Requirements for most electives:
Malpractice insurance (professional liability insurance)
Immunization record (Hepatitis B, Influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, TdaP) and QuantiFERON test
School’s dean’s letter of good standing
STEP 1 score report
Copy of your passport
Process of applying:
Most hospitals require international students to apply at least 3-6 months in advance to secure electives. Most applications are done in one of the following ways:
Online application to the hospital website itself
Mailing filled application forms along with required documents
Emailing filled application and the rest of the requirements
Applying through VSAS through Mr. Khan
Signing up to Medclerkships or similar program
Hospitals I got accepted into:
Cleveland Clinic - STEP 1 and TOEFL are required. The application is online through their website. They see applications on first come first serve basis. You can always upload a document stating you will fulfill the rest of the requirement or actually provide them with proof of scheduled exam etc and then change it afterwards. It is a great place for international students as the hospital itself is very IMG friendly. You actually get to work a lot especially in acting internship rotations and they would let you do patient notes and pend them for signature later. Student housing isn’t the best but is decent and it is in the hospital itself so works out great especially if you have acting internship electives.
Case western reserve university/ University Hospital STEP 1 is required. It is an amazing hospital. The application is through mailing filled documents. You need to apply really early. They don’t offer international students as much options as other hospitals. The overall experience is nice. You wont be able to write notes on patients files but you can always type it and email it to your team. They don’t provide housing options but whoever goes there, I strongly recommend staying in Little Italy.
Medclerkship. The pros of applying to Medclerkship is that you can secure an elective without STEP scores and in very short time. Where you work t depends on your proctor which they wont tell you until you pay around $2500.
West Virginia . Application is through VSAS. The hospital and the staff are amazing. I strongly recommend the student housing which is very decent. It is in a walking distance to the hospital.
Sinai Hospital in Baltimore STEP 1 required. Probably the easiest application. All I had to do is to email them a list of the prior documents and they accepted me. No tuition fee. Apply for the subinternship positions. Great hands on.
Weil Cornell – STEP 1 not required. The application process is very hectic. You have to follow the steps online. Once you get accepted, you need to do a lot of paperwork before you can start the elective. The hospital itself is amazing. I kind of felt that international students were not treated the same as cornell students. We only have access to the inpatient but not the outpatient patients charts. The doctors and the staff are very friendly. There are usually a lot of international students especially from germany.
Children’s National Hospital. Very beautiful hospital. Friendly staff. I visited it through uni.
Loyola. Unfortunately, I didn’t go to this elective because I had 2 electives scheduled at the same time.
Tips for your electives:
Please make sure you apply to specialties you are interested in only.
Make sure you email your director/supervising physician at least a week in advance and ask for any reading resources prior to starting and express your interest in the field. You can read a little bit about his/her research before starting too.
Complete all onboarding tasks on time so you can have access to the electronic medical record.
Show interest. Be on time. Be proactive. I can’t stress these enough. Present yourself professionally and make sure you ask your residents to take cases and follow them up.
Read about the cases you are seeing and try to find interesting articles that you could possibly share with your attending/fellow/residents
If you are doing an elective in a subspecialty, make sure you also attend the residents’ conferences and not just the department conferences.
Try to talk to the chief residents/program director if possible. The best way to go about this is to let your attending recommend you to the program director and then you can approach them.
In most of my electives, I used to stay beyond 5 pm even if most people would go. You need to show interest and prove yourself and your interest in the program. Stick around, help your attending, do whatever it takes to show them that you are willing to do anything in the world to match in this program.
Make friends! Enjoy your time! It is a hectic year but it is really very enjoyable and exciting so try to make the most out of it.