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United States Clinical Experience (USCE) - The Basics

United States Clinical Experience (USCE) - The Basics

By Waqas Nawaz M.D.

This is really important part of steps journey . I will try best to explain it in simplest way
The Need

Those days are over when people with triple 99 only used to get residencies . USA hospitals now require some clinical experience inside USA before you apply. This is partly because of the difference in the US system of healthcare and from systems all over the world.
Students work under supervision in hospitals and at the end of their rotation, they ask for Letter of recommendation (LOR) from the faculty with which they work.

There are 3 forms of USCE; (research is not part of USCE -a big misconception as it usually has no direct contact with patients)

1. Clinical Electives
2. Externship
3. Observership

1. Electives:

Doing clinical work in USA while you are not graduated is called elective . Most people do it in 4th yr or final Yr vacation or immediately after final year . Each elective usually comprises of 4 week rotation in which you get one LOR . It is the best form of USCE . Some universities offer it free while other have some fees . People who have done step 1 are very likely to get electives for free in good universities . Elective also solves visa problem as you get 5 yr visa on basis of electives which helps you later as well. www.americancompendium . Com is website that has list of universities offering electives with requirements. Also check out this post:

2. Externship :
It's same as elective except that it is after final year . If you do clinical rotation as undergrad it is called elective and if u do it after being hta fit is called externship ( I did externships) . It is less valuable than elective but more than observership. 3 4 month are Enough

3 Observership:
3rd form of USCE that is less valuable than externship. Difference is that you see the patients same way as in externship but you don't touch the patient ( in externship you physically examine patient ). You act as observer and you observe how your mentor examines him . Most of hospitals provide either electives or observership and very rare hospitals provide externship

Research : it is not clinical experience . It is scholarly activity that takes at least 1 year and should be followed by publication in order to be effective . Will have separate discussion on it

USCE of 3 months is enough . It us very likely that in 3 months you may have 5 lors as well . Any questions should be asked here so that all students may be benefitted
Article By: Waqas Nawaz MD


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