SIX “SUCCESSFUL” TIPS DURING EXTERNSHIPS

As fourth year podiatric students embark on a new adventure of externships, many questions remain unanswered on the expectations and standards on how to be a good student and leave an impressive mark. 

I share with you a few tips that will serve you well towards a successful externship experience.

  1. Externship Month is an Interview: Be and stay professional at all times during your month as an extern both in work and social settings. It is easy to let your guard down and indulge in gossip, which should be refrained at all cost.
  2. Positive Mental Attitude: Keep a positive mindset whether or not you had a good externship experience that particular month. As Zig Ziglar rightly states: “Positive thinking will let you do everything better that negative thinking will”.
  3. Be Prepared: As an extern, continue to learn and grow. Be prepared for every externship rotation. Read all articles published by the externship program you will be attending. If you are unsure of the specific reading materials, contact the program two weeks prior to your start date. This will exhibit a proactive attitude in your willingness to learn about the program. Furthermore, read some of the “landmark” articles in the field of podiatry and orthopedics literature which I have shared with you on the IPED website.
  4. Exude Confidence: Exhibit confidence as an extern, not arrogance. Be willing to share the educational knowledge you have garnered and apply it in a clinical setting. At the same time, continue to learn from your fellow rotating externs, residents and attending physicians by asking pertinent questions that you may be unsure about. 
  5. Always Go Above and Beyond: Have a helping hand during your externship month to the residents and attending physicians. If you are unsure, you are entitled to ask the residents or attending physician on how you may be of help as this will avoid situations where you may appear as overbearing and too eager.
  6. Enjoy the City: If you are rotating in cities that are new to you, explore your surroundings on times that you are off. This will allow you to de-stress from everything podiatry and be a way to meet new people. 

By: Kartick Patel, DPM PGY III, MHSA
St. Vincent Charity Medical Center