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Clinical experience for non-trad?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by spacecadet, Jul 18, 2001.

  1. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2001
    Houston, TX

    I'm hoping that you all can offer me some suggestions on how to get some good clinical experience starting in the next couple of weeks.

    I already tried the hospital/ER route, and it was not for me. I was incredibly bored and had no real responsibilities. I tried to make myself useful, but I knew it wasn't going anywhere. I have a family, and it's hard for me to motivate myself to go to a useless activity when I could be with my family instead.

    So, I'm looking for something where I would make a contribution as well as gain valuable experience. It would also help if it were close by (suburban Houston, i.e. not at a children's hospital) so I don't have to commute far.

    I feel like my application is pretty solid except in the clinical area. I'm a non-trad who is switching from engineering to medicine at age 31, and I am applying for 2002 so I need to get on the ball here. :)

    Thanks for any advice. I know I'm asking a vague question, and I appreciate any input.

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  3. pcl

    pcl Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2001
    Maybe try something that is not quite clinical but still volunteer work.

    Meals on wheels maybe? Small time commitment, very important.

    My hospital does Greif counseling for children who have lost a family member. They use volunteers (training is pretty extensive and they request a one year, 1 hr per week commitment for the training) for the counselors and the sites are in the community. Investigate if there are option like this in your community through the local hospices or hospital groups...

    Good Luck!
  4. moo

    moo 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 4, 2000
    One of my coworkers who's a nurse volunteers with the local police department. SHe goes around to victims' families of car accidents, murders, etc. and counsels them. Although not clinical work per se, it still allows for interaction and as a doctor you will most likely need to do this sort of grief counseling.
  5. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    I am also a non-trad 35 year old with a family. I volunteer at our local free clinic (not the health department). They use volunteers for everything. My duties have grown in the past 2 years of being there. Now I check in patients, take vitals, draw blood, administer immunizations, perform lab work such as urinalysis and glucose sticks, pregnancy counseling, etc...

    The patients know that we are all volunteers and it is a learning environment. Even the docs are volunteers. The med students have a number of rotations through the clinic.

    Free clinics are always looking for help. I feel it is the best place for one on one patient interaction you can get.

    There is another benefit to clinic work. We have had a number of pre-meds who come to the clinic thinking that they want to be a doc and be around patients. They are really surprised to discover that they hate being in a clinical environment. It is better to find out that you don't like it BEFORE you spend $1000's of $$$$$$ on a medical education.

    I also volunteer at the medical school hospital in the cancer center. I take refreshments around to all the outpatients and their relatives when they are getting chemo and radiation. Some of these people are there all day, so they look forward to the service we provide. This is also a way I have one on one contact. I really enjoy visiting and letting these patients know we care about them. It is really rewarding.
    :) :) :) :)
  6. Gotrob

    Gotrob Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 4, 2001
    I am 30, I believe I am a competitive applicant, but like you, I felt I needed some clinical experience. I took a two-week class through a local hospital (WI), and now I am a phlebotomist. I love it. The job revolves around one-on-one patient contact. You learn the ins-and-outs of a hospital because you move freely from floor to floor and from room to room. You learn to deal with a variety of situations and patients. In just a few short weeks I have drawn blood from Newborns, AIDS patients, mothers about to give birth, patients on life support, old, young, mean, nice, and once almost a person who had died (fortunately I figured that out before I tried). Scheduling is flexible, and I am able to work as much or as little as I like.

    I have talked to people who have volunteered and I have shadowed 3 doctors. I guarantee that you will learn more in one day of phlebotomy than you will in months of volunteering or shadowing. Becoming a nursing assistant (or one of its variations) is also an option, but the pay isn't as nice, and you are usually limited to only one section of the hospital.

    Talk to the HR people of the hospitals in your area, and I am sure they can tell you jobs that have similar responsibilities with flexible schedules. Good Luck.
  7. lilycat

    lilycat Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Aug 12, 2000
    The phlebotomy and free clinic suggestions were wonderful. In addition, I would also suggest something like a Planned Parenthood clinic or a crisis pregnancy center. They are usually woefully understaffed, and you can be given a large amount of responsibility by the nurses and doctors, plus counsel patients on a number of sexual and reproductive health issues, including STD prevention and treatment.
  8. CoffeeCat

    CoffeeCat SDN Angel 10+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 2001
    Gotrob -

    I found a weekend phlebotomy course that I was considering taking but wasn't sure what the work would be like. From your description, I like what I hear! Thanks.
  9. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2001
    Houston, TX
    Thanks a lot for the suggestions. I'm going to look into phlebotomy and see if there is a local free clinic. I know the closest PP is about 20 miles away. I have no idea if there are local free clinics. The only ones I know about are associated with the med schools (which are about 30 miles away).

    I really appreciate the feedback. You all are great! :)

  10. Denilson

    Denilson Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    well any kind of personal experience with people counts...i worked with inner city elementary school kids for 3 years and related that to my desires to be a pediatrician or sub-specialty...i wrote on my essay that i felt that's what i needed to experience intead of hands on clinical stuff that i can learn later in med school...interpersonal skills in helping people in need..that's all!

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