Clinical Years

Many questions and much anxiety surrounds the years following the basic sciences in medical school.  This section will tell you what happens during 5th term of medical school, how placement is done for rotations, what it's like in the clinical years, and what it's like in the residency years. 

What Happens During 5th term
  • The list of hospitals will be released at the end of February (for 5th termers in the Spring) and at the end of October (for 5th termers in the Fall).
  • SGU will have a series of meetings to talk about the process and what's required.  
  • Students send in their preferred locations (by state) in mid-March (for 5th termers in the Spring) and mid-November (for 5th termers in the Fall).

What Happens between Year 2 and 3 (i.e. after 5th term and before clinical rotations)
  • Student will study for and take the USMLE Step 1 test.
  • Student will receive permanent placement by email around the end of April (for those who finished 5th term in the Fall) and the beginning of August (for those who finished 5th term in the Spring).  Sometimes this notice will only be a few days, so you must remain flexible.  Once you get a permanent placement, there is no way to change it.  
  • Non-US students will need a B2 visa to do rotations in the US.  Unfortunately, there is no visa for SOs, so you may only be able to go to US rotations as a visitor.  We currently do not have much information about this experience from an SO point of view, but we have a Canadian SO (Vanessa McCombs) who will be experiencing this in the Fall of 2011.  She is willing to take any questions and can be reached at  

Third Year of Medical School
The third year of medical school involves 42 weeks of rotations: 12 weeks of Internal Medicine, 12 weeks of Surgery, 6 weeks of OB/GYN, 6 weeks of Pediatrics, and 6 weeks of Psychiatry.  Everyone must complete these five rotations, and SGU will tell you where they will be done.

Between Third and Fourth Years of Medical School
Students will study for and take the USMLE Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge) and USMLE Step 2 CS (Clinical Skills).  They will also begin applying for residencies. 

Fourth Year of Medical School
The fourth year of medical school is more flexible and scheduled on your own.  There are a few requirements, but for the most part, you can do the rotations that you want, where you want. 

Interview with a former SO
A former SO visited Grenada, and we interviewed her.  Below are her views and experiences.  These are her views and experiences alone and are not those of the SO Organization itself.  Please do your own research.

USMLE Step 1 - Get the best score possible.  This is the biggest and most important test of your life!

3rd year rotations - Surgery, OB/GYN, and Internal Medicine rotations are really intense.  Family just has to adjust.

4th year rotations - Easiest year.  ER rotation is shift work.

Residency -
  • 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • On call 6 p.m. Friday to noon on Saturday
  • Resident sleeps the rest of the day on Saturday. 
  • 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday
  • Repeat every week
  • Your partner will be back to normal after residency years
  • She believes that the university-based residency is better than community-based residency
  • Although your contract states 80 hours per week, it is normally 100+ hours per week
  • If you work for an academic institution, they pay your malpractice insurance.
  • There is an SO Club for residency
  • Easier residencies to get: Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, Peds.
  • Difficult residencies to get: ENT, Derm, Anesthesia, Neuro, Ortho, Surgery, Radiology.  Radiology requires perfect grades and perfect scores.

Loans -
  • You can live off your loan money just fine.  
  • If you take out the full amount, it may be difficult to pay back in Family Practice.  Be aware of the amount you owe vs. the amount you're paid.
  • No emergency loans in residency.