
1 month
1 month
1 month

5. Does your program allow you to participate in an elective rotation outside of your country of study? 

Yes, we have an Elective experience scheduled over the Christmas holiday.

6. What are the requirements one must meet in order to participate in an "away" rotation? 

The requirements are dependent on the rotation. Usually a certain number of case reports must be completed as well as sit in on or perform a number of  procedures. Also, one must not have failed any electives up to that point. In the event one has failed an elective, a re-sit examination must be sat either during part of or the entire elective period.

7. Do you have any interest in applying for and completing an away rotation? 

I do but sad wallet says no. 

8. What advice would you offer someone wanting to complete an elective? 

Haven't completed my elective just yet but, but I think one should find an area one enjoys with a patient teacher. 

9. What advice would you give students preparing for their fourth year of medical school? 

Keep your pre-clinical years notes!!!
Know the top 5 causes of mortality and morbidity in your region/country well e.g. heart disease, diabetes, cancers etc. You will see them every day.

10. Can you list one thing you enjoy most as a MS4 and one or two things that you miss most about your first two years of medical school? 

Fourth year is less structured and more self driven. Years 1 and 2 had more free time. 

11. What motivates you to stay positive during rotations? 

Understanding that everyday I encounter someone's mother, father, daughter, son or friend at their most vulnerable and my interaction and service to them will affect many other people indirectly. 

12. As a reflection on your journey, how would you describe your overall personal growth as a medical student? 

I think I have become more proactive in my development as a future physician, understanding that my efforts will be the biggest determining factor on the quality of service I offer. Also, I have come to better appreciate how good networking can ease the strain of the workload. 

There you have it folks! Do you have any questions for Hameed? Feel free to comment below. 

No comments