How To Hustle For An “Audition Rotation” As An IMG.

Audition rotation, away rotation, elective rotation —call it what you please.

This is a rotation that you should consider doing during your 4th year at a hospital that offers postgraduate (aka residency) training in the specialty of your interest.

The goals of this rotation should include:

1. To create a learning experience that allows you to better understand what the current residents benefit academically from training at that program. Also helps you “palpate” the internal atmosphere and determine the level of malignancy of faculty/medical staff.

2. To determine if you could be a good fit for that specialty or environment.

3. To showcase your interest and/or work ethic in the specialty and program.

4. To obtain a solid letter of recommendation from the distinguished faculty; preferably program director of said training program.

5. To “audition” yourself and allow the program staff (residents, program directors, office staff etc) to create a favorable, incontestably positive impression of you as a person. This in-turn increases your likability and makes you memorable for interview season if your performance is stellar. ( You do this by showing interest in learning, participating in academic events such as rounds, morning report and even extracurricular resident activities when given opportunity. Interact with residents and staff alike, maintain respect and ask thoughtful questions. Be polite and courteous. Contribute sensible thoughts and ideas. Show resilience and flexibility.)

During such rotations one may learn about current research projects that are ongoing and this could allow you the opportunity to assist or participate in a possible publication. ( Through an audition rotation – I picked up volunteering as a facilitator at a program conducting colorectal cancer screening research in AA patients by FIT testing back in the day.)


To begin, I suggest you use google (free) to look up all the residency programs in your current state. After you master the process for your home or current state, expand your search as far and wide as you desire.

Once you have this list, look at each individual website to determine what their residency application requirements are. Find the ones with whom you fit the description.

You should be able to find hospitals that accept IMGs through this process. But, if there is no statement on the site as to whether IMGs are accepted into residency there … just assume they are and keep that program on your list. I’ve heard some people (particularly Africans who allow inferiority hold them back ) recommend to look through the list of current residents to identify people with similar backgrounds or characteristics. But, this is unreliable as it doesn’t always reflect the trajectory of inclusion that a program may truly believe in. Evidence: I matched on first attempt at a program in KY without prior ties to the state or the people.

Once you identify a solid list of programs, use the preferred method of contact listed on the website to contact them. This typically involves a program coordinator’s email address or office number. Matter of fact: I used this method to contact a fellowship program with questions last week and was invited to apply into fellowship there, though I wouldn’t be doing that right now.

Contact each program on your list with these goals:

1. To request an opportunity to rotate through as an elective rotation. If they offer the option to make it a core rotation then you definitely want that instead. (See previous blog post about advantages of academic center’s for 3rd year rotations).

2. Express interest in rotating at said Hospital because you genuinely like the program (don’t lie, everyone can see through BS). If you’re being honest you’ll have reason to like the program. One way to know is by reading through the website to determine if you identify with the values of the program and if they offer opportunities that you find appealing. Some of these can include global health, rural health, research, fellowship opportunities etc.

3. If you’re in the area, ask about visiting the facility.

4. Another tip is to speak with successful alumni from your school or determine where they matched and seek similar rotation opportunities within their respective programs.

One helpful but paid resource for a list of programs that match your portfolio is: match a resident

Another site tag offers clerkships for foreign doctors needing USCE (US Clinical experience) is Americlerkships. You can find them here .

Use my discount code “the encouraging doc” members

Hope this helps someone.

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