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Away Elective Rotations

2021-2022 Academic Year

Coalition for Physician Accountability Work Group  released tentative guidelines for away rotations for the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year. This link has the full updated recommendations. The new guidance allows away rotations to resume no earlier than August 1, 2021. This new guidance encourages each learner to do only one away rotation, and residency program directors are "encouraged to take into consideration if a learner exceeded the one-away-rotation limit during the residency selection process."

VSAS

Many LCME schools use the AAMC’s VSAS system to manage away elective applications and decisions. All Feinberg rising M4 students are given access to VSAS by the Feinberg Registrar’s Office in January of their M3 year. This allows students to browse away elective opportunities, determine when applications are accepted at various schools, and identify what components are needed to accompany an application. If a school cannot be found on VSAS, you should search that specific institution to see if their application process is handled outside of the VSAS system.

Supplemental Documents

Away elective programs may require a number of documents or verifications to accompany a student’s application. Some of the most common requests are:

  • Medical Records/Completion of the AAMC Universal Immunization Form
  • Medical School Transcript: If you are applying in VSAS, we will upload your transcript only after you have submitted your application. You do not need to notify our office, as VSAS will prompt us to do so.
  • Letter of Good Standing
  • Malpractice Coverage Verification: Most schools only require the Registrar’s Office to verify you are covered either in a letter or on VSAS. For institutions requiring a Certificate of Insurance, these have to be ordered from the Office of Risk Management by the Registrar’s Office and require two to three days to process.
  • Criminal Background Check: A background check was run on each student before an offer of acceptance to medical school was extended. If a more recent background check is required, it is the student’s responsibility to have this performed.
  • Drug Testing: Student health should be able to complete specific drug tests.
  • Student Picture: To be uploaded by the student.
  • Letter of Recommendation: Generally must be uploaded by the Registrar’s Office, so please have your letter writers email them to FSM_Records@northwestern.edu.
  • HIPAA Attestation: Available for you to download.
  • Infection Control & Prevention Training Completion: Available for you to download.
  • Risk Management: Available for you to download.

Affiliation Agreements

Feinberg School of Medicine requires an executed affiliation agreement with the host institution prior to students rotating through that institution. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that legal safeguards are in place to protect our students while they are completing away rotations. At this time, we have agreements with the vast majority of accredited schools. We strongly suggest considering institutions on this list for your away rotations.

If you are interested in rotating at an institution not on this list, please email us at FSM_Records@northwestern.edu. The Office of Medical Education is actively pursuing agreements with all accredited medical schools. Our office can provide you with a sense of the status of the agreement and if it is likely to move forward by the time the rotation is scheduled. Please note, if an agreement is not established with a host institution four weeks prior to the start of an away rotation, our students will not be able to rotate at that institution for their own protection. If that occurs, students will be notified by email.

Receiving Elective Credit

Away rotations may be used towards your graduation requirement of 20 weeks of elective credit if the proper steps are taken. In order to receive elective credit, the away elective application form must be completed by the student and approved by our corresponding elective director (e.g., for an away otolaryngology elective, the form must be submitted to the otolaryngology director for a signature). The appropriate contact person is listed in the online clerkship descriptions in OASIS. If you are unable to determine the proper contact person, please email the registrar for assistance. Feinberg's corresponding department will sign off on the form and forward it to the registrar.

The form must then be submitted to our office at least four weeks prior to the start date. The elective will then be recorded to a student’s schedule in OASIS. If the elective appears on a student schedule, the enrollment process is complete. This registration process needs to be complete prior to the start of an away rotation for two specific reasons:

  • The student will only be covered under the University’s malpractice insurance if enrolled in the elective prior to the start date.
  • The student will only receive elective credit toward graduation requirements if registered prior to the start date.

If an away rotation has been accepted by the student at an institution without an established affiliation agreement and an agreement is not established with a host institution four weeks prior to the start of an away rotation, our students will not be able to rotate.

At the conclusion of the away elective, we must receive a Feinberg assessment form. Forms can be emailed to FSM_Records@northwestern.edu by the away institution’s visiting student coordinator or elective director. Only when the form has been submitted can we record elective credit. This form may be submitted via USPS, via fax or as an email attachment (PDF). Some institutions will only use their evaluation forms. In this case, the host institutions form will be honored as long as a final grade and narrative comments are clearly listed. If a student is having difficulty getting the form submitted, our department is happy to reach out to the other institution on the students’ behalf.