When it comes to applying for residency in the U.S., are virtual rotations acceptable? This is a common question among medical trainees looking for U.S. medical experience that accounts for travel restrictions and keeps them safe, given the present pandemic.
Residency programs understand these obstacles and view virtual experiences as equal to in-person ones. What’s more, the letter of recommendation you earn during an online experience with AMO can be used when applying for residency programs.
Daniela, a medical graduate from Colombia, completed a virtual pediatrics experience with us in October and used her LoR from Dr. K to apply for U.S. medical residency programs! Read Daniela’s story to see how her residency application was received.
Reaching for Residency with a Virtual Rotation
The temporary suspension of clinical activities is forcing medical students and physicians to adapt to telemedicine and online learning. My in-person rotations were canceled during the summer of 2020, and I was left with a curriculum vitae with no recent pediatric clinical rotations. After emailing several hospitals and universities in search of clinical experience, I found AMOpportuinties and a rotation to help me gain experience in my field of interest. With the Step 2 CK exam, Occupational English Language Exam, and the residency application season quickly approaching, I wanted a rotation that would give me the flexibility I needed to study for my exams.
Every morning during October, physicians from different cities worldwide – myself included- logged onto our computers to meet with our preceptor, Dr. K., a Texas pediatrician. During my rotation, I learned to conduct well-child visits, observed the severity of childhood obesity in the nation, and investigated many interesting cases, some of which dealt with neurofibromatosis type 1, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ascaris lumbricoides, nasolacrimal duct obstruction, pityriasis alba, hypotonia, dog bites, asthma, cellulitis, and major depressive disorders. I also had the opportunity to do two case-presentations. These allowed me to take thorough histories, exams, and create a plan that included treatment, follow-up appointments with general pediatrics, and referrals.
Dr. K. outlined when to refer patients to speech pathologists, audiologists, nutritionists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and subspecialists. She taught us the importance of the well-child visit and how it differs from a sick visit. While the sick visit focuses on one specific issue, the well-child visit allows physicians to educate the patient and family, analyze growth rate and pick up on developmental delays, perform screening for vision, hearing, obesity, diabetes, perform blood work, and administer immunizations. Apart from the medical and clinical knowledge I gained in this short month, I also learned the importance of educating patients and families so they are empowered to choose a healthy lifestyle. This allows the patient and family to be involved and in control while working with the doctor as a team.
Dr. K. also shared some tips about how to have a successful private practice. She provided advice for residency interviews and shared tough experiences she has had as a physician. During the rotation, I also saw that Texas has a very diverse population. As with many U.S. locations, it’s a great advantage for physicians to be bilingual.
Finally, I would like to add that each experience is what you make of it. Your commitment and dedication determine the results of virtual experiences. If you are determined to learn, a virtual experience can be very rewarding.
Without a doubt, the letter of recommendation that I received from Dr. K. has inspired a large number of residency interview invites I have received so far. My tenacity and resilience led me to search for opportunities to continue learning despite the pandemic. This experience has brought me one step closer to reaching one of my goals of matching into a pediatric residency program in the U.S.
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