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Can shadowing replace volunteering?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Doc.Holliday, Dec 3, 2005.

  1. Doc.Holliday

    Doc.Holliday Senior Member
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    ive never enjoyed hospital volunteering etc, nor have i really had the time (other ECs and research). shadowing on the other hand is something i really enjoy, i have a lot of connections to different doctors, and by application (or at least interview time) i will have put a signifigant dent in shadowing the wide array of specialties. will using shadowing to fill up my clinical experience be enough, or will my lack of hospital volunteering be a red flag?

    and i mean the consistent every week for this many hours for the past 3 years sort of hospital volunteering so many premeds have. I am involved in various community volunteer organizations, so i put in a good bit of time for the surrounding area (i enjoy this sort of volunteering much more than the hospital type)... just to add, i have 2.5 years of research with pending publications, well known PIs (at least in their fields), blah blah.
     
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  3. I got acceptances with no volunteering, so it is certainly possible. Doesn't mean I advise going that route -- you should plug every hole in the dike that you can reach.
     
  4. Hurricane95

    Hurricane95 Senior Member
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    I have zero medical setting volunteering experience, just a whole lot of shadowing. I also have an acceptance and several interviews at good schools. I personally never cared for that type of volunteer experience, to me its a lot like shadowing a nurse. I want to be a doctor, not a nurse or PA. To me its a lot more logical to acquire patient contact experience while working directly with physicians and observing what they do. I know many premeds who volunteer in hospitals and the majority of them end up doing the nurses' b*tch work...like changing bedsheets, cleaning children's toys in the pediatric ICU, bringing patients apple juice, and assorted, essentially minimal patient contact, stuff. Plus to me it stinks of insincerity....95% of premeds who volunteer in hospitals only do it because they think it is required for med school admission. "Do I have to volunteer to look good for adcoms"? Very few do it out of a sincere desire to help. If you end up not doing hospital volunteer work and only shadow, then make sure you do something else volunteer related, like tutoring disadvantaged kids or otherwise helping out. Some service is essential. example: my friends and I founded a new organization on campus that tutors disadvantaged kids in the county, like form the poorer, lower-budget and lower-scoring schools (on standardized tests). We dedicate 3-4 hours every saturday to helping them. Thats something I like to do and adcoms have loved it so far.
     
  5. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    The research oriented schools are going to value research with publications (particularly if the research has some relationship to medicine) most highly.

    Every school will ask "how have you tested your interest in medicine?" This might be through employment in a patient care setting, volunteer service in a patient care setting, or shadowing. In shorthand, I call this "Have you smelled patients?" (In other words, just shelving boxes in the pharmacy doesn't count.)

    Finally, an adcom will look for evidence that you devote some of your time to service to the community or other activities that demonstrate a your ability as a leader. This might include tutoring children or illiterate adults (tutoring college or HS students isn't as big a deal), working as an adult with Scouts or campers, service to the homeless, even tele-thon fundraising for your college. If you have to work to pay for school, then showing that you've moved up the ladder at work to the point where you supervise or organize the schedules of other workers would be evidence of leadership capacity.
     
  6. Doc.Holliday

    Doc.Holliday Senior Member
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    oooo, scout leader, hadnt thought about that being a good thing to include on applications, i suppose because ive always been in scouts etc, i dont think of it as anything special (im definitely going to have to sit down and go through everything i do so i wont miss other things like that).
     
  7. Orthodoc40

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    Shadowing, volunteering, research, etc.... this isn't a 'menu of things you have to do to get accepted'! You're supposed to be finding out if working in medicine is what you want to do with your life, by real experiences. These are chances to learn things about health care and about yourself. Not a list of things "they want to see".

    Find something to volunteer doing that you DO like. It sounds like you do have some things - just do more of those.
     
  8. Emergency!

    Emergency! Senior Member
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    Doc.Holliday -

    I think you'll be okay. I asked one of my interviewers last year about the whole research/clinical experience thing and was told that ideally, people would have both, but in reality, it is usually one or the other. The fact that your volunteer experience is not medical related is not a big deal. The whole reason for volunteering is to show a sense of altruism. They look for clinical experience OR shadowing to show that you've investigated the profession of medicine and have a good understanding of what a physician's life/career is like.
     

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