Though Ross University School of Medicine is technically a Caribbean medical school, you might be surprised to learn that the majority of your Ross education won’t actually be in the Caribbean. Rather, it will be in United States teaching hospitals, alongside students from other medical schools in the US. Read on to learn what you can expect as a Ross clinical student during your third and fourth years of study.
At a Glance: The Clinical Phase of Medical School
After completing Foundations of Medicine (preclinical study in Dominica) and passing the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE) Step 1, Ross students enter the clinical phase of medical school. Expect your medical education experience to get even more hands on—over the course of 90 weeks, you'll rotate through different core and elective rotations at Ross-affiliated teaching hospitals throughout the United States. You'll be examining and treating your assigned patients, shadowing attending physicians and residents, conducting procedures, reviewing lab results, and performing many of the actions that a practicing physician may take over the course of a day. The hours are generally similar to having a full-time job—some clerkships may require you to be on call for weekend or evening hours.
Your Course of Study as a Ross Clinical Student
You'll begin your Ross clinical education with Internal Medicine Foundations (IMF), IMF is a six-week required clinical clerkship offered through the Center for Haitian Studies/Greater Miami Health Education and Training Center (CHS/GMHETC), affiliated with Jackson Memorial Hospital. This clerkship is designed to provide physician-supervised, hands-on training with patients at affiliated hospitals and ambulatory clinics. The goal of this clerkship is to help students achieve a solid foundation in the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to succeed in subsequent core clinical clerkships and in the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) and Clinical Knowledge (CK) exams.
After completing the IMF clerkship, you’ll move on to your "cores"—the basic areas of medical practice about which all physicians need to be knowledgeable. They are included in the curriculum of every medical school. This phase of the program lasts 48 weeks. Take a look at a breakdown of your core rotations below.
Internal Medicine (12 weeks): During your internal medicine rotation, you'll learn the steps necessary for proper diagnosis and treatment of patients. You'll learn how to take complete medical, personal, and family histories; to perform diagnostic “work-ups”; and develop a plan for managing a patient’s care. In addition, you'll participate in clinical conferences where you learn to report your findings and conclusions logically and succinctly.
Surgery (12 weeks): You'll explore conditions requiring surgical intervention and have opportunities to observe how surgical patients are managed. In the process, you'll become familiar with the policies and procedures followed in the operating room.
Pediatrics (6 weeks): During your pediatrics rotation, you'll learn special skills and knowledge required for the examination, diagnosis, and treatment of infants, children, and adolescents.
Family Medicine (6 weeks): Through your family medicine rotation, you'll learn principles of family medicine and of how these principles apply in community practice. Emphasis is placed on continuous and comprehensive healthcare for people of both genders and all ages within the context of their families, social groups, and communities. Particular attention is paid to the diagnosis and treatment of common medical problems and to health maintenance, ambulatory care, and continuity of care.
Obstetrics/Gynecology (6 weeks): Here, you'll learn about the changes that take place in a woman during pregnancy, labor, delivery and the postpartum period—both normal and pathologic. You'll also learn about the diagnosis and treatment of major gynecological diseases and various methods of family planning.
Psychiatry (6 weeks): During your psychiatry clerkship, you'll learn about the major categories of mental disorder, including diagnosis and some methods of therapy. In the process, you'll learn how to take a psychiatric history and how to evaluate a patient’s mental status.
You'll spend the final 40 weeks of your clinical experience participating in elective clerkships. Explore a list of elective rotation opportunities here.
US Clinical Sites That Meet Our Standards for Excellence
Ross aims to maintain a geographically diverse clinical network, and has sites in New York, California, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Georgia, and elsewhere around the United States. Third-year Ross clinical students have the option to complete all third-year clinical rotations in one geographical location—these single-location clinical opportunities effectively create an "academic home" for clinical students and helps ensure a consistent clinical experience as students rotated through different disciplines. We choose to partner with institutions that meet our standards for excellence—such institutions have a strong track record of quality patient care, community service, and U.S.-standard medical education. Check out the full list here.
During the clinical program, count on Ross colleagues and staff to assist and support you as you head toward the finish line of your medical education. Through our Rely On Student Services (ROSS) model, we connect every Ross clinical student with a dedicated team of advisors that you can contact for financial or career counseling, writing help, and more. Learn more about the ROSS model here.
Note: In select cases, Ross students may have the opportunity to go abroad for an international clerkship. These unique clinical opportunities can introduce students to different healthcare systems and broaden their understanding of healthcare in a global sense.
What Happens Next: USMLE Step 2, Residency, and Beyond
After completing your required clerkships, you'll take the USMLE Step 2 CS and CK. Ross requires passage of the USMLE Step 2 for graduation. You'll then proceed to residency through the National Resident Matching Program.