Early Clinical Rotations

It was both humbling and horrifying to see the miracle of life on display every 30 minutes of everyday for two weeks😱😨

Third year was the beginning of my clinical rotations in medical school and I have so many lessons learnt and tips that I feel obliged to disperse into the world. Even if one lone individual finds this useful , I shall be satisfied !😊

Family Medicine:

This is also known as primary health care. This is the first port of entry for patients into the health care system here in South Africa. For my rotation , I was based at a local clinic that we visited several times a week . My duties there were very simple: take the patient’s history , do the appropriate examination/s and present to the doctor on site.

  • What I liked: This rotation was a good way to hone my history taking and presentation skills.
  • What I did not like: The group work projects that this rotation seemed to be inundated with. It was exhausting! My group was awesome but half my time seemed dedicated to vague projects .
  • Tips
    • Try to see as many patients as you can with varied histories so that you can learn how to present them all. 


It was both humbling and horrifying to see the miracle of life on display every 30 minutes everyday for two weeks . I delivered 5 babies by myself in total and assisted the nurses with many others .

Seeing the miracle of life every day for two weeks
Seeing the miracle of life every day for two weeks 😛
  • What I liked: The lovely midwives who really took our learning into their hands and taught us as much as they could in the time we were there.
  • What I didn’t like: The smell of placenta became overwhelming after a while.  I also didn’t like the Cesarean Sections! Brute force are the words that come to mind when I think about them.
  • Tips
    • Make nice with the midwives . They are in charge of the labour ward. Our doctors were only ever present when complications arose and someone needed a c-section.  
    • Don’t wear long-sleeved tops ! Unless you want to wash amniotic fluid off your sleeves everyday
    • Don’t hold the patient’s hands , they will crush you. 


I enjoyed the little time that I spent in the pediatrics wards.  I love children and interacting with them felt so easy .  I found neonatology particularly interesting👶

Aren't they just the cutest :)
Aren’t they just the cutest 🙂
  • What I liked: The  doctors were always so happy to do their jobs. Not that other doctors weren’t but the doctors always made the effort to play and engage with the children even if they felt far from happy.
  • What I didn’t like: Seeing little sick kids is not very easy. All kids should be lively and bouncing off walls , the way my youngest brother does , not lethargic and ill .
  • Tips:
    • Engage with the caregivers (usually the mothers) first. Once they are comfortable with you continuing with your history and examination and have explained to their little ones what is happening , everything goes well. 
    • Let sleeping children sleep , or face the wrath of fore-mentioned care -givers.


Internal Medicine

I enjoyed my internal  medicine more than I expected to . From the beginning of the year I had heard many horror stories relating to the amount of work had to be done during this rotation.

After finding out that a post-intake ward round was going to start at 2pm :(
After finding out that a post-intake ward round was going to start at pm 😦
  • What I liked : I began to appreciate how everything I learnt during second year started to come together and how I was expected to pool all my knowledge together and make assessments and conclusions for the patient based on that. It was an incredibly academic rotation with an emphasis on knowledge and the correct use thereof.
  • What I didn’t like : Some ward rounds would last for hours and hours ! I developed painful blisters after spending one such unfortunate day in my least comfortable pair of shoes.😑
  • Tips:
    • Read. Read. Read. Read up everyday on everything you see and other related conditions. There is a lot of repetition and simply reading ahead can save you. 
    • Be enthusiastic , even if you aren’t feeling it !
    • Prepare !


I loved this rotation so much ! I still maintain that this was my favourite experience in medical school thus far. I felt so inspired to do more , be more and just experience more. I’m excited for surgery in the future. I’ve caught a glimpse of my future and I don’t want to let it go!🙌💃😍

My face every single day during surgery :)
My face every single day during surgery 🙂
  • What I liked: Going into the OR was practically a dream come true. Assisting in the OR was amazing ! Ward rounds were as quick as lightning. I just loved the urgency and immediacy of surgery. I liked the fact that once a problem was identified it was treated in the best possible way quickly without trial and error .
  • What I didn’t like : The fact that it only lasted 4 weeks . Boo👎 
  • Tips:
    • Enjoy the experience. 
    • Read up on your patient and your colleague’s patients so that you don’t looked like you’ve been stunned when asked questions . 
    • Sleep when you can and as much as you can. 😴

The Rotations in order of my preference :

  1. Surgery : For obvious reasons 🙂 <3👍
  2. Paediatrics : Because babies ❤ 👍
  3. Internal Medicine : So much work and studying :(👌
  4. Obstetrics : The smell of placenta = not pleasant :P👎
  5. Family Medicine : Projects galore 😦  Boo👎

I really enjoyed the clinical rotations. Initially I felt scared because I kinda sorta didn’t know what the hell I was doing but as the year progressed I gained more confidence in my abilities. I am actually amazed at all the things I find myself capable of doing now and I am even more excited to perfect my skills and learn more. 

I hope my tips offer even the tiny bit of guidance to anybody out there.

Lots Of Lily Love ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (LOLL)

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