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Another success story, with a moral!

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by chanjurban, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. chanjurban

    chanjurban Senior Member
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    Hi fellow non-trads. I'm a long-time reader, occasional poster. You guys probably don't all know me, but I thought I'd let you know... After 2 difficult years, I've been accepted to SLU. (YAY!!!) :D

    I'm a teacher (have been for 5 years). I decided to switch careers 2 years ago - while I was pregnant. Studied for the MCAT completely on my own... Took the darn thing in a cramped desk that certainly did not have room for the 2 of us. Applied to med schools shortly after baby was born and didn't get in because I wasn't able to put in any clinical time during the course of the pregnancy.

    Well I fixed that last year. Let me just strongly emphasize. If you are switching careers to get into medicine, shadow a doctor, do some volunteer work... Otherwise, no matter how good the rest of your stats are (and mine were pretty darn good) you WILL be waitlisted at best. Med schools need to know that YOU know what you're getting into.

    That being said, props to all you seasoned, knowledgable, mature folks. The medical field needs more of us. (I'm saying this as a 28 year old wife and mother who will most likely be one of the oldest ones in her class :rolleyes: :rolleyes: ) I've got a lot of respect for those of you doing this even further into your careers/lives.

    Cheers and good luck! :luck:
     
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  3. kimmcauliffe

    kimmcauliffe Surfer Chum
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    Congrats on the baby and the acceptance! Good to know that there are hardworking non-trads out there proving everyone wrong. Happy Holidays!
     
  4. md2011

    md2011 Member
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    Congratulations!

    Do you mind tell me what kind of volunteering you have done and how many hours per week for how many months you have done? I have been doing volunteering for churches, but I am not sure if I must volunteer for a hospital. Can you also tell me how you found a doctor to shadow?

    Many thanks.
     
  5. chanjurban

    chanjurban Senior Member
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    Sure. No problem. I have been volunteering since September 2004 in a local ER. I probably work about 4 hours every other Saturday, although when I started I was going every Saturday. I had to cut back after a few months because the baby was a little too young. So I guess that about averages to 2 hours a week. In terms of volunteering, I don't think it matters if you volunteer at a hospital or not, but they do want to see some medical exposure. I'm not sure what the scope of your church volunteering is... You could also try working at free clinics, etc.

    The nice thing about what I'm doing is that I've been able to develop some relationships with the doctors and staff. I let them know that I was interested in seeing some procedures, so they always kept an eye out for me. Occasionally I would ask if I could stand by and watch... I've seen all kinds of patients come in... simple lacerations, attempted suicide, anaphylactic (sp?) shock, veins growing into corneas, strange skin conditions, epilepsy, dislocated elbows... So I simply stood back and observed and when appropriate asked questions. Occasionally the docs would show me some diagnostic techniques, treatment techniques, explain how cetain medications worked, etc. I also spent time talking with the nurses and techs and asked about lab procedures, tests, etc. And I got to occasionally interact with patients - give them a friendly smile, tend to their needs. Of course, I changed a lot of bed linens too.

    In terms of shadowing, I had some trouble at first. I tried cold-calling a few local offices and hospitals. They weren't too keen on the idea - HIPAA regulations were the most common excuse. In the end, I wound up shadowing people I knew - my son's pediatrician (1 full day in the clinic and on morning rounds with the newborns), the ER pediatrician where I volunteered (1 night shift), and my ob/gyn (2 surgeries). I felt that gave me enough exposure to a variety of medical settings. I've heard of people being able to cold call, but I'd probably start with your own doctor. If they aren't able to accomodate you, they could point you in the right direction.

    And in case this all sound like a lot of time, it's not really. I managed to do all this along with a full time job and a relatively demanding family, and I didn't even feel burdened. But I did it over about 15 months.

    BTW, my interviewer at SLU made a point of commenting that I did all the righ t things and that she wished more "traditional" applicants would do half as much. That made me feel good :cool: .

    I hope that helps. If you'd like more info, feel free to PM me.

    Chanjurban
     

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