Required versus Elective Learning Experiences (Rotations)

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This episode is all about required versus elective learning experiences (LE). This is an important piece of the program evaluation and many may be wondering how you differentiate one programs LE from another. In this episode we break down what is a required experience, an elective experience, a longitudinal experience, and other important questions.

Questions we discuss:

  1. What are required and elective LE and are there any requirements by ASHP for these experiences.
  2. Does a LE have to be clinical?
  3. What's unique about longitudinal LE?
  4. What types of experiences would you expect for a general PGY1 program to have listed as required, elective, and longitudinal?
  5. What SHOULDN"T you ask residents and RPDs about required and elective rotations
  6. What SHOULD you ask residents and RPDs about required and elective rotations

This episode's take-aways:

  1. Required LE: An experience you must complete in order to get a certificate of completion from the program. There is flexibility on when you complete these, but you will complete these by the end of the residency. Examples are Orientation and Internal Medicine.
  2. Elective LE: Experiences that are available to the residents, but do not need to be completed in order to complete the residency. Residents are typically given a number of elective experiences they can choose from (2-4 on average). Examples are Transplant, Oncology, Infectious disease.
  3. Longitudinal LE: Typically a day or so a week stretched across a 3-12 month window. A good example of this is your medicine safety rotation, or your major resident project (research or quality improvement project).
  4. Don't ask what rotations do programs offer when it's clearly listed on their ASHP Directory program description or on their website.

What should you do now?

  • Start evaluating programs and comparing rotation listings
  • Think about what rotations are important to you and what type of experiences are must have's and must not have's.

What should you do later?

  • Prepare some questions for residents and RPDs based on our discussion of what you should and shouldn't ask

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