What was the Psychiatry core like?

Our last core rotation of our third year of medical school, COMPLETE!

And it was an interesting rotation to say the least. Psychiatry was a 6 week rotation. The schedule was the same each week. Monday, Wednesday, Friday we started early and rounded on psych patients from the inpatient psych unit and on patients who psych was consulted for. We then went and observed all of the Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) procedures that were scheduled for the day. ECT is a treatment for certain psych conditions like major depressive disorder and catatonia. After all the ECT’s were completed, we rounded by ourselves on our assigned patients. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we would round on our patients at the hospital and then go to the children’s psychiatric hospital nearby. There, we would see our assigned patients and then a student would give a presentation on a psych topic. Throughout the 6 weeks, I worked with patients with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. I saw patients who were delusional and manic and some who had suicidal ideation.

Although psychiatry is not the specialty I want to go into, I think it was important to be aware of how to identify and treat the common psychiatric illnesses that we will encounter in any specialty.

How we studied for the Psychiatry shelf.

Since the hours for psych allowed for extensive study time, we were able to prepare more for this exam than any of the other shelfs. Overall, it was a pretty simple study plan. We completed all the UWorld psych questions and then redid all of our wrong questions. We read the psych chapter in Master the Boards and watched all of the Online Med Ed videos for psychiatry.  We took all three psychiatry NBME’s and reviewed them together. I took notes on a Word document from all four resources and compiled them into tables on each disorder. The last week before the shelf we reviewed the notes several times and quizzed each other on them. Denzel also re-read the psychiatry chapter in First Aid for Step 1. He also re-watched the Sketchy Pharm neuro videos.

Overall, the shelf was fair and I felt well prepared. There were a few questions that were tricky, of course, but for the most part I knew the answers to most of the questions!

Want a copy of my psychiatry notes?

Psychiatry Notes

What was the OBGYN core like?

Oh OBGYN, why did you have to go and steal a piece of my heart? There is just something special about witnessing the birth of a new little human into this world. There is just nothing that compares to seeing the joy it brings to a mom and her family.

Let’s get to the details.

OBGYN was an intense 6 week rotation. My schedule included 1 week of gynecologic surgery, 1 week of resident clinic, 1 week of ambulatory clinic with an attending, 1 week of labor and delivery nights, and 2 weeks of labor and delivery days. The schedule was more intense than the other rotations with most days going 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. For nights, our shift was 6:00 pm to 6:00 am, but we had to stay for any lectures which sometimes lasted til 9:00 am.

Although most parts of the rotation were not very hands on, there was plenty opportunity to learn and be involved in patient care. Gyn surgery was like general surgery. You scrub in, retract and suction smoke, but it was still interesting to watch gynecologic surgeries, especially robotic procedures. During labor and delivery, I felt like I was able to improve on my interview skills, especially for OB patients which require a more extensive history. During deliveries, there were times we got to deliver the placenta or hold the patient’s leg (which I was happy to be involved in any way during a delivery). Nights were my favorite, because the babies love to come at night! In ambulatory clinic was where I was able to be most involved, I was able to do full interviews and physical exams and sometimes some pap smears! Pointer if you are in OBGYN- JUST ASK! Asking to be involved increased the opportunities allotted to me.

How we studied for the OBGYN shelf.

At the end of our rotation we have an oral quiz with the attending. This affected the way we studied for the shelf, it was a little different than how we usually spend our study time.

The first week of OBGYN we focused on Online Med Ed videos of Obstetrics and Gynecology. We watched and took notes on all of the videos. The second week we started UWorld MCQ’s and took notes in a word document. I was able to get through all of the UWorld questions before the shelf.

We also read the obstetrics and gynecology chapters of Master the Boards. We thought it was just okay, it was like a sprinkle of detail. I think I will use it to study for Step 2 CK, but I don’t think it was a crucial part of my shelf studying.

We purchased and took two of the practice NBME exams. There is 4 total and I wish we would have taken them all.


As I said before, because of the oral quiz, the last week before our shelf was spent memorizing details from lectures. The test was approximately four questions on any lecture we had gotten in the past six weeks. Unfortunately many of the details from the lecture were not applicable to the shelf, like specific doses of medications.

Leading up to the shelf exam I felt confident and prepared, I felt like I really had a good grasp of the knowledge I needed to do well. Leaving the test, I felt frustrated. I think there were many questions I was sure about or could work through to my guess at a best choice, but there were around 30-40 questions that frustrated me. The questions were not clear and had little detail. They were not similar to UWorld or to the practice NBME exams. It did not test the crucial information I felt I spent weeks learning.

If I had any suggestions to improve, it would be to do all four NBME exams and go through UWorld wrong answers a second time.

Next up, our final rotation of third year- PSYCH!

Comment below or reach out to me if you have gone through the OBGYN core rotation and have anything to add to this post or if you have any questions.

What was the pediatric core like?

Finally, the rotation I have been waiting for, my pediatric core rotation and it was just as amazing of an experience as I had imagined. Peds core was a 6 week rotation with 3 weeks in an outpatient pediatric clinic, 1 week in the neonatal ICU, and 2 weeks on inpatient pediatrics.

Peds clinic offered a diverse experience. I saw a variety of ages from newborns to teens who were about to graduate from the pediatric office. I had the opportunity to be hands-on and independent in my history and physicals- lots of sports physicals, school physicals, and newborn exams. I also was able to practice writing notes. There were children with different pathologies and ailments both acute and chronic. The best part was learning little tricks and hints that my attending had picked up in her years of practice.

I adored the NICU and felt like I learned so much in the short time I was there. We split up the babies between the students and presented them during rounds with the attending, which were probably the most intense rounds I have experienced in my third year (high school math skills, where ya at?). Of course my favorite part were the babies themselves, I loved helping with feeds and just rocking them throughout the day. They are so small, but so incredibly tough.

During inpatient peds we had two jobs- do the physical exams on all the newborns and take care of any children admitted to the hospital.  A physical exam on a newborn is, not surprisingly, very different from a children’s or adult’s physical. It is one of the first exams the newborn will get and it can help identify any anomalies early. On inpatient we saw children with asthma exacerbations, pneumonias, appendicitis, psychologic presentations like conversion disorder and infants with jaundice. It was interesting to learn more about interacting with children and with their parents.

How we studied for the pediatric shelf.

We learned from our last 6 week rotation to start studying right away (be gone procrastination!!!). We started week one with Online Med Ed and tried to complete and take notes on all the pediatric videos. I thought this was a good way to compartmentalize pediatric conditions which I hadn’t really learned about much before. It was like a blast from the past with step 1 knowledge. I really wished I had time to re-read some of First Aid for Step 1, especially the sections for genetics, glycogen storage diseases, MSK and ortho, etc. Some of those facts came up often in the Q banks so I do plan on re-reading First Aid over my winter break.

I also tried to do as many UWorld pediatric questions as I could, these were similar to the shelf. I took notes on all the questions whether I got them wrong or right. I never did this before, but I felt like it helped integrate the knowledge from Online Med Ed to the question stem. I felt like the key to getting the answers right on this exam was being able to contrast between similar presentations. For example, kids with a limp- if you can remember the key differences you can answer the question correctly.

I also watched the Emma Holliday Pediatrics YouTube video twice over with the powerpoint notes. I feel like that always brings things together for me, its like a great overview of the entire rotation in 2 hours.

I purchased and took two out of four of the NBME practice exams online and took them on timed. Denzel and I reviewed the answers together afterwards and researched the answers we were not sure about. There were a few that we could not find an explanation from and we asked our attending to look over them for us, I found this very helpful.

The test itself was challenging as usual. It was a mix between easy questions and confusing questions. I feel like for the most part I was able to work through the questions, but there was definitely some that I felt were worded strange. In NBME fashion, there were a few questions on stuff that was not covered in my study material.

After the exam, we took a celebratory trip to Traverse City to refresh ourselves for our next rotation: OBGYN! I think it is important to take a break between rotations to relax and reset. It is also a good weekend to take care of the household and plan for the next rotation.

Comment below or reach out to me if you have gone through the pediatric core rotation and have anything to add to this post.

Want to see how my other rotations have gone and how I studied for my past shelf exams? Check these links:

Internal Medicine


Family Medicine 

If you have reached this page looking for guidance on changing your last name after a recent day of love CONGRATS! Changing your last name after marriage, especially while in medical school is quite the process. Thanks to a few classmates who had been through it, I had some sense of where to begin. It was not until I started changing my name that I realized how much there was to change!

Once you get your marriage license turned in, purchase 2-3 certified copies of your marriage certificate for name change tasks. (In Texas these were $6 each)


  • Changing your name with RUSM

Fill out the “Name Change Request Form” by going to MyRoss and following these links:

Student services- registrar- registrar forms- school of medicine forms- name change form

From there, you will email this form and your marriage license scan to L&C@rossu.edu (NOT to exam administration). After you email this, they will send you the updated form to fill out instead. When you complete this, your name will be changed and eventually (if you opted to) your email will be changed (AKA mine still has not been changed 2 months post name change).

After you successfully change your name with Ross, IMMEDIATELY call exam administration to have a new permit sent to you if you are scheduled for any shelf exams to ensure your permit matches your new ID. They say this can take up to 2 weeks, however I received mine in a few days. You do not need to reschedule your exam with your new name.

  • Changing your name with ECFMG

First you will fill out and fax or mail the following form (form 182)

I sent a photo of my marriage license along with the form and this was changed quickly. However, once this is complete you will have to REDO your form 186 which is the notarized form we had to do before the USMLE step 1. You will get an email when your name change is processed and you will be instructed to log onto the IWA ECFMG site and your new form 186 will be front and center. To complete this, you will do an online video chat with NotaryCam and you will need a form of ID with your new name (passport or drivers license). It costs $50.00 to do this. You no longer need a passport photo, they will take it during your video chat. My Form 186 was processed within 10 days of completing it with NotaryCam.

  • Changing your name with your loan company

I called my loan company after Ross processed my name change and asked how to change my name with them, they instructed me to upload my marriage certificate and a copy of my new ID on their site. I would call your specific loan company to see what they need.

  • Changing your name at your rotation site

It was fairly simple to change my hospital badge. I had to bring a picture of my marriage certificate to the security office and they reprinted my badge right there. It would be good to then tell your site coordinator about your name change for future correspondence.


  • Changing your name with Social Security (FREE)

You can either mail in or go to a local office to change your name on your social security card. First you will need to fill out form ss-5. You will need a CERTIFIED copy of your marriage certificate, a copy of your US birth certificate, and a copy of your US passport (I sent the one with my maiden name). You will send all of these documents plus the filled out form ss-5.

  • Changing your name on your Drivers License (price varies by state, Texas is $25)

It may be preferred by some DMV locations to change your social security card before getting a new license, however I got my license before my new SS card. Check for what the local DMV requires as far as documentation (I HAD MINE DONE IN TEXAS). I had to bring form DL-14A, my marriage certificate, my old drivers license, my social security card, my birth certificate, my car insurance policy, my car registration, and two forms of proof of residency. Proof of residency can include a lease agreement, your car registration, a bank statement, utility bill, or insurance card (NOT random mail, trust me).

CHECK AND DOUBLE CHECK that all of your information is correct on your paper permit before you walk away from the clerks desk. My birthday was wrong and I didn’t notice until I received my new license in the mail.

  • Changing your name on your passport (around $115, but varies)

CHECK THIS LINK for the instructions regarding the different scenarios you might be in yourself. For me, I was requesting a new passport more than a year after my last passport was issued and I qualified for the form DS-82. However, there are many different forms that you may have to fill out depending on your specific circumstances, so check the link below.

After I found my proper form, I had to send that, my old passport, my certified marriage certificate, one color passport photo, and the fees. You send the fees via check. It takes 6-8 weeks to get your passport back, but you can pay an $80 fee to have it rush shipped (which you can also decide to do after you’ve already submitted your application by calling the passport information number). You can also call this number to check the status of your application and make sure all parts of it were received.

  • Changing your name with health insurance and doctors offices

Before you change your name at your doctors offices, you should change your name with your health insurance company. To do this I had to give my marriage certificate to the HR department at the employer who sponsored my insurance at the time. After that, you are able to change your name with your doctors office.

  • Changing your name with Global Entry and your trusted travelers pass

In order to change your name with Global Entry, you have to make an appointment at your local office (usually at the airport) and go from there. I haven’t gotten around to doing this change yet, so I am planning to bring my certified marriage certificate and my identification documents.

  • Changing your name on banks and credit cards 

This was an easy change:

  • Chase and Charles Schwab I had to bring in my marriage certificate and they changed it while I was in office and they called the credit card line to reissue my credit cards and debit cards with my new name
  • Discover and CitiBank I was able to change over the phone and have them reissue cards that way
  • American Express you fill out this form online and then your cards will be resent!

Hope this helps some of you new Mrs. and Mr. (maybe almost Dr.) out there!


What was the family medicine core like?

With 3 out of the 6 rotations done, we are more than half way through third year of medical school! The Family Medicine core was a 6-week rotation with 2 weeks in an urgent care facility and 4 weeks at a family medicine out-patient clinic. Urgent care hours were 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Out-patient clinic hours varied, but typically were 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Some mornings we rounded with the attending at the hospital before going to the clinic. We also had once weekly lectures every Tuesday morning.

The two weeks of urgent care was my favorite part of any rotation we have done so far! I loved having a variety of presentations with some non-urgent matters and some emergencies. I also felt like I had more autonomy in this rotation, I was able to do procedures which I really enjoyed. My attendings also allowed me to do full visits from start to end- history, physical, assessment, plan and treatment.

Out-patient clinic was similar, but more physicals than sick visits. The attending I was with saw a good mixture of children and adults. It was a good learning experience, especially realizing the pros and cons of healthcare in our society. I felt like I learned more about counseling patients and the long-term follow up on patients with chronic disease.

How we studied for the family medicine shelf.

This was our first 6-week long rotation, so we had less time to study for our shelf that was the same length as the 12-week rotation shelf. It was also much busier with less time in the day to study, we only had few hours a day to study and we were often exhausted when we got home.

The resources we used for family medicine shelf were ExamGuru question bank and Case Files for Family Medicine. I read and wrote notes on almost all 60 cases which, to be honest, took up the majority of my time. Denzel used Online MedEd videos on relevant topics and ExamGuru questions for the majority of his studying. We also used USPSTF guidelines for recommended screenings and vaccines.

The test was the hardest shelf I have taken thus far, but I do not know how else I would have prepared for the questions that I found challenging. Looking back, I wish I would have focused more on MCQs from ExamGuru instead of reading the Case Files, though I found those easy to read and informative. I had such a wide variety of questions, some that I think would just take more experience to answer. The test is heavy in musculoskeletal questions as well, which I found challenging. I felt that there was also many questions that reminded me of Step 1. I would have probably reviewed the MSK portion of the First Aid for Step 1 book.

Comment below or reach out to me if you have gone through the family core rotation and have anything to add to this post.