Mentors and Wards

Community Hospitals versus University-based rotations… what can you learn?

During my two years of clinical rotations, I experienced both – university and community hospital-based educational programs across several different states. These systems vary in their level of funding, curriculum structure, access to training equipment, patient socio-economic mix, and patient volume. Besides the required clinical skills, I also gained a better understanding of the challenges in healthcare delivery across different states, often the challenges were varying within the same city. The communities were so diverse that I actually utilized three other languages in addition to English in the work environment, enabling me to make a deeper connection with patients. A rotation in another state can be an invaluable asset toward improving the clinical experience and providing a better understanding during the interview season. University-based programs provide a good foundation for highly developed teaching programs. Community hospitals provide students with more responsibilities and the sense of what it is like to be a PGY-1, while still in your last year of medical school. On the other side, university-based programs have a variety of successfully implemented programs that involve a multi-functional team effort. That environment may encourage working on better habits in communication and increase awareness about internal biases. I believe it’s important to rotate in both settings. Many of the applications/processes from the larger programs, can be adapted and introduced on a smaller scale into communities with limited resources, just because of the flexibility of community hospitals. I am hoping to be able to continue enriching my experiences while driving improvement in everyday operations.