Sorry for the long post, but I think it's an interesting issue which I wanted to get feedback from people who have been through medical training... Despite the push for clinical experience in medical admissions, most of my class hasnt had any real clinical experience at all; many students have told me theyve never talked to a patient before coming to medical school Doesnt this seem odd?? How do you know you want to go to medical school without ever having taken care of patients before? Without seeing sick people, patients who are suffering, taking care of patients who die and helping their families with the death, how can you know you want to be a doctor? Not only this, but theres the practical standpoint about having realistic expectations about what youre getting into. For example, Ive heard some students complaining about the hours, schedule, and lifestyles that doctors have, now when they are almost done with their 1st year of medical school Isn't this a little late for talk like this? Shouldn't this have been something that should have been thought of before going to medical school in the first place? To be fair, there are also people who have had a lot of clinical experience prior to coming here several EMTs, nurses, patient care techs Im one of the latter and cant fathom having made the decision to go to medical school without having any patient care experience (in my case, I worked part time in college and full time 2 years after as a nursing assistant/patient care tech for about 5 years at an academic medical centers hospital on various inpatient floors (mostly different ICUs and the OR)) Obviously, Id be an idiot to suggest this (or the EMT people, or even the nurse) means you know exactly what being a doctor is like, however for me personally, it did accomplish 2 things- 1. Especially in the ICU environment, I saw pts. suffering on a daily basis and had plenty of pts. die (including kids since I worked on the PICU for a while) 2. I saw the lives that doctors worked first hand I usually worked anywhere from 50-70 hr weeks all shifts of the day and night (12, 16 hr shifts) summers home from college and saw residents at 330 AM who had been awake from 7 AM the prior morning (I worked before the resident work hour restrictions and remember the CT fellows on my floor who were going on 35 hours in the hospital), I remember attendings coming in at 2 AM, could go on... Its one thing to know that doctors work long hours, but seeing it first hand gave me a better idea just what kind of lifestyle doctors lead I believe this stuff at least gave me some knowledge on whether a career in medicine is right for me My ultimate question is this: Do you think medical schools should start requiring a given number of hours of clinical job experience actually taking care of patients? (I say job, so it wouldnt be a volunteer paper-pusher) Before you think its a strange idea, consider this many PA schools have requirements for clinical job experience prior to starting I found this out when I spoke with a PA student at the hospital I worked at (I went to the program website that they actually require 1000 hrs. of this experience) Things they suggested ranged from the higher level stuff such as nurse, respiratory therapist, paramedic, physical therapist; these are obviously their own fields which obviously is much more than needed However, the opposite end of the spectrum included things that require only a HS degree with some short training classes such as nursing assistant/patient care tech, phlebotomist, basic EMT, EKG tech These only require a HS degree with short training classes (I got hired and then trained for 3 weeks before being out on the ICU I started on taking care of pts.) So in other words, quite possibly the majority of my class would not have been eligible to apply to PA school, but they are in medical school... Doesn't this seem weird? So being people who have gone though med school and who are now residents, do you feel that a requirement for these latter types of experience should be required in a similar manner to PA programs so people have patient care experience prior to going to medical school? Or is this something that by the time you finish medical school isn't such a big deal?