Third Year Medical Student Schedule

The confines of a lecture hall are now a thing of the past. You are now on clinical rotations, which means you are no longer permitted to skip lectures in favor of streaming the recordings. You have to be at rounds. You have to see your patients everyday. You have to attend all the major conferences and morning reports. And this is all a great thing.

Clinical rotations remind us why we’re in medical school to begin with. Having the opportunity to wield our knowledge to formulate diagnoses, provide patients with education, and just experience the general human condition is far more meaningful than counting the number of PowerPoints you have to study.

Schedules as a third year medical student are highly variable and based on a.) the rotation and b.) the team dynamics. I’ve been on rotations where my colleagues have to do overnight calls, and I don’t… others where I have to come in on the weekend, and they don’t. It really depends on the program. Generally, as far as core rotations go, surgery tends to have the longest hours and psychiatry the shortest.

Depending on your medical school’s curriculum, there may also be other classes students are required to take regardless of the rotation they’re on. For example, MS3s at Baylor Med have an ambulatory course on Thursday afternoons where we’re paired with a preceptor for six months and visit various institutions surrounding the Texas Medical Center for another six months to learn about chaplaincy, childhood poverty, abuse, palliative care, etc.

Overall, it’s very difficult to gauge what a “typical” MS3 schedule looks like, but for the most part, the hours will be longer than most people are used to working. You’ll have to find a way to balance your clinical responsibilities with studying for upcoming shelf exams. You may have a research project thrown into the mix. Oh yeah, and then there’s that mythical “life outside of med school” thing that people always talk about. 😉 It’s all about balance, and if I can do it, you can do it better.

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