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Internal Medicine Specialty at a Glance

Students interested in a career in internal medicine should take a sub-internship in internal medicine as early in the year as possible. Do not stress if an early sub-internship is not available though; Departments of medicine across the country recognize that many students may not be able to take an early sub-internship. Sub-internships are also a good time to secure additional letters of recommendation.

It is also highly recommended that students take an intensive care unit month in addition to a ward sub-internship when possible. This will make students more capable and comfortable dealing with very ill patients.

Match Statistics

Mean USMLE Step 2 CK score: 248
25th percentile USMLE Step 2 CK: 239
75h percentile USMLE Step 2 CK: 256
Average number of research experiences: 3
Average number of abstracts, presentations and publications: 4
Program signals for 2023 match: 5 gold, 10 silver (15 total)

  • Why should a student choose internal medicine?

    A student should consider internal medicine if they:

    • like working with people and being on teams.

    • love collecting data and medical history and the process of putting together this information with the patients in making a diagnosis and care plans.

    • love everything in medical school and do not want to narrow their field of study too much.

    • enjoy longitudinal care (primary care niche).

    • are considering specializing in one of the many branches of medicine in the future or like the idea of working hospitalist shifts one week on and one week off.

  • Are there things students should be doing in Phase 1 (year 1 and 2) to prepare?

    Internal medicine is for curious minds and people with great empathy and compassion. It is recommended to work on trying to master as many deep concepts as you can. In your free time outside of activities, work to balance your physical and mental wellbeing and consider engaging in activities that keep your people and empathy skills sharp!

  • What electives are recommended for students pursuing internal medicine?
    • Third year students should take each course like this is what you are going to do for the rest of your life and invest yourself fully each day.

    • Try and present topics that you read about for the patients you are caring for each day. Push yourself to learn how to safely take care of a higher number of patients.

    • Take Step 2 early (try to have this done before Mid-July)

    • Take your sub-I early if possible and do this in medicine. If you do not get your sub-I until later, try and get your critical care experience early (comments from your performance can be used from either of these on your chair’s letter to aid you).

    • Take courses that will make you a better internist (especially if it is a weakness for you. Turn weakness into strength. We like seeing a fourth year course load that includes electives like gastroenterology, cardiology, renal, infectious disease or even an additional hospitalist month.

    • When you start each month, write down and verbalize to your staff a skill set you wish to get better in that month. For example, on cardiology, it is grading systolic murmurs or reading ECGs.

    • Consider taking courses that you are extremely interested in but might not get a chance to experience again, like toxicology.

    • If you take the Kenya elective get your ERAS done early!

  • What sub-Is are recommended for students pursuing internal medicine?

    Internal medicine is recommended. See the information in the elective section above.

  • Is an away rotation recommended for internal medicine?

    No, it is strongly not recommended.

  • How important is research? Does it have to be specific to internal medicine?

    Research is not particularly important for most of the 600+ medicine programs. If you want a top one like Washington University or Massachusetts General Hospital, it might help, but only marginally. In medicine, the interview and your humanistic qualities are where much of your points will come from.

  • How long is internal medicine residency training?

    Residency training is three years.

  • Are there any internal medicine specific recommendations regarding letters of recommendation?

    Three letters and a chair letter are required. The preference is for two of the letters to come from the internal medicine (and branch specialties) year of training. The prestige of the writer does not matter.

  • Who do I contact to discuss specialty exploration?

    Medical student affairs’ comprehensive career development program is formalized and integrated into all four years of the curriculum at all nine campuses. Specialty exploration starts with discussing it with your lead advisor. In addition to lead advisors, students can interact with the career development team during all phases of medical school for career coaching and support as well as professional development opportunities and guidance for exploring specialty options.

  • What are some useful resources for students considering internal medicine?

    One helpful resource is the Internal Medicine Student Interest Group.

  • How does career mentoring at IU School of Medicine work in internal medicine?
    • One goes onto the mentor/advisor website and chooses medicine.

    • This email goes to the proper coordinator.

    • Candidates are divided amongst a list.