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I think whichever you find to be more enjoyable and meaningful is fine. You can potentially look into volunteering somewhere closer to where you are during the academic year if you would like to continue volunteering long term.

I also wouldn't be too concerned with becoming a cookie cutter premed... Do what you enjoy and don't listen to those that tell you there is only one right way to do ECs to be accepted to med school. FWIW I had no clinical volunteering and did just fine. As long as you have experience in a clinical setting so that you know what you are getting yourself into, it's all good.
 

LizzyM

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Pediatric volunteering, from what I've seen when my children have been patients, is glorified babysitting. You provide toys and art supplies, make sure the stuff isn't misused (no coloring on the walls!), and help clean up afterward and put things back where they belong. The kid might have a fracture or a tumor but they are mostly just trying to pass the time before they are called to see the doc.

In the ER I think that there is more opportunity to be a fly on the wall and more opportunity to interact with patients in a meaningful way. There will also be mundane tasks.

I think it comes down to a choice between cleaning crayon off the tables or stocking shelves. Do you prefer hanging out with little kids or adults?
 
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I'd choose the ER volunteer spot where you'll see more variety (all ages), get to visit other parts of the hospital when transporting, and probably see a higher intensity of care than an outpatient setting would give you.
 

Bernoull

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So I'm going home for the summer. I got a spiffy internship program for the week, and I'm looking to volunteer at my local hospitals during the evenings/on weekends.


The hospital program gives me the chance to volunteer 4h/week. They suggested the following for me:

Emergency Room Volunteer- probably patient transport, patient liaison work talking/reading to patients and making them comfortable

Pediatrics Volunteer: This is on a strictly outpatient basis. Work with children who are current in treatment-- read to them, play games, comfort them as they go through chemo.


So I know in both cases you can "smell the patients," but would the pediatrics experience be considered fully clinical since I'm not really doing anything medically related? I'm mostly just hanging out with the children in the hospital.


Which would be a stronger clinical experience? I would love to do either.

Also, would it look bad that I'm only doing it for the summer? I've read through past threads that adcoms don't like it when you only volunteer for a few months, but here, I really have no choice. And I do have free clinic experience (1.5 years) back at school, if continuity/dedication to something is an issue.

Thoughts?

-M
Easy question, the best clinical exp is the one u get paid to do... hands down :thumbup::thumbup:
 

metalgirl14

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You should go with the one that allows for more patient interaction. I've volunteered both in the ER and in medical offices but I actually had more patient interaction in the offices. When I volunteered in the ER, the staff had barely anything for me to do (since there were very few patients). This may have just been the hospital I volunteered at though since it was a small, non-teaching hospital...
 

imperfections

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I would go for pediatrics. I've done both and I felt like I was making more of a difference in pediatrics. You get to interact with the children one on one and you're always DOING stuff in the pediatrics department. When I was in emergency, I felt more like a burden than a volunteer. You can't even give a patient a warm blanket without fetching a nurse.

But then again, it's always up to you. Like someone said above, do you prefer working with children or working more with adults? :)
 

justdoit31

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I did pediatrics and loved it- I did both tutoring and child life (coloring, games, movies) and really enjoyed both aspects. I love working with kids though so it seemed like the time flew by. If you dont' enjoy kids I wouldn't suggest this.
 

oaklandguy

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I think you should go and scope out the ER. I've seen ER's where volunteers just stock shelves, and I currently volunteer at an ER where docs will grab me to hold down a patient during procedures and nurses let me take vitals for them. I also go around to each room and am a glorified waiter to the patients bringing them food and what-not, but it definitely helps calm them down when they get some water or a warm blanket and it makes a difference. I do also stock shelves lol, but I get to see some spinal taps and bones popped back into place. One time a patient tried to bite me while I was holding them down, they were a psyche patient who kept yelling at people that he was going to make them lose their job when they tried to hold him down for some type of shot and I walked in there and when he yelled at me I just said I had no job and held him down.

You can get a good experience no matter where you go it's all about what you make of it. I just have bias because I volunteer in the ER and really like Emergency Medicine.
 

Marcus Brody

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More "volunteering" crap. you'd be better off staring at a wall. in fact, that's probably all you will do there anyway.
 
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