At the Institute for Podiatric Excellence and Development (IPED), we are concerned with the career of the podiatric professional from student to retirement. For fourth year students, one of the most important elements of the educational experience is the externship. This unique part of your training is about learning and also forming connections that can benefit your career in the future.
Below are 6 ways to make the most of your externship experience:
- See your externship as a month-long interview.It’s in your best interest to stay professional at all times during your externship—and that means in both clinical and social settings. Many an extern has lost credibility and employability by succumbing to gossip or other unprofessional behavior during off hours with colleagues.
- Be prepared.You’ll be ahead of the curve if you read up on every rotation of your externship. Start with the articles published by the externship program you are attending. If you are unsure of specific readings, contact the program a few weeks before your start date and ask.
- Keep a positive mental attitude.While the quality of externships may vary, it’s a fact that you’ll get more out of any program if you have approach it with positive rather than negative thinking.
- Be confident, but not arrogant.It’s a fine line but you need to exude confidence by showing the educational knowledge you’ve acquired and applying it but not act like you know things that you don’t. Ask pertinent questions of residents and attending physicians about procedures you are unsure of to get the greatest benefit from your rotation.
- Always go the extra mile.Seek ways you can be helpful to residents and attendings by asking specifically what you can do to help. This will display a good work ethic without making you appear overbearing or too eager.
- Enjoy where you are.If your externships take place in cities or towns that are new to you, use your time off to explore the area and immerse yourself in the local culture. Not only will this be an opportunity to expand your horizons and meet new people, it’s a great way to relieve stress.