Apr 28, 2012
16
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi everyone,

My freshman year, I worked as an EMT-B the entire year for about 12 hours/week. I volunteered in a hospital but that was for a research project and involved interacting with attendings/residents/nurses/etc more than with the patients. I've heard that some schools prefer that you get clinical experience in a hospital so you can see the doctor-patient relationship and experience the hospital setting... or something like that. So as of now, I feel as if I don't have any actual "clinical" experience. Does shadowing count as clinical experience? I've also heard that some schools consider shadowing to be too passive of an experience to be truly clinical.

So what IS clinical experience? I haven't shadowed a doctor yet and I was planning on shadowing an ER doctor because that's where my interests lie, but I'm a little concerned that when I apply to medical school (I'll be applying for entrance for Fall 2014, so not for a while now) my application will look weak in terms of clinical experience.

Thanks in advance for any advice/comments.
 

jokerman55

5+ Year Member
May 31, 2011
57
3
NYC
Status
Pre-Medical
EMT-B would fall under clinical experience. So would volunteering in any clinical setting, eg. Hospital.

Importantly, think of clinical experience as part of the "Why medicine?" question .. How have these experiences helped shape your decision to apply to med school.
 
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Aerus

Elemental Alchemist
7+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2012
3,226
2,435
Status
Medical Student
Shadowing doesn't count as clinical experience but is good to have.

Clinical experience is any experience where YOU are interacting with patients in a medical setting. It could be volunteering at a nursing home, hospital or VA, volunteering at an AIDS hospice, etc, but it has to be patient contact. If you're a hospital volunteer and you just answer phones or enter data, that isn't really clinical experience in my opinion. If you're a hospital volunteer and you transport patients around the hospital, I'd say that definitely counts. EMT-B certainly counts as clinical experience. If you have a year of that I'd say you're set. One thing you could do to supplement your app is get some non-medically related volunteering in. Like say 50-75 hours. That would definitely be an asset.
I've heard that Shadowing DOES count as clinical experience. I'm not saying you're wrong, but there has been talk of otherwise.
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
10+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2006
34,273
13,707
The Other Side of the Portal
Status
Attending Physician
My freshman year, I worked as an EMT-B the entire year for about 12 hours/week. I volunteered in a hospital but that was for a research project and involved interacting with attendings/residents/nurses/etc more than with the patients. I've heard that some schools prefer that you get clinical experience in a hospital so you can see the doctor-patient relationship and experience the hospital setting... or something like that. So as of now, I feel as if I don't have any actual "clinical" experience. Does shadowing count as clinical experience? I've also heard that some schools consider shadowing to be too passive of an experience to be truly clinical.

So what IS clinical experience? I haven't shadowed a doctor yet and I was planning on shadowing an ER doctor because that's where my interests lie, but I'm a little concerned that when I apply to medical school (I'll be applying for entrance for Fall 2014, so not for a while now) my application will look weak in terms of clinical experience.

Thanks in advance for any advice/comments.
If you were an EMT-B, you've gotten terrific clinical patient experience. If you interacted with medical staff in a hospital setting, you got terrific clinical environment experience, and some physician shadowing. One experience you haven't gained is observation of physician-patient interaction in a medical environment, and a lot of med schools will want you to have that also (besides which it will help you to answer a lot of common interview questions). In addition to shadowing the ER doc, try to find a primary care doc with an office practice whom you can observe as well. Other specialists might give additional insights into the realities of practicing medicine that would be beneficial.
 
Apr 28, 2012
16
0
Status
Pre-Medical
This is LizzyM's way of saying "See sig" :laugh:
Under that criterion, I'm definitely fine. :) I'll definitely pick up some shadowing because I really want to anyway and if I feel like it I might try to volunteer at a hospital. My only reservation with volunteering at hospitals is they usually don't let you do much (well, for obvious reasons) and I think I'd be pretty bored and wouldn't actually enjoy it (this comes from experience volunteering at a hospital when I was in high school). But I could certainly be wrong.

Catalystik, I was actually considering shadowing a PCP or other specialty, just because there is such a huge range in what a doctor actually does every day based upon their specialty and I think it's important to understand what my options will be before I apply to medical school. I am a bit crunched for time, since I plan on applying early in the cycle, so I'll submit my app in June 2013 (basically a year! yikes!) and I just received notice that I won this research internship grant for this summer, so I'll be busy with that and studying for the MCAT this summer. But I'll still have next school year to get as much shadowing in as possible.

And I do have other volunteering experience, Dan, I just didn't list it here. I tutor underprivileged kids at an after school program for about 3 hours/week and I've been doing that since freshman year, so I'll have over 200 hours of volunteering just from that.

Thanks for the replies!
 
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