Guidelines for Fourth-Year Electives for Students Considering Family Medicine Residency Programs

Use fourth year rotations to address any gaps you have in your clinical education.  While it might be tempting to register for the minimum number of electives you need to graduate, remember this is your last opportunity to choose from a broad range of clinical rotations. Therefore we recommend that you use the time to your educational advantage.  Remember that you are in the best position to know what you need. Family Medicine residency programs are looking for well-rounded, clinically prepared students, so you don't want to load up your schedule with straight family medicine electives.

Required Selectives:  You can use these required courses to prepare for family medicine.  Here are some options to consider:

1.    Advanced Practice Selective (APS):

    • If you are fence sitting between family medicine and another specialty, you can sign up for this selective early in your fourth year and choose a site done with family physicians.  Our office will work with you to select a family medicine placement that will address your needs.
    • If you are clear about wanting to go into family medicine, consider selecting an advanced practice OB or Pediatric site.  In OB, you will likely get a lot of gynecology and prenatal care that's good preparation for family medicine, or consider taking a psychiatry APS.

    2.   Acting Internship:

    • If you are interested in a family medicine residency program in North Carolina, you can use this time to check out residency programs.  The programs in Greensboro, Asheville, Charlotte, Cabarrus, and Coastal take AI students, but slots are limited.  The AI in Chapel Hill DOES NOT fulfill your AHEC AI requirement unless you are a student in the Asheville track. You are not expected, nor would you want, to do more than one AI in family medicine.  The AI in Family Medicine in Asheville will give you a feel of what a (mostly) unopposed program is like.
    • Another way to check out the family practice residency program is do an AI in internal medicine, peds or OB at the hospital where the family medicine residency is located.  You might get to work with family practice residents and interview for the program while you are doing your AI.
    • If you are certain about family medicine, the AI in medicine at Wake is particularly good.

    3.   Critical care:  Consider the surgery ICU or the Emergency medicine placements.

    Other electives:  Consider a combination of these:

    1. Emergency Medicine (Charlotte is a good site)
    2. Radiology (at UNC)
    3. Dermatology
    4. Rheumatology
    5. Diabetes
    6. STDs at Wake

    One student recommended that you travel if at all possible during your 4th year; go abroad if possible!