-EVERYONE I met while rotating was very warm, accommodating, and helpful. Obviously you will encounter a multitude of personalities, but as long as you exude interest, everyone will be appreciative.
-I rotated at Buffalo General for neurology, Women's and Children's in pediatric G.I., and finally Roswell Park (breast and lymphoma oncology): in this order.
-You will be together with University of Buffalo medical students (all of whom will be in their 4th (last) year of medical school.
-At Buffalo General and Children's Hospitals, we saw inpatients, and at Roswell I saw outpatients. I was together with a group of about 5 other students during my first rotation, in the second I was with only one other student and a senior resident, and in my last rotation, I was the only student. I considered this to be a pleasant coincidence, since my familiarity with the system and confidence was high enough towards the end to feel completely at ease and comfortable counseling the patients alone.
-The structure of the practice will vary depending on the attending physician who will be rounding that day. Generally speaking, you are assigned a patient, or two, or three, depending on how many there are that day that need to be seen. After you take the H&P (history and physical), you will later present them to the attending, as will the remaining students, and then as a group, together with the residents, you will round on the patients. There are also lectures to attend during the week. I was at the hospital for the most part between 08:00 and 16:00.
-You must either bring your own food, or purchase it (with a 20% employee discount at the cafeteria). The average cost of a lunch is about $5. I brought my own lunch during my last month, since I was in the outpatient clinic, but when you're at the hospital it's definitely more cumbersome, although still possible.
-Since I chose to go during the months of January - March, this is the time that the American students are finishing up their residency interviews and later finding out where they were accepted. The reason I mention this, is because by this time, their efforts in the hospital and clinics will no longer influence their residency prospects since they apply way back in September. So if you find your enthusiasm to be far greater than your group-mates, this is why! Don't let it discourage you.
-I would highly recommend for all students to review American medical terminology and commonly used abbreviations. Here are some examples:
ROS = review of systems
NKDA = no known drug allergies
c/o = complaining of
s/p = status post
SOB = shortness of breath
Obviously the list is long; it will make your life easier if you familiarize yourself with them prior.
-A totally non-medically related but very important note: Buffalo is COLD! From what I heard, it still snowed this April, 2013. It has also snowed in the past in the month of October. The only time to consider yourself "safe" would be May - September.
3rd May, 2013
All the best,