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Goal: To ensure that all 4th year students have similar and balanced externships experiences. Each 4th year student has a minimum of three unique external rotations. Of those three rotations, each student must have the following:

  • One Ocular Disease/Medical Rotation (Category M)
  • One Primary Care Rotation (Category P)

Category M (Ocular Disease/Medical):

Externships in Category M contain the following:

  • Patient populations with a high rate of ocular and systemic disease.
  • Patient populations with specifically high prevalence of commonly occurring ocular diseases including glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal vascular disease, and vitreoretinal disorders.
  • Patient numbers and clinical space that allow a robust exposure to ocular diseases.
  • Schedule that places the extern in the high disease clinical setting every day.
  • Schedule that, when outside of the high disease clinical setting, contains quality didactic substitutions such as journal clubs, case conferences, and grand rounds presentations
  • Structure that student externs do the complete exam, rather than observe, the majority of patient exposures.
  • Exceptional patient populations, uniquely qualified clinical faculty, broad extra-clinical didactic programs, and advanced educational resources to compensate when the majority of clinical experience is observational.
  • Faculty that have privileges that allow for the treatment of ocular disease, including glaucoma.
  • Clinical faculty that has the expertise, desire, and adequate time to teach externs about ocular disease.

Category P (Primary Care):

Externships in Category P contain the following:

  • Large patient numbers and clinical space that allow for a robust exposure to primary eye care with emphasis on examination efficiency.
  • Patient populations of all ages and specifically high prevalence of commonly occurring ocular disorders including ocular surface disease, conjunctivitis, keratitis, uveitis, ocular traumas, and binocular vision abnormalities.
  • Clinical faculty that has the expertise, desire, and adequate time to teach externs.

Category E (Elective):

Externships in Category E contain the following:

  • Patient populations, faculty expertise, or facilities that contain unique learning opportunities or that supplement and enhance experiences gained at Category M and P sites.
  • Unique learning opportunities including functioning in a multi-disciplinary hospital based clinic, performing peri-operative care, working in refractive surgery centers, providing low vision or rehabilitation services, and serving non-English speaking patient populations.
  • Clinical faculty that has the expertise, desire, and adequate time to teach externs.

Externship Selection Process

(process done by lottery):

Note: There is one externship which has double rotations (meaning one double rotation = 2 rotations/sessions; Fall 1 and 2 are combined and Spring 1 and 2 are combined). This site at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System is in Category M. If a student selects VA Puget Sound for a double rotation, their one remaining rotation must be from Category P.

  • Double M rotation pick (and select IN/OUT template).
  • First round pick for first rotation – select an IN/OUT template and a Category P site. Those who selected Double M Rotations will pick their P rotations (in the order of their P lottery number) AFTER everyone else had selected their P site.
  • Second round pick for second rotation – select a Category M site (if you did not already select a Double M rotation).
  • Third Round pick for third rotation – select from a Category E site or from any remaining Category M or P sites.
  • Fourth round pick – select in-house clinics template.