Career Planning and Advisement

Office of Medical Education

doctors with patient

Year 4 electives are intimately related to career planning. For this reason, students are urged to participate in the career planning workshops which are developed by the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs. Contact the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs at (775) 784-6063 for more information.

The first step in planning for Year 4 is to select the specific field(s) of medicine in which you are most interested. Career advisors are available for each of the major fields of medicine.

The selection of elective rotations requires the student to first consider and answer a series of questions which should be discussed with their career advisor before finalizing selections. These include:

  • Have you decided on your career specialty/subspecialty?
  • What is your career goal?
  • What are you trying to accomplish with and in your 4th year?
  • Where are you thinking about doing your residency?
  • In your specialty, what do you need to know that won’t be covered in residency?
  • What are your limitations in answering any of these questions?
  • What areas in your educational experience need to be strengthened? Namely, what do you feel you don’t know that you need to know to be a good doctor?
  • What do you need to do to round out your education?

After considering the above questions:

  • Are you sure you understand the variety of career options available, e.g., private practice versus hybrid academic careers?
  • With whom have you discussed the content, objectives and operation of the individual electives selected?

Although many of you have attended meetings (career planning) and/or workshops (fourth year electives) in an effort to assist you with this process, the process itself is not the issue as much as the curriculum and content chosen to complete the initial phase of your education as a physician.

It is important to recognize the fourth year is, or should be, a continuum of your education and not an isolated experience with little relevance to your first three years of medical school. Whether you view the fourth year as an attempt to round out your education or as an opportunity to delve more in-depth into those areas (sub-specialties) that are only touched on in your required third year clerkships, curriculum and content should be your first priority in attaining your goal for this year.

For those students who have not yet decided on their medical/surgical career goal, the fourth year may be an opportunity to explore a multitude of options. However, careful planning and consideration of electives is more critical as some rotations may not provide you with the best experience to foster your career decision.

Clearly the more individuals you talk with, in as many fields as possible, as well as discussing the information with your career advisor and in many cases department chairs, the more likely you will be to make a reasonably sound decision regarding the appropriate electives.