Deciding between in-person and virtual clinical experiences can be hard as there are benefits and tradeoffs with both.
Hands-on experiences can be more immersive, allowing for hands-on practice and real experience with the U.S. healthcare system. They also require a larger financial investment and greater planning. Virtual experiences provide safety, affordability, and convenience without skimping on patient contact or great instruction from a physician. For these reasons, virtual experiences have become increasingly popular.
If you are trying to decide between experiences, consider participating in one of each! AMO Visitor Carla, from Colombia, did just this! While she waited for travel restrictions to loosen, allowing her to rotate in person, Carla booked a virtual clinical experience. She then followed this experience up with an in-person one!
To learn how the two experiences compare and why Carla has such an interest in pediatrics, continue reading below!
One of Each, Please!
This year has been hard in so many ways and different from what many expected it to be. [COVID-19] stopped my plans for six months. Nevertheless, with the amazing support of my AMO coach, Ashely, everything worked out.
I must confess that over the years, I’ve become a firm believer that everything happens for a reason; this case was no exception. My first clinical experience in the U.S started later than I hoped and was not what I expected it to be. I had to enroll in a virtual rotation due to COVID-19 and travel restrictions within Colombia.
[The experience] ended up being beyond my expectations. It was such a pleasure to practice medicine differently, alongside wonderful people worldwide (e.g., Ireland, the U.K., U.S., Iran). I’d never imagined it would be that way, but my mentor, Dr. K., reassured me of why I wanted to be a physician, specifically a pediatrician.
The month was full of readings, discussions, questions, and clinical cases. I wish it didn’t end so quickly. After all, four weeks is not enough when you’re doing what you love. Sill, I have my memories, and more importantly, great relationships with my mentor and peers!
To those reading, if you can do a telemedicine rotation, go for it— you won’t regret it.
I also had the opportunity to do an in-person rotation, which was a great introduction to the U.S healthcare system. During the experience, I learned about health insurance and had the chance to apply what I already knew during my interactions with patients. I was able to communicate in English more fluently. I [also was able to] discuss diagnosis and treatments with my mentor, this case Dr. J. in Bloomingdale, IL.
None of this would have been possible without the help of AMO. As a medical graduate, finding hospitals and doctors to do clerkships with is not easy. At times, I felt lost doing research and sending emails. AMO and my coach made rotating easy, and more importantly, a reality!
I am looking forward to doing more clinical rotations this coming year, in 2021! If you have the chance to do one, you should!
Are you interested in becoming a pediatrician like Carla?