So from my accumulated wisdom from the last four months of clerkship, I've learned a handful of things I wish to share.
1. Carry at least two (functioning!) pens and a piece of scrap paper at all times.
2. Watch what your staff does so you can learn how they do things - ESPECIALLY surgeons. You may get looked at like you have two heads for doing something the way you were taught by another staff. Don't take it personally.
3. Don't take anything personally.
4. If someone 'corrects' you, even though you are doing something exactly the way you were instructed to do it 24h before, just go with it. Don't argue. Related: if you're told you contaminated yourself and you're 100% positive you didn't, still don't argue. Get a sleeve/new glove/new gown anyway.
5. Thank people for teaching you. Not everyone will try.
6. If you need paperwork filled out, let your supervising staff/resident know early on in the day.
7. Get to know the nurses and other allied health. They almost certainly know more than you do about what you should be doing especially if you're brand new on a service.
8. Waterproof shoes.
9. If you feel lightheaded in the OR - and it happens to lots of people! - let the surgeon/resident know, hand off your tools/retractor and step away and sit immediately. Don't try to fight it. Don't risk passing out in the field. For one, it's not good for the patient. Two, no one likes it if the med student creating a mess of paperwork. (I have not passed out, but I nearly did.)
10. If your staff or resident tells you to go eat, rest, or grab a coffee, do so. As in immediately. Don't wait around, don't ask if they're sure. Run for the call room/break room/washroom as fast as your little legs will carry you.
11. If you're asked if you'd like to go home early, the answer is yes.