Clinical Jobs, Bar Mitzvahs, and Why You Shouldn't Do It

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Planes2Doc

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As a current medical student, it pains me to see the effort that people put into the ECs arms race as pre-meds. People don't quite realize that once they start medical school, they will no longer have time to do the things they once enjoyed. One thing that a lot of pre-meds do is entry-level clinical jobs, which includes positions like: EMT, scribe, CNA, phlebotomist, ED tech, etc... While it is nice to be paid money, I don't think that pre-meds realize the big picture. I see threads pop up from time to time regarding entry-level clinical jobs, and wanted to give you my take on why I don't think that they are worth doing.

Reason #1: Raise your hand if...

In one of our first clinical medicine classes, the instructor asked all of the students who worked in clinical positions to raise your hands. As you might have guessed, a good number of people in the class raised their hands. He asked a few of them what they did, and as he went around the room, people were saying the exact positions that I mentioned above, and those that you see people doing all over SDN. Therefore, if you believe that working an entry-level clinical job is going to set you apart from the rest, then you're mistaken. If you think an ADCOM is going to say: "Oh my goodness! This person was an EMT!" Then you're probably once again wrong. ADCOMs see all of these entry-level clinical positions over and over again.

Therefore, if you're trying to make your application look great, then you'll most likely end up putting in far more effort than what you end up getting as a result. Since clinical jobs are so commonly done among pre-meds, you're not going to nail that "uniqueness" card. Sure you might have stories to put on your PS, but volunteering for 100+ hours in an ED can give you those very same things.

Reason #2: These skills will make me a better physician! Right?

In this very same class, the instructor asked two former EMTs to come down and take a student's blood pressure and respiration rate. They were able to do this, while the people who did not have clinical jobs as pre-meds had no idea what they were doing. But once we went into lab, every single person in class knew how to take blood pressure and take a person's respiration rate. Therefore, you will learn basic skills in an entry-level clinical job. But at the same time, you will learn everything from step one in medical school! Unlike PA schools which use a fast-track approach to learning, medical school starts you off at the very beginning. So ultimately, while the formerly employed students had certain skill sets that others lacked, the people who never had clinical work experience before quickly caught up within a class or two. Therefore, the people who had previous experience didn't have much of an advantage in the grand scheme of things.

Secondly, a lot of the things you learn at an entry-level clinical job are not the types of things that you would do on a day to day basis as a physician. You're just spending a lot of time learning things that will likely end up being irrelevant to what you're expected to do as a medical student and beyond. Of course you hear of scribes saying that they learn all of these great things on the job, but don't worry, you'll need to learn everything in great detail in medical school anyhow.

Trust me when I say that medical school will not leave anyone behind. Which leads me to my third point...

Reason #3: ADCOMs want you to know what the environment is like...

ADCOMs on this website have stated that they want you to know what you are getting yourself into, and don't necessarily expect you to learn a specific skill set. Think about it, if specific skills from jobs were necessary to be successful in medical school, then wouldn't they be required? Instead, we see that simply doing clinical volunteer work is enough to satisfy their requirement for clinical experience. Also, even if entry-level clinical jobs were truly a great help, then it would be heavily emphasized on this website. But we just see people saying that they found their experiences "rewarding," but did not correlate this with their success in medical school.

A good analogy is someone who aspires to become an airline pilot starts working as a baggage handler. Sure you can see the environment close-up, but that doesn't translate into anything directly useful.

Reason #4: Sure you get paid but it's a lot of work (and not much money).

I'm sure that a lot of people are happy to be paid. Who wouldn't want to get paid? Unfortunately, what a lot of people don't understand is that even though it's nice to be paid, you might end up sacrificing your grades and MCAT score, which you can't put a price on! If you made an extra $3,000 but suffered lower grades as a result (which prevented you from getting into medical school), then was it really worth working this job? The money you receive from this job, while nice to have, is chump change compared to your future earnings as a physician. You can make more money and work more flexible schedules with service industry jobs like waitressing, pizza delivery, etc. But ultimately, your grades and MCAT come first. If you end up screwing those up, then an entry-level clinical job that just about everyone and their mother does will not make up for your bad grades and or MCAT score.

So please don't be tempted by the money you'd receive. It might seem like a lot now, but it's not at all compared to your potential future earnings as a physician. It's also not worth sacrificing grades, your MCAT, or your free time as a result.

Reason #5: Jewish children are considered ADULTS at 13 years old.

According to Jewish law, Jewish children become adults when they are 13 years old. Boys have a special ceremony called a Bar Mitzvah, while girls have a special ceremony called a Bat Mitzvah.

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Now you might be asking me, "Planes2Doc, what does a Jewish ceremony have to do with entry-level clinical jobs?!" :confused: Well I'm glad you've asked, because this will explain the next part of my argument. You often see people saying how they were able to witness and do incredible things at their entry-level clinical jobs. I remember LizzyM posted a thread a while back talking about some of the "amazing" experiences that pre-meds had working entry-level clinical jobs. People are always using this as their best argument toward working entry-level clinical jobs.

I think it's great that people are able to experience these things. I am in no way trying to downplay them or say that they are meaningless, because that is far from it. But let's look at this from the perspective of Jewish children turning thirteen years old. Whether you're Jewish or not, I'm sure you probably have a good idea about what boys and girls do at that age. I remember when I was 13, I used to play video games, go outside, and do a lot of other fun things with my best friends. I don't exactly know what girls that age do, but if you're a girl, I'm sure you know. But one thing you don't see these thirteen year olds doing is working jobs. So even though they are considered adults according to Jewish law, shouldn't these kids be working jobs then? Even if you're Jewish, you have no expectation that these thirteen year olds should be working and getting significant work experience to put on their resume. Instead, what do we expect them to do? Well, if I were to see thirteen year olds, I would expect them to spend their time with friends, playing games, and doing other things that we expect people in that age group to do. Therefore, should we believe that they are missing out on those experiences that working adults do after they've started their careers after finishing college?

I view pre-meds the same exact way. Just as we expect thirteen year olds to do certain things, we also expect college undergraduates to do things to. I expect them to study, spend time with friends, and party. Isn't this what college is about? Every time I've visited friends on college campuses, people would be going to bars and partying it up on weekends. You don't see a large number of college students either working significant work hours at a job (typically) or ladling soup at a soup kitchen on weekends. Yet, pre-meds seem to take up a lot of work and ECs that other people wouldn't do.

Therefore, when someone says that you'll miss out on these "amazing" things by not working an entry-level clinical job, I can counter their argument by saying that as a future physician, YOU WILL HAVE THE REST OF YOUR LIFE TO DO THIS IN YOUR FUTURE. Sure you might see some amazing things, like life and death experiences or what not, but is this what you should really be spending all your time with at your age? Should college students really be working as an EMT, scribe, or CNA instead of partying and going out with friends? I don't see why anyone should be criticized for doing the latter. College students are expected to do these things, just like thirteen year olds even though Jewish children are considered "adults" at that age. Are thirteen year old Jewish people missing out on clinical experiences because they aren't working these jobs? Well, if that question sounds silly, then why does it sound fine asking if a college student should be doing all of those things? We shouldn't expect a college student to necessarily do all of these things so early on. There's a time and place for everything. Considering the sacrifices that they will make on becoming a physician, I'm sure that they will have many decades ahead to experience all of these things plus more.

In the meantime, why not let college students be college students, just like thirteen year olds are still thirteen years? There's plenty of time for all that serious stuff later. ;)

Reason #6: Clinical volunteering is the BEST thing you can ever do as a pre-med.

At this point you must be asking, "Seriously? Did Planes2Doc just say that clinical volunteering is a great thing? Has he lost his mind?!" :eek: Well, as I've said in other threads, I think that as far as mandatory ECs go, clinical volunteering is the absolute best since you can kill up to four birds with one stone, while only having a once per week commitment of a few hours compared to multiple shifts as an actual paid employee.

First of all, since ADCOMs want you to get accustomed to the clinical environment and not necessarily learn specific skills, you're doing just that as a clinical volunteer. Yet unlike entry-level clinical jobs, you're only expected to come in once a week for three or four hours at a time. This will provide you with enough free time to study for classes, study for the MCAT, and have more free time do things you're seriously passionate about. It kind of sucks to do unpaid labor, but you usually need to pay for conveniences in life and clinical volunteering is no exception. I would much rather have the free time to do the things I need to do without getting paid, versus getting pocket change and having to make numerous sacrifices.

Secondly, if you're not really the volunteering type, then clinical volunteering will also fulfill the unwritten "altruism" requirement that ADCOMs expect you to do. This is what LizzyM and other people refer to as killing two birds with one stone, where you can check off the box for clinical experience plus volunteering. It seems that the volunteer experiences that are worth doing are usually sporadic, and therefore you can piggyback them on the clinical volunteering. This is what I did, since I actually loved my non-clinical volunteer work. But I didn't want to come off as a selfish bastard by only volunteering once every few months, so the clinical volunteering was helpful. :rolleyes:

Thirdly, if you're simply going through the motions and checking off the box for the sake of medical school admissions, then you can still be productive while volunteering at a "crappy" place. Unlike at a paid job, you can probably spend the your time studying material or doing personal things. A lot of hospital volunteers end up doing this because there usually isn't much to do, and they are ignored by staff. Since you're ultimately there to have a verifiable experience for ADCOMs, it doesn't really matter what you do, as long as you can verify what you did.

Remember, hospital volunteering is like Vegas, minus 99% of the fun. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, same with hospital volunteering.

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Doing homework, studying for the MCAT, or just surfing Facebook would typically not fly at a clinical job. But it's usually a given for countless pre-med volunteers across this great country of ours.

Lastly, if you get to know physicians at your volunteer site, you can probably end up shadowing them during your volunteer shift. Therefore, if you have no moral objections, you can technically stack your shadowing hours on top of those volunteer hours. So you get yet another bonus. Once again, shadowing would likely not fly at a clinical job. I believe that with scribing you can get away without shadowing, but once again, you are working many hours per week over numerous shifts which I have mentioned before.

With all of these contentions, you can see that clinical volunteering is definitely the way to go as a pre-med. Sure it sucks to not be paid, but you only show up once a week for a few hours, and can probably do your own thing as well since ADCOMs will not end up verifying your actual performance at the volunteer site.

I would also like to mention that if you work a clinical job, you still need to volunteer in order to fulfill that unwritten requirement. This means working yet more hours on top of the numerous you would already work at your clinical job. It can be difficult to juggle so many things as a pre-med!

Final Thoughts

I hope this has showed you some reasons as to why you shouldn't work an entry-level clinical job. As a pre-med, you're already expected to do so much. Is it really worth doing an entry-level clinical job? As you can see, it won't set you apart from the rest since ADCOMs see so many pre-meds doing this. The money you receive is pocket change compared to future earnings. The numerous shifts and hours you work per week might end up hurting your grades, MCAT, or simply bite into that last bit of free time that you have left until you start medical school.

Finally, you always hear about people saying how they experienced all of these amazing things at their entry-level clinical jobs. It's great and all, but there's time for that. As a physician, you'll have an entire lifetime to experience these things and so much more. As a college student, shouldn't you spend the best years of your life with friends and doing the things college students are usually passionate about? Of course. We should expect college kids to be college kids, the same way we expect Jewish 13 year olds to be like 13 year olds.

You only live once, and college should be the best time of your life. It shouldn't be about getting ahead of yourself and missing out on things, because you'll have plenty of time to do all that later. Just do what you need to do. Get good grades, have fun, and good luck! :luck:

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Eh, I wouldn't give up my 6 years as an ED tech for anything. It isn't the procedural skills that you gain from the job that is important, it's the experience working on an interprofessional health care team, the comfort you have dealing with patients, the necessity of working under stress, multitasking, resourcefulness, and a ton of other things. These can't be taught rapidly in a lab or lecture. I'll also add that almost every physician I've ever met has held an opposite view of what you've just said regarding clinical employment.

You're absolutely right that clinical employment can make extracurriculars more difficult. My application lacks ECs primarily because my job was so demanding, and I needed to work lots of hours to support myself. So that is a very solid point of consideration for those early in the process. On the other hand, I still managed to backpack half the globe, and socialize plenty (or way too much, whatevs).
 
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Bookmarking to read later, always love your threads p2d

Also want to agree with this:

You're absolutely right that clinical employment can make extracurriculars more difficult. My application lacks ECs primarily because my job was so demanding, and I needed to work lots of hours to support myself. So that is a very solid point of consideration for those early in the process. On the other hand, I still managed to backpack half the globe, and socialize plenty (or way too much, whatevs).

I am a reapp and one of the schools that rejected me last year said I lacked enough volunteering (I had ~200 hours on my app of clinical volunteering). I told her I work full-time and essentially all volunteering gigs are during work hours. She said that is not an excuse, and non-trads are expected to do all the necessary volunteering of college-age students who have 90% of the day available for themselves. Not cool :-/
 
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Well reasoned and explained. A minor objection: according to the blog post you link to in your signature, aren't clinical volunteers the reason the system is broken?
 
Nice post!

Planes or anyone, what are your views on working as a health educator for AltaMed Americorps. I will be working in an underserved community, I'm basically volunteering since I'm only getting paid 10,000 a year.

I'm not doing it to improve my application since I have enough clinical experience, but because I actually enjoy doing this.
 
P2D, I usually agree with your POV, but we just don't see eye-to-eye here. I think clinical jobs are one of the best things you can do with your time as a pre-med if you want to gain clinical experience to put on your applications and YOU NEED TO HAVE A JOB ANYWAY. Yes. This may come as a surprise to some, but some college students need to work. Full time. For peanuts. To pay bills, and eat and all that other crap. If you need to put 36-40 hours a week into a job anyway, why not do something that will at least fulfill part of that "clinical experience" part of the app? That's killing two birds with one stone, IMO.

It isn't the procedural skills that you gain from the job that is important, it's the experience working on an interprofessional health care team, the comfort you have dealing with patients, the necessity of working under stress, multitasking, resourcefulness, and a ton of other things. These can't be taught rapidly in a lab or lecture.

This. I work as a CNA on a busy med-surg floor of a hospital, and while I haven't learned many technical skills that will be useful to me as a doctor, I feel like when I walk into my first day of clinicals, I will be comfortable talking to patients and addressing their concerns because it's what I used to do everyday. You're absolutely right that everyone will learn everything they need to know to practice medicine in medical school, but learning to be comfortable in a hospital setting takes time, and in that sense I feel like those who have substantial experience working in that setting already will be at an advantage, at least come third year.
 
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I don't agree with your post 100%.

While everyone can learn how to take a blood pressure in the lab, those who worked in patient care probably picked up hospital terminology and an understanding of how the hospital works.

There is a nurse in our class which surpassed many of us during the 3rd year (1st clinical year) of med school because she had experience. Her book knowledge was equal to most of us...but so much of patient care is learned by just being around it. Starting third year I had no idea for example the process by which a patient gets admitted. Granted you learn fast but I could have been learning more in-depth clinical management stuff with the same time.

I am not saying being a CNA is equivalent to a nurse but it certainly will not hurt.

Also FYI pre-meds: don't feel like you have to work a entry level job to make it into med school (I didn't and have done fine). However, don't count the experience as useless either.

It's hard to know what is useful as a M1 or M2 (which I am guessing the OP is).
 
You only live once, and college should be the best time of your life. It shouldn't be about getting ahead of yourself and missing out on things, because you'll have plenty of time to do all that later. Just do what you need to do. Get good grades, have fun, and good luck! :luck:

I really appreciate the time and thoughtfulness you put into this post. Thank you. I hope man pre-meds get a chance to read through everything you have written because there are good lessons in there that students can learn from.

I do wish, however, that you spent a little more time speaking to the rapidly growing audience of older students. We know, for example, that fewer and fewer students are applying to medical school at the end of their junior years. This means that more and more students are making these decisions from a very different mindset. Grades and MCATs are not the priority - making ends meet, paying off undergraduate loans, staying healthy, staying happy, standing on our own two feet are priorities. I fully support you when you say "just do what you need to do" but I think that getting good grades and having fun are very far from the only (or main) concerns.

I like to think that this is exactly the reason that schools are moving towards an increasingly holistic application review process.
 
P2D, I usually agree with your POV, but we just don't see eye-to-eye here. I think clinical jobs are one of the best things you can do with your time as a pre-med if you want to gain clinical experience to put on your applications and YOU NEED TO HAVE A JOB ANYWAY. Yes. This may come as a surprise to some, but some college students need to work. Full time. For peanuts. To pay bills, and eat and all that other crap. If you need to put 36-40 hours a week into a job anyway, why not do something that will at least fulfill part of that "clinical experience" part of the app? That's killing two birds with one stone, IMO.

:thumbup:
 
Eh, I wouldn't give up my 6 years as an ED tech for anything. It isn't the procedural skills that you gain from the job that is important, it's the experience working on an interprofessional health care team, the comfort you have dealing with patients, the necessity of working under stress, multitasking, resourcefulness, and a ton of other things. These can't be taught rapidly in a lab or lecture. I'll also add that almost every physician I've ever met has held an opposite view of what you've just said regarding clinical employment.

You're absolutely right that clinical employment can make extracurriculars more difficult. My application lacks ECs primarily because my job was so demanding, and I needed to work lots of hours to support myself. So that is a very solid point of consideration for those early in the process. On the other hand, I still managed to backpack half the globe, and socialize plenty (or way too much, whatevs).

It's good that you feel like you've gotten a lot from your tech experience. Hopefully it can help you down the road. I'm just saying that medical schools will give a solid foundation to everyone.

I haven't spoken to many doctors in the field regarding clinical employment. However, I have a very difficult time telling the difference now as an M2 between classmates with previous clinical work experience versus those that had none. I think the medical school does a great job of starting people off from step one.

Bookmarking to read later, always love your threads p2d

I am a reapp and one of the schools that rejected me last year said I lacked enough volunteering (I had ~200 hours on my app of clinical volunteering). I told her I work full-time and essentially all volunteering gigs are during work hours. She said that is not an excuse, and non-trads are expected to do all the necessary volunteering of college-age students who have 90% of the day available for themselves. Not cool :-/

Thanks! :) Yeah it can be tough to get every box checked off to the likings of ADCOMs. Unless you're seriously disadvantaged and forced to provide for you and your family, then ADCOMs won't excuse a lack of ECs.

Well reasoned and explained. A minor objection: according to the blog post you link to in your signature, aren't clinical volunteers the reason the system is broken?

I hope that I don't sound like a hypocrite. But you do need clinical experience to medical school. There are no ifs and or buts about it. I think that the volunteer commitment is far more reasonable than working a part-time job. It's much easier on you than working a legitimate job. I'm not saying that it's great or what not, because a good number of clinical volunteer positions suck, but it's the best thing you can do in terms of checking boxes on your application and living your life to the fullest.

I don't encourage pre-meds to fabricate their experiences in any way. This is wrong, and can cost you the rest of your life. That's why when you gotta check the box, just do the thing that will be the most flexible and best use of your time. :thumbup:

P2D, I usually agree with your POV, but we just don't see eye-to-eye here. I think clinical jobs are one of the best things you can do with your time as a pre-med if you want to gain clinical experience to put on your applications and YOU NEED TO HAVE A JOB ANYWAY. Yes. This may come as a surprise to some, but some college students need to work. Full time. For peanuts. To pay bills, and eat and all that other crap. If you need to put 36-40 hours a week into a job anyway, why not do something that will at least fulfill part of that "clinical experience" part of the app? That's killing two birds with one stone, IMO.

The majority of people I went to college with did not have to work full-time jobs. I'm not sure if this depends on the school or what not, but I'm sure it's different for everyone. I totally agree with you that people who have to work full-time jobs should definitely kill two birds with one stone and pick up clinical work. In fact, since a lot of clinical jobs don't have to be 9 to 5, it might be better than some traditional jobs. But overall, whether they are clinical or not, a lot of college students aren't working full-time or even part-time in college.

This. I work as a CNA on a busy med-surg floor of a hospital, and while I haven't learned many technical skills that will be useful to me as a doctor, I feel like when I walk into my first day of clinicals, I will be comfortable talking to patients and addressing their concerns because it's what I used to do everyday. You're absolutely right that everyone will learn everything they need to know to practice medicine in medical school, but learning to be comfortable in a hospital setting takes time, and in that sense I feel like those who have substantial experience working in that setting already will be at an advantage, at least come third year.

Once again, it's good that you've become accustomed to the environment. Of course it's going to benefit people, not hurt them. But I don't think that someone who only volunteered in a hospital will be disadvantaged once they start M3.

I don't agree with your post 100%.

While everyone can learn how to take a blood pressure in the lab, those who worked in patient care probably picked up hospital terminology and an understanding of how the hospital works.

There is a nurse in our class which surpassed many of us during the 3rd year (1st clinical year) of med school because she had experience. Her book knowledge was equal to most of us...but so much of patient care is learned by just being around it. Starting third year I had no idea for example the process by which a patient gets admitted. Granted you learn fast but I could have been learning more in-depth clinical management stuff with the same time.

I am not saying being a CNA is equivalent to a nurse but it certainly will not hurt.

Also FYI pre-meds: don't feel like you have to work a entry level job to make it into med school (I didn't and have done fine). However, don't count the experience as useless either.

It's hard to know what is useful as a M1 or M2 (which I am guessing the OP is).

A nurse going to medical school is considered a career-changer. While you see hordes of pre-meds working as EMTs, techs, CNAs, phlebotomists, or scribes. You don't see all too many who worked as PAs or nurses. Yes, of course you'll get far more clinical experience as the latter two. But those are career-tracks. If going to PA school or nursing school was beneficial as an EC, everyone would be doing it, especially nursing since you can get a bachelors degree in it. But these people are career changers, and from the sound of it on non-traditional threads, they face an uphill battle.

I really appreciate the time and thoughtfulness you put into this post. Thank you. I hope man pre-meds get a chance to read through everything you have written because there are good lessons in there that students can learn from.

I do wish, however, that you spent a little more time speaking to the rapidly growing audience of older students. We know, for example, that fewer and fewer students are applying to medical school at the end of their junior years. This means that more and more students are making these decisions from a very different mindset. Grades and MCATs are not the priority - making ends meet, paying off undergraduate loans, staying healthy, staying happy, standing on our own two feet are priorities. I fully support you when you say "just do what you need to do" but I think that getting good grades and having fun are very far from the only (or main) concerns.

I like to think that this is exactly the reason that schools are moving towards an increasingly holistic application review process.

Thanks! Also don't confuse a career-changer with someone who took a year off to boost their ECs. There are people who completely changed what they wanted to do in life, and decided to become doctors. I was part of this group, as I previously worked in the airline industry which you can guess by my handle. :naughty: Also notice the use of the word "career." Even though people who did not finish or go to college at all would consider things like medical assisting, CNA positions, and similar things "careers," your typical pre-med would not.
 
Another reason I think it's important for college students work in entry-level jobs is because it's humbling. We spend alot of our undergraduate career thinking we're hot **** because we are premed, but in the real world nobody really cares.
 
Another reason I think it's important for college students work in entry-level jobs is because it's humbling. We spend alot of our undergraduate career thinking we're hot **** because we are premed, but in the real world nobody really cares.

:laugh: I agree! We aren't hot **** and the majority of people don't care.

I worked as a pizza delivery guy. I worked once or twice a week maximum, and made $60+ a night for 4-5 hours of work. It barely conflicted with school. Any tech position in my area would have required numerous shifts, which means less flexibility. Both jobs would allow you to check the box and put them on your AMCAS as well.
 
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Nice post!

Planes or anyone, what are your views on working as a health educator for AltaMed Americorps. I will be working in an underserved community, I'm basically volunteering since I'm only getting paid 10,000 a year.

I'm not doing it to improve my application since I have enough clinical experience, but because I actually enjoy doing this.

This kind of stuff is pretty nice. Things like Americorps will give you a stipend that will come out to making more than minimum wage, yet count as volunteering! I think Utah is the only school that makes distinction between these types of gigs and actual volunteer work.

I know someone who did Americorps and it helped him tremendously. If you have the time and really want to do it, then you should do it.
 
Bookmarking to read later, always love your threads p2d

Also want to agree with this:



I am a reapp and one of the schools that rejected me last year said I lacked enough volunteering (I had ~200 hours on my app of clinical volunteering). I told her I work full-time and essentially all volunteering gigs are during work hours. She said that is not an excuse, and non-trads are expected to do all the necessary volunteering of college-age students who have 90% of the day available for themselves. Not cool :-/

Sounds like a school that might not be very supportive of non-trads if they lack the understanding of the additional outside demands that many non-trads have. Sorry you had an unsuccessful cycle, but sounds like you dodged a bullet with that school. 200 hours of clinical volunteering is great.
 
As a pre-med turned to the dark side (vet) I worked as a cardiac tech for all of college because I liked eating and living indoors and paying tuition. Not everyone is so lucky to have mommy and daddy picking up the tab.

Halfway through fourth year, I would still say that I'm better at both cardio and at talking to clients than the vast majority of my class. I'm willing to bet that the EMTs in your class still perform better in a crisis and still communicate better with patients than most of your other classmates.
 
:laugh: I agree! We aren't hot **** and the majority of people don't care.

I worked as a pizza delivery guy. I worked once or twice a week maximum, and made $60+ a night for 4-5 hours of work. It barely conflicted with school. Any tech position in my area would have required numerous shifts, which means less flexibility. Both jobs would allow you to check the box and put them on your AMCAS as well.

I understand what you're saying, but I actually love my tech job! It's overnight, 3 12-hour shifts a week, and I get alot of free time to study. My understanding is that EMT jobs can have alot of down-time as well, so I can see the appeal. I didn't mean to come off rude, I guess I just feel pretty strongly about this issue. Even if I can pay their way, my kids will be required to have jobs while they are in college. I don't think you can possibly be prepared for the real world if you've never held a job. How do you learn balance and prioritization? IMO, high school is the time to have fun and be young a free. College should be about preparing for the real world and a career.
 
Eh, nevermind. You already responded to a similar post.
 
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I understand what you're saying, but I actually love my tech job! It's overnight, 3 12-hour shifts a week, and I get alot of free time to study. My understanding is that EMT jobs can have alot of down-time as well, so I can see the appeal. I didn't mean to come off rude, I guess I just feel pretty strongly about this issue. Even if I can pay their way, my kids will be required to have jobs while they are in college. I don't think you can possibly be prepared for the real world if you've never held a job. How do you learn balance and prioritization? IMO, high school is the time to have fun and be young a free. College should be about preparing for the real world and a career.

I didn't think you came off as rude. I understand where you're coming from. :)

I agree that jobs help give you experience for the real world. But as someone who went down the business path, I saw that a majority of business students had an internship during the summer between junior and senior year. This was their work experience, and anything else on their resume was either fluff or a bonus. The people that managed to get consulting positions of course did their internships, but spent their time doing schoolwork and personal things during the actual school year.

The other people that held jobs throughout school were usually working in the service industry where minimal commitment is required.
 
You only live once, and college should be the best time of your life. It shouldn't be about getting ahead of yourself and missing out on things, because you'll have plenty of time to do all that later. Just do what you need to do. Get good grades, have fun, and good luck! :luck:

I liked your post until you said that... :smack: then I lost all respect for what you were saying.

On a serious note, good advice. Of course there will be people who agree, disagree, and somewhere in between. At my school, the premed counselors insisted that we look into scribing because it is such a great opportunity blah blah and also everyone that scribes has tried to convince me to do it because "it is a wonderful experience." But I didn't want to let my grades fall just so I could scribe (also a varsity athlete, so little free time). One of my friends did experience a drop in grades because of scribing, and hopefully it doesn't come back to bite her in the butt.
Basically I didn't think that it was as important and as wonderful as my premed counselors made it seem, and you confirmed that. Thank you.
 
I understand what you're saying about pre-meds killing themselves for their applications, but I think that this problem stems from the insanely low acceptance rates for med schools compared to business and law schools. Unless more spots open up or fewer students vie for them, pre-meds are going to spend their college years frantically filling up their resumes in hope that they can outshine the competition. Just as an example: UCLA's business school has an acceptance rate of over 22% while its med school has an acceptance rate of 4.5%. These ridiculously low admission rates have turned the med school application process into a resume arms race among pre-meds, unfortunately.

For most other professions, getting into a top school is difficult, but getting into a school is a given. When I was applying to law school, I was worried about getting into my top choice, but it never even occurred to me that I might not be accepted at all. I'm a more competitive applicant now for med school than I was then for law school, and I'm a ball of anxiety!

The way I see it, the only way to fix this is to open more schools, increase med school class sizes, and/or do more to weed out pre-meds from applying at all. Med schools could change the process, but why would they want to?
 
I liked your post until you said that... :smack: then I lost all respect for what you were saying.

On a serious note, good advice. Of course there will be people who agree, disagree, and somewhere in between. At my school, the premed counselors insisted that we look into scribing because it is such a great opportunity blah blah and also everyone that scribes has tried to convince me to do it because "it is a wonderful experience." But I didn't want to let my grades fall just so I could scribe (also a varsity athlete, so little free time). One of my friends did experience a drop in grades because of scribing, and hopefully it doesn't come back to bite her in the butt.
Basically I didn't think that it was as important and as wonderful as my premed counselors made it seem, and you confirmed that. Thank you.

Oh boy... I didn't even realize what I was saying! :eek: Whoops!

The experience of scribing can help you, but at the same time, if your grades fall, it will hurt you big time. Since so many people are already doing scribing, it's definitely not going to score you uniqueness points with ADCOMs. I don't think that the tradeoff is worth it like people make it out to be.

I'm glad that you're doing what you need to do, and varsity athletics sounds pretty good. It's probably not as common as the "typical" pre-med activities. ;)
 
I understand what you're saying about pre-meds killing themselves for their applications, but I think that this problem stems from the insanely low acceptance rates for med schools compared to business and law schools. Unless more spots open up or fewer students vie for them, pre-meds are going to spend their college years frantically filling up their resumes in hope that they can outshine the competition. Just as an example: UCLA's business school has an acceptance rate of over 22% while its med school has an acceptance rate of 4.5%. These ridiculously low admission rates have turned the med school application process into a resume arms race among pre-meds, unfortunately.

For most other professions, getting into a top school is difficult, but getting into a school is a given. When I was applying to law school, I was worried about getting into my top choice, but it never even occurred to me that I might not be accepted at all. I'm a more competitive applicant now for med school than I was then for law school, and I'm a ball of anxiety!

The way I see it, the only way to fix this is to open more schools, increase med school class sizes, and/or do more to weed out pre-meds from applying at all. Med schools could change the process, but why would they want to?

Medical schools are unique where you can go to any US MD or DO school, and come out as a practicing physician. You will do well no matter what, even if you end up doing primary care in a rural area. On the other hand, if you go to a low-tier business or law school, good luck finding a job or making the investment worth it. There are law students who graduate from third and fourth tier law schools, and can't find any work (or just become underemployed).

I think that the ECs plus other factors such as the 2015 MCAT and potentially lower salaries will cause the medical student bubble to burst. Pre-meds are great at putting on the Greatest Show on Earth, not to be confused with the Ringling Brothers Circus. But since it's only a facade, things will surely change if the application process and career prospects post-medical school become bad. This can't go on forever, can it?

over_the_top_001.jpg
 
Medical schools are unique where you can go to any US MD or DO school, and come out as a practicing physician. You will do well no matter what, even if you end up doing primary care in a rural area. On the other hand, if you go to a low-tier business or law school, good luck finding a job or making the investment worth it. There are law students who graduate from third and fourth tier law schools, and can't find any work (or just become underemployed).

I think that the ECs plus other factors such as the 2015 MCAT and potentially lower salaries will cause the medical student bubble to burst. Pre-meds are great at putting on the Greatest Show on Earth, not to be confused with the Ringling Brothers Circus. But since it's only a facade, things will surely change if the application process and career prospects post-medical school become bad. This can't go on forever, can it?

over_the_top_001.jpg

Oh, absolutely! I was just coming back to add that the legal profession should take a page out of medicine's book, as it has stupidly flooded the market with lawyers who now struggle to find decent work. I went to a top tier law school, and I still have many classmates who are underemployed (and we graduated 2 years ago).

My point was just that it's all supply and demand. There are too many pre-meds and not enough spots. There's nothing pre-meds individually will do about it because we'll all do whatever we can to get in, collective action be damned.

Lower physician salaries would probably help by decreasing the total number of pre-meds. I wouldn't mind seeing that, actually. The number of people on this forum who are only interested in making money is disappointing, particularly considering the number of qualified people who are actually interested in the work and fail to get accepted.
 
Another reason I think it's important for college students work in entry-level jobs is because it's humbling. We spend alot of our undergraduate career thinking we're hot **** because we are premed, but in the real world nobody really cares.

True. The vast majority of college kids don't spend 1 second working a job, which makes sense(scholarships + getting parent money = not needing to work). When they hit the real world, they get surprised when you have to *gasp* show up on time, and you can't ask your boss to have a few days off because you feel like it :p
 
My two cents:

There are superstars who are able to work, do research, volunteer and graduate with a 3.9 from a highly regarded school and score >34 on the MCAT. When it comes to selecting the 15% of our applicant pool who will get interviews at a top tier, research focused medical school, those are the applicants we are selecting.


Research: check; publication and/or presentation: check check
LOR from PI: check
volunteering: check (some adcom members are looking for non-clinical volunteer work as indicative of a true service mentality and none of this "two birds" stuff, others are more lenient)
clinical exposure: check. employed in a clinical setting: check check
Campus activities: check Leadership roles in those activities check check

So, while you are entitled to your opinions, OP, they aren't going to produce the Best Odds of getting an Interview Invite. (Apologies to What To Expect When You Are Expecting for borrowing the phrase "Best Odds".)
 
My two cents:

There are superstars who are able to work, do research, volunteer and graduate with a 3.9 from a highly regarded school and score >34 on the MCAT. When it comes to selecting the 15% of our applicant pool who will get interviews at a top tier, research focused medical school, those are the applicants we are selecting.


Research: check; publication and/or presentation: check check
LOR from PI: check
volunteering: check (some adcom members are looking for non-clinical volunteer work as indicative of a true service mentality and none of this "two birds" stuff, others are more lenient)
clinical exposure: check. employed in a clinical setting: check check
Campus activities: check Leadership roles in those activities check check

So, while you are entitled to your opinions, OP, they aren't going to produce the Best Odds of getting an Interview Invite. (Apologies to What To Expect When You Are Expecting for borrowing the phrase "Best Odds".)

I've met my share of superstars who I knew back from high school. These people are more than deserving of the seats at the nation's most prestigious universities. There is no doubt about that.

But for the people who can't juggle all of these things and maintain excellent stats, they need to make the sacrifice somewhere (via omission). It's far easier to not do the training and work the numerous shifts of an entry-level clinical job versus leaving out clinical volunteering which is pretty much expected.

Getting into medical school is a rigorous process, but you'll still have people on both ends of the spectrum. The students at HMS are there for a reason.
 
Eh, I wouldn't give up my 6 years as an ED tech for anything. It isn't the procedural skills that you gain from the job that is important, it's the experience working on an interprofessional health care team, the comfort you have dealing with patients, the necessity of working under stress, multitasking, resourcefulness, and a ton of other things. These can't be taught rapidly in a lab or lecture.

OP, I'm going to disagree with you primarily for the reasons Pose posted.

I think having some sort of work experience is great for pre-meds. Most have never had to really work in the real world, so going into third year can be difficult for a lot of them. Furthermore, having a job in the medical system can get you at least somewhat familiar with how things run and make the transition to third year easier. I do think that most people catch up eventually, but when you're trying to drink from the fire hose of information, every little bit helps. This also feeds towards the humbling of med students. I worked as one of the lowest people on the totem pole, so I am much more conscious of my actions than someone who has only worked from the physician's side of things. I also recognize things that impact patient care that physicians typically don't think about because it's just another order in the computer, things like the patient having to get stuck again for another lab order, or having to get another IV, etc.

I'll also disagree that med school adequately trains you in all the skills you may one day find useful. I can count on one hand the number of times we've 'practiced' drawing blood. Yet when I was in clinic one day, the nurse had gone home already and no one was comfortable drawing blood. I saved the patient from having to come back to the hospital the following day. Twice up in the PICU, the nurses were having difficulty getting blood from really sick patients, and I managed to find a viable vein in both of them. Very few of my classmates would have been able to do that (those that would have been also had clinical jobs before med school).

I don't think clinical work experience is for everyone, and it shouldn't be a requirement on the app, but I don't think you should be actively discouraging it either, because it is a really great experience that really can't be rivaled.

I am a reapp and one of the schools that rejected me last year said I lacked enough volunteering (I had ~200 hours on my app of clinical volunteering). I told her I work full-time and essentially all volunteering gigs are during work hours. She said that is not an excuse, and non-trads are expected to do all the necessary volunteering of college-age students who have 90% of the day available for themselves. Not cool :-/

That school doesn't sound like one I'd want to be at. 200 hours is a lot of volunteering, and if that wasn't enough for them, then I can't imagine what would be.
 
You only live once, and college should be the best time of your life. It shouldn't be about getting ahead of yourself and missing out on things, because you'll have plenty of time to do all that later. Just do what you need to do. Get good grades, have fun, and good luck! :luck:

:thumbup:
 
I thought about this post while at work today (I'm a scribe), and there are some things that I want to mention. Working a clinical job isn't all about "looking good for adcoms". I think that it offers a LOT of benefits, many of which have been overlooked in this thread thus far. Here are three that immediately come to mind.

1) Maturity. I'm only 20 and a junior in college, yet I feel that my work experience has made me a much more mature and open-minded person. I see death, dying, illness, grief, despair, agony, and hope during every single one of my shifts, over and over again. I have gained perspective on human character itself due to seeing raw emotion firsthand. I've seen adults whose lives have been ruined by drugs and alcohol and cigarettes, children who are growing up in difficult and abusive and neglectful households, teenagers who feel like their lives aren't worth living, and many other heartwrenching experiences. This has humbled me greatly. Sure, I have the chance to be humbled and get my life changed due to witnessing these things in medical school and residency, but I think it's important to see these things now. I'm young, and I think that it's important that I enter the medical profession with this perspective already primed and intact. I don't want to stumble across maturity sometime later down the line.

2) Confidence in my decision to pursue medicine. Too many posters in the allopathic forums make topics bemoaning the fact that they are miserable and hate medicine and never want to become practitioners. Maybe they could have avoided making this expensive decision that cost them several years of their lives if they had pursued more medical exposure prior to applying to schools in the first place. I feel that my exposure to medicine and healthcare professionals has abolished any fantasy views of the medical world, and replaced it with a realistic look at what practice might actually look like for me. I am still confident in my decision to become a physician, but I could have easily decided that medicine wasn't for me -- turnarounds like this have happened before for entry-level clinical workers such as myself. Thank goodness for that, too, because spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and hours upon hours only to wind up having to either start over or be miserable.. That sounds like a terrible mistake to avoid at all costs.

3) Non-tangible skills that improve me as a student and person. I have become much more detail oriented, organized, able to multi-task, and better at listening since I started scribing. These are qualities that help me manage my schoolwork more effectively, and allow me to interact more richly with my friends and family. I'm glad that I got these skills now, because I am able to utilize them in my current everyday life. They have made me a better student, certainly, which I think has improved my work ethic and might positively benefit my academic record.

There are many more reasons than this, but I thought I'd just throw these ones out there. It's not all about making an impression for applying to medical school -- there are plenty of other good reasons to work in a medical setting before med school, and I think that it's rather shortsighted to make any broad proclamations otherwise. I'm happy with my decision to scribe, and it's worth noting that it has not affected my GPA at all. I know that it doesn't work that way for everyone, but I just wanted to prove that it's not an absolute that having a large time commitment such as this will hurt your academic performance.

Thanks for your thoughtful post P2D. I hope that my respectful disagreement is considered fairly, and not viewed as an attack or an offense against you. I just wanted to offer another perspective, as I feel that these are important points to consider.
 
I think that the ECs plus other factors such as the 2015 MCAT and potentially lower salaries will cause the medical student bubble to burst. Pre-meds are great at putting on the Greatest Show on Earth, not to be confused with the Ringling Brothers Circus. But since it's only a facade, things will surely change if the application process and career prospects post-medical school become bad. This can't go on forever, can it?

The competition is only going to get more fierce because medicine is one of the few remaining professions where you are guaranteed a great salary if you go to medical school.

Secondly, no one knows the future of reimbursements, but various surveys show that physician income, in general, is either holding steady or rising slowly. There are exceptions of course, but even the lowest payest field in medicine will earn you 3x the median income in the US.
 
I thought about this post while at work today (I'm a scribe), and there are some things that I want to mention. Working a clinical job isn't all about "looking good for adcoms". I think that it offers a LOT of benefits, many of which have been overlooked in this thread thus far. Here are three that immediately come to mind.

1) Maturity. I'm only 20 and a junior in college, yet I feel that my work experience has made me a much more mature and open-minded person. I see death, dying, illness, grief, despair, agony, and hope during every single one of my shifts, over and over again. I have gained perspective on human character itself due to seeing raw emotion firsthand. I've seen adults whose lives have been ruined by drugs and alcohol and cigarettes, children who are growing up in difficult and abusive and neglectful households, teenagers who feel like their lives aren't worth living, and many other heartwrenching experiences. This has humbled me greatly. Sure, I have the chance to be humbled and get my life changed due to witnessing these things in medical school and residency, but I think it's important to see these things now. I'm young, and I think that it's important that I enter the medical profession with this perspective already primed and intact. I don't want to stumble across maturity sometime later down the line.

2) Confidence in my decision to pursue medicine. Too many posters in the allopathic forums make topics bemoaning the fact that they are miserable and hate medicine and never want to become practitioners. Maybe they could have avoided making this expensive decision that cost them several years of their lives if they had pursued more medical exposure prior to applying to schools in the first place. I feel that my exposure to medicine and healthcare professionals has abolished any fantasy views of the medical world, and replaced it with a realistic look at what practice might actually look like for me. I am still confident in my decision to become a physician, but I could have easily decided that medicine wasn't for me -- turnarounds like this have happened before for entry-level clinical workers such as myself. Thank goodness for that, too, because spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and hours upon hours only to wind up having to either start over or be miserable.. That sounds like a terrible mistake to avoid at all costs.

3) Non-tangible skills that improve me as a student and person. I have become much more detail oriented, organized, able to multi-task, and better at listening since I started scribing. These are qualities that help me manage my schoolwork more effectively, and allow me to interact more richly with my friends and family. I'm glad that I got these skills now, because I am able to utilize them in my current everyday life. They have made me a better student, certainly, which I think has improved my work ethic and might positively benefit my academic record.

There are many more reasons than this, but I thought I'd just throw these ones out there. It's not all about making an impression for applying to medical school -- there are plenty of other good reasons to work in a medical setting before med school, and I think that it's rather shortsighted to make any broad proclamations otherwise. I'm happy with my decision to scribe, and it's worth noting that it has not affected my GPA at all. I know that it doesn't work that way for everyone, but I just wanted to prove that it's not an absolute that having a large time commitment such as this will hurt your academic performance.

Thanks for your thoughtful post P2D. I hope that my respectful disagreement is considered fairly, and not viewed as an attack or an offense against you. I just wanted to offer another perspective, as I feel that these are important points to consider.

Excellent post:thumbup:
 
I have a counterargument for the points you made concerning clinical entry level jobs. You said not to do these because they do not make you stand out and do not present you as a "unique" applicant. This would seem true as I have seen several SDN posts where posters have had these jobs. However, the same theory can be applied to all of the other requirements for med school admission - everyone will have hundreds of hours of volunteering, everyone will have hundreds of hours of shadowing, and many applicants will have impressive research experience. So, does that mean we shouldn't do any of these things? That's an exaggeration but I'm criticizing the logic behind your argument. We have to volunteer and shadow because they are required and paid clinical work experience is not. Research is not an explicit requirement for every school, yet so many people are pushing the idea because it apparently makes you competitive, but *so* many other applicants are doing the same thing. You also said that you can get the same experiences from these clinical jobs through shadowing and volunteering. How do you know that for sure? Based on my experiences I doubt you will get the same type of patient contact and medical field experience through shadowing and volunteering as opposed to an entry level clinical position such as EMT. Some applicants are not fortunate enough to acquire meaningful shadowing/volunteer positions, so they choose to look for these in clinical jobs. What's wrong with that? I don't think the sole purpose of these jobs are to make the applicant stand out, he/she also needs to show an interest/involvement in medicine. Why wait until med school and after to get involved in the medical field? It seems to me that so many people who give med school advice tend to push pre-meds into as many non-medical related EC's as possible in attempts to create a "well-rounded" applicant....whatever that means, I can never find a straight answer. I'll just state the obvious(while generalizing a bit, sorry) - we like science, we like medicine, we want to do this for a living and that's what our EC's should show. Yes we have other non-med interests and should of course pursue them, but they should not take precedence over the most important goal which is to study and practice medicine.
 
YOU WILL HAVE THE REST OF YOUR LIFE TO DO THIS IN YOUR FUTURE.

Only if you get into med school.

Sure you might see some amazing things, like life and death experiences or what not, but is this what you should really be spending all your time with at your age?

Why not? We want to do it for a living. Why wait until med school(if you even get in) to experience these things if you can "get your foot in the door" in college?

I expect them to study, spend time with friends, and party. Isn't this what college is about? Every time I've visited friends on college campuses, people would be going to bars and partying it up on weekends.

Stereotypical college life. Not everyone likes parties, but that doesn't mean that they are anti-social and don't know how to have fun/relax. Older generation/non-traditional/career change pre-meds in college are not going to waste their time on college parties so your intended audience is rather broad. We're supposed to show maturity and development which can be attained through clinical work positions as sunflower18 has stated above. I mean, what are we(me I guess now) really missing out on? You would put college parties and the "college experience" over real world experiences in the field we want to work in for the rest of our lives? What exactly is the American "college experience" I hear so much about and seem to be missing out on which will make me a bad med applicant?

I hate adding disclaimers to my posts, but I think my posts may come off as "mean" or like I'm attacking you but I just have some strong feelings about this topic - I don't hate you :)
 
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Only if you get into med school.



Why not? We want to do it for a living. Why wait until med school(if you even get in) to experience these things if you can "get your foot in the door" in college?



Stereotypical college life. Not everyone likes parties, but that doesn't mean that they are anti-social and don't know how to have fun/relax. Older generation/non-traditional/career change pre-meds in college are not going to waste their time on college parties so your intended audience is rather broad. We're supposed to show maturity and development which can be attained through clinical work positions as sunflower18 has stated above.

+1. This reminds me of a point I forgot to make above.

I want to be a physician, so I enjoy spending my time in a medical setting. Saying that we will get enough medical experience later so to not worry about it now is silly to me -- do you tell someone who is sweltering in the summer to not turn on the AC because winter is coming, and they'll get enough exposure to cold then? No, because it doesn't work like that. Similarly, you'd never tell someone who wants to get a PhD and do research professionally that they shouldn't spend time doing research in undergrad. If they enjoy research, they should pursue it as early as possible. Why is significant medical exposure not the same way?
 
+1. This reminds me of a point I forgot to make above.

I want to be a physician, so I enjoy spending my time in a medical setting. Saying that we will get enough medical experience later so to not worry about it now is silly to me -- do you tell someone who is sweltering in the summer to not turn on the AC because winter is coming, and they'll get enough exposure to cold then? No, because it doesn't work like that. Similarly, you'd never tell someone who wants to get a PhD and do research professionally that they shouldn't spend time doing research in undergrad. If they enjoy research, they should pursue it as early as possible. Why is significant medical exposure not the same way?

Exactly my point and nice analogies. I wish more people didn't have an opposing view and that there were more opportunities for undergrad clinical exposure instead of just shadowing and volunteering.....or maybe there are, but I haven't found them yet.
 
Only if you get into med school.



Why not? We want to do it for a living. Why wait until med school(if you even get in) to experience these things if you can "get your foot in the door" in college?



Stereotypical college life. Not everyone likes parties, but that doesn't mean that they are anti-social and don't know how to have fun/relax. Older generation/non-traditional/career change pre-meds in college are not going to waste their time on college parties so your intended audience is rather broad. We're supposed to show maturity and development which can be attained through clinical work positions as sunflower18 has stated above. I mean, what are we(me I guess now) really missing out on? You would put college parties and the "college experience" over real world experiences in the field we want to work in for the rest of our lives? What exactly is the American "college experience" I hear so much about and seem to be missing out on which will make me a bad med applicant?

QFT. I actually feel pretty strongly about this topic. My grandpa put himself through college while supporting a wife and child. It wasn't all about parties and delayed adolescence. I don't begrudge people their fun and freedom if they have the desire/time/money to get the "college experience", but it isn't universal. College is (or at least it should be) a career stepping stone.
 
1) Maturity. I'm only 20 and a junior in college, yet I feel that my work experience has made me a much more mature and open-minded person. I see death, dying, illness, grief, despair, agony, and hope during every single one of my shifts, over and over again. I have gained perspective on human character itself due to seeing raw emotion firsthand. I've seen adults whose lives have been ruined by drugs and alcohol and cigarettes, children who are growing up in difficult and abusive and neglectful households, teenagers who feel like their lives aren't worth living, and many other heartwrenching experiences. This has humbled me greatly. Sure, I have the chance to be humbled and get my life changed due to witnessing these things in medical school and residency, but I think it's important to see these things now. I'm young, and I think that it's important that I enter the medical profession with this perspective already primed and intact. I don't want to stumble across maturity sometime later down the line.

It's up to the person to decide if having that early exposure to these things (and the gained maturity as a result) was worth it. But as I've said in my post, a lot of people don't get that experience and aren't necessarily expected to have it either during this point in their lives. No one should be penalized for not having it, whether it's directly with college admissions, or starting clinical rotations when already in medical school. And so far that seems to be the case.

2) Confidence in my decision to pursue medicine. Too many posters in the allopathic forums make topics bemoaning the fact that they are miserable and hate medicine and never want to become practitioners. Maybe they could have avoided making this expensive decision that cost them several years of their lives if they had pursued more medical exposure prior to applying to schools in the first place. I feel that my exposure to medicine and healthcare professionals has abolished any fantasy views of the medical world, and replaced it with a realistic look at what practice might actually look like for me. I am still confident in my decision to become a physician, but I could have easily decided that medicine wasn't for me -- turnarounds like this have happened before for entry-level clinical workers such as myself. Thank goodness for that, too, because spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and hours upon hours only to wind up having to either start over or be miserable.. That sounds like a terrible mistake to avoid at all costs.

You get to see what entry-level clinical workers all the way up to PAs do (irrelevant to you anyway), as well as getting a glimpse of attendings and maybe residents. I think a lot of people get destroyed while they are in medical school, and thus end up having a different perspective on life than they did as pre-meds. This is why you sometimes see negative things get posted in the Allopathic forum. But you're not being exposed to medical students, you're exposed to usually attending physicians, who are far beyond the hell that may or may not have broken them. Honestly, nothing is going to prepare you for your pre-clinical years of medical school.

Thanks for your thoughtful post P2D. I hope that my respectful disagreement is considered fairly, and not viewed as an attack or an offense against you. I just wanted to offer another perspective, as I feel that these are important points to consider.

As always, I appreciate your thoughtful posts, and appreciate the disagreement. It's great that you are very respectful and I do not see this as an attack or anything. :) Thanks for the insightful comments.

Nah bro I caught some crazy infection or something and the skin on my hands wont stop peeling even months later

Other then that great post, I feel much better about not getting a job :thumbup:

:laugh:

I have a counterargument for the points you made concerning clinical entry level jobs. You said not to do these because they do not make you stand out and do not present you as a "unique" applicant. This would seem true as I have seen several SDN posts where posters have had these jobs. However, the same theory can be applied to all of the other requirements for med school admission - everyone will have hundreds of hours of volunteering, everyone will have hundreds of hours of shadowing, and many applicants will have impressive research experience. So, does that mean we shouldn't do any of these things?

Believe it or not, in past threads I said that if I were an ADCOM, I would absolutely love to have an honest applicant that didn't do all of these things just to check off all the boxes. In fact, I have challenged a brave pre-med to go ahead and not do these things, and be completely honest about their intentions. It's a huge gamble, so I doubt that anyone would try it.

Otherwise, people follow the typical checklist with such a Cookie Cutter mentality because it works. With good stats and your Cookie Cutter ECs, you can get into medical school. Very few people can actually break out of the mold and come off as truly "unique."

That's an exaggeration but I'm criticizing the logic behind your argument. We have to volunteer and shadow because they are required and paid clinical work experience is not. Research is not an explicit requirement for every school, yet so many people are pushing the idea because it apparently makes you competitive, but *so* many other applicants are doing the same thing.

Of course checking off the box is going to help you. Therefore, research can only help your application. But will it help you enough when you consider the opportunity costs you undertake in picking up a research position? If it ended up costing you grades or your MCAT, was it worth it? It's a balancing act, and entry-level clinical jobs are the same way. As for top schools, they actually require you to do research, while not requiring clinical jobs.

You also said that you can get the same experiences from these clinical jobs through shadowing and volunteering. How do you know that for sure? Based on my experiences I doubt you will get the same type of patient contact and medical field experience through shadowing and volunteering as opposed to an entry level clinical position such as EMT. Some applicants are not fortunate enough to acquire meaningful shadowing/volunteer positions, so they choose to look for these in clinical jobs. What's wrong with that?

I think you misunderstood what I meant by the "same" experiences. ADCOMs have made it known that they do not expect applicants to acquire specific medical skill sets, so I was referring to the experiences you would put on your PS (ie you saw a patient do this and that). I think that whether you're an ED tech or ED volunteer, over those three or four hours you can be exposed to the same patients in the same environment regardless of whether you have a paid position or not. I don't think ADCOMs want to hear how you were able to draw blood or clean poop. I think they want to hear about those experiences that moved you, and those will probably not be attributed to specific skills. Therefore, as a volunteer, you can get those same "stories" for your PS as anyone else. Sure you might be there for more hours as a paid employee, but considering the amount you're expected to volunteer, I don't think you'll have trouble finding something over the years to talk about with the ADCOMs.

I don't think the sole purpose of these jobs are to make the applicant stand out, he/she also needs to show an interest/involvement in medicine. Why wait until med school and after to get involved in the medical field? It seems to me that so many people who give med school advice tend to push pre-meds into as many non-medical related EC's as possible in attempts to create a "well-rounded" applicant....whatever that means, I can never find a straight answer. I'll just state the obvious(while generalizing a bit, sorry) - we like science, we like medicine, we want to do this for a living and that's what our EC's should show. Yes we have other non-med interests and should of course pursue them, but they should not take precedence over the most important goal which is to study and practice medicine.

Think back to the analogy I used before. If you aspire to become a commercial airline pilot, would you get a job as a baggage handler to help you? Probably not. Because even though you're exposed to the environment and will see the airplane, you won't develop the skills that pilots have or do anything that will get you closer into the pilot's seat. Same with entry-level clinical positions. You'll see the environment, and of course that's great and all. But you can't be a physician. If you wanted more relevant clinical skills, you'd have to be a nurse or PA. But those are other career tracks, not just a stepping stone.

People are telling others to be "well-rounded applicants" because all of these clinical ECs and jobs have been beaten to death many times over. Therefore, you'll look more "unique" if you're doing things that are completely unrelated. Once again, I'd like to mention that ADCOMs have said that they aren't looking for any particular skill sets. Therefore, the jobs you take will not portray what you are expected to do as a future physician. So why spend so much time and training for and working for something that is still not relevant to what a physician does? Going back to the baggage handler example. You'll be trained how to use the ground equipment and load the plane. But does a pilot ever have to do these things? Of course not, and that's why no one expects you to work as a baggage handler or other similar position. Working an unrelated job or doing an unrelated EC probably won't be that much different than working a clinical job that doesn't resemble doing what a doctor does.

Why not? We want to do it for a living. Why wait until med school(if you even get in) to experience these things if you can "get your foot in the door" in college?

See above. These jobs are usually unrelated to what a physician does. You'll be in school for so long that getting a job at your former employer from years ago will likely not give you any such advantage.

Stereotypical college life. Not everyone likes parties, but that doesn't mean that they are anti-social and don't know how to have fun/relax. Older generation/non-traditional/career change pre-meds in college are not going to waste their time on college parties so your intended audience is rather broad. We're supposed to show maturity and development which can be attained through clinical work positions as sunflower18 has stated above. I mean, what are we(me I guess now) really missing out on? You would put college parties and the "college experience" over real world experiences in the field we want to work in for the rest of our lives? What exactly is the American "college experience" I hear so much about and seem to be missing out on which will make me a bad med applicant?

I hate adding disclaimers to my posts, but I think my posts may come off as "mean" or like I'm attacking you but I just have some strong feelings about this topic - I don't hate you :)

Stereotypes are there for a reason. Of course everyone is different, but if you hit up college bars on a Friday or Saturday night, you'll see what I mean. I knew people who partied, and I knew people who worked full-time. I knew more people who did the former though. Also as I've mentioned before, is this really the time and place to enter the field you want to work in for the rest of your lives? Well technically you are by getting the clinical experience through volunteering and shadowing, which is far less demanding time-wise than an entry-level clinical job. Given what medical school does in terms of preparing you to become a physician, it's perfectly reasonable to do those things for clinical experience. There's no need to get training and then devote significant time for something that will ultimately be irrelevant to what you will do as a physician.

This is why in the business world, you're expected to do an internship, which will give you a direct glimpse of the job. You're not expected to become a secretary, mail room clerk, or some other irrelevant thing just to see the environment. Same thing with medicine.

Plus thank you for the very informative posts. I think many of us enjoyed reading your perspective. I also don't take anything offensively, and thanks for the disclaimer. :)
 
Plus thank you for the very informative posts. I think many of us enjoyed reading your perspective. I also don't take anything offensively, and thanks for the disclaimer. :)

This attitude is a breath of fresh air on SDN. :) :thumbup:
 
Actually, there is a lot more expected of post-Bar Mitzvahed boys than just to go out and have fun with their friends. A Bar Mitzvah is an induction into becoming an adult in the religious community, with all the responsibilities that entails. I won't argue that among some of the more liberal Reform Jews, a Bar or Bat Mitzvah has turned into something of a glorified early Sweet 16 party, with the major goal being to get money and gifts. However, that is neither the history nor the intent of the ceremony, and in fact, it's a mockery of it.

Likewise, attending college is not about partying. For most attendees, it's about preparing for a vocation. Or if you're a liberal arts type, then it's about developing your intellect. Regardless, it's only recently in our history that we have had this notion that adolescence should be extended into our 20s, or that attending college is a "necessity." If you had been born 100 years ago, odds are good that you would have already been working as a teenager, and possibly earlier. And many of us still do; I started babysitting at age 11 and continued until I graduated from high school. I also tutored, worked as a camp counselor, and took care of people's pets. I worked during college too, and during grad school, and during some of med school. (I don't work a second job during residency, but that's because residency is already like two full time jobs. ;))

I spent four years serving on my med school's adcom. I had tremendous respect for applicants who had jobs, of any type. Why? Because I knew myself how hard it was to balance everything. I also had tremendous respect for applicants who showed initiative to experience the medical field and try to get a sense of its downsides. Clinical volunteering or shadowing is fine too, but I'd argue that a clinical job is actually in a category above. No one really cares what you do as a volunteer or a shadower. In fact, you're a liability, not an asset. In contrast, a job requires that you show up at a certain time, be at a certain place, and perform specific duties. It requires accountability and responsibility, because other people are depending on you. An applicant who can hold down a job while doing well in school, and who is familiar with the downsides of the health care system (and maybe even has some ideas for how to improve things), is going to be more competitive than an applicant who lacks those qualities.

I will also come out and say that I had a bias against applicants whose activities suggested they were partiers. Most people don't join sororities or fraternities for their charity opportunities. Most people don't do one week "medical mission trips" for their charity opportunities, either. Applicants, adcoms aren't stupid. We were all in our teens and twenties once upon a time too. We all thought adults were clueless once upon a time too. But as the author of the book of Ecclesiastes noted over two millenia ago, there ain't nothing new under the sun.

Lest you still doubt that work experience is an important asset for a med school applicant, keep in mind too that your med school application is a job application. As others have already pointed out, once you're accepted to med school, you have a 95+% chance of becoming a practicing physician one day. So when an adcom accepts you to their med school, they're not just accepting you as a student. They're accepting you as a future colleague and coworker. One of the best things you can do to help your app is to get out of the adolescent or student mindset, and start thinking and acting like the future professional you claim you want to be.
 
I enjoy the well thought out argument that you've made, but I really couldn't disagree with you more. :)

I was an EMT is a busy 911 system for a year before I applied to medical school. While I admit that I am no better at taking a blood pressure than an average classmate at this point (pre-clinical years), I wouldn't say that this was the only skill I learned in my year on an ambulance. Conservatively, I would estimate that I had about 1,000 patients in the year I worked (1 every two hours during my 40hr/week shifts). I've had hundreds more attempts (than the average medical student who didn't do any clinical work before medical school) at introducing myself to a patient, building rapport, and providing comfort while instilling confidence in my patient regarding the care they are receiving. I've had many more chances to develop as a calm leader in emergency situations, dealt with many different patients (and their parents) and grown accustomed to working long hours with little rest and high stakes. I know 95% of what I did wasn't worth much more than a taxi ride, but I personally lost two patients and saved one life. Those three people, if nothing else, have been extremely important in my growth as a person and as a healthcare provider.

Admittedly I haven't made it to my rotations yet, and could very well be talking out of my a%$, but those experiences were infinitely more important than any shadowing, research, or unique things I put on my AMCAS.
 
Plus thank you for the very informative posts. I think many of us enjoyed reading your perspective. I also don't take anything offensively, and thanks for the disclaimer. :)

That's nice to hear, thanks.
 
I haven't sifted through the replies and kinda glossed over your post but I'm going to have to disagree with you on a number of points p2d.

1. It doesn't matter if clinical jobs are increasingly common, in fact your application might be weaker otherwise BECAUSE it's so common these days. A clinical job won't do anything more than strengthen your clinical experience greatly. You don't necessarily have to set yourself apart, you'll be hard pressed to find an experience that is completely unique. It's more about what you get out of an experience rather than what it is. Just strengthen your application as much as you can and let your experiences speak for themselves, unique or otherwise.


2. I think clinical volunteering has the potential to make you a better doctor, or at least help you prepare. It's not about skills like drawing up meds or taking blood pressures. Some jobs like scribing aren't even involved with these duties. Physicians are doing these tasks less and less these days. The real draw I think, is the ability to see patients and gain comfort with them. The big area incoming med students with clinical job experience are ahead of their peers in, is the clinical portion. If you scribe, it's even better. You get to really work closely with doctors and really learn what they do and how they do it. You also get a chance to learn how to gather history, work with different patients and deal with the various obstacles that come up in clinical settings (drug seekers, insurance difficulties, etc).

3. I think a clinical job is excellent on a number of fronts. If you aren't completely set on a career in medicine, a clinical job will help you see if it is the right path. Again it's not necessarily about the skills you gain in clinic, but the experience working with patients and in clinic. Sure you might get just enough from volunteering, but it will look so much better if you have more experience (and you won't be at a disadvantage compared to those who also worked clinical jobs).

4. Not everyone has daddy (or scholarships) to pay their way through college. If you need money anyway, you might as well work while getting clinical experience.

5. You really start being an adult when you enter college. The hardest part about college is managing your time. Undergraduate isn't hard, people realize this at differing rates. if you can manage your time well, you can study, work, do extracurriculars and party. It's not all that difficult. Again, the $$ thing. You need $$ to party and go to school.

6. Clinical volunteering is the best thing ever? It depends what position you have. Those positions where you just study and read and don't really do anything are worthless. A line on your resume isn't worth your time. You might be able to get in by spinning things to look good, but I don't think this is ethical or as likely to work as just getting real experience.
 
Put me in the disagree column. I worked FT as an ED tech through undergrad an PT during med school. Wouldn't trade it for the world for several reasons:

1) Work experience in the medical environment has made me so much more comfortable with patient interaction, and being able to anticipate the flow of things. As an intern I often feel like a total doofus on the knowledge front just like everyone else, but I at least feel comfortable in my environment.

2) Procedural skills. "Practicing" IV's, etc in med school? HA! Do you really think anything other than doing it 1000 times yourself for real is going to help when it's time to get the tough stick? Why do you think nurses always go run and grab the most experienced nurse when the going gets tough on a peds IV? Procedures are all about experience. And I wouldn't trade my tech IV starts, EKG's, splints, wound care, foleys, etc for anything.

3) When you've been the low man on the totem pole you know what it feels like. Jerks on the top are usually jerks because they don't know what it feels like to be on the bottom. Experiencing the "entry level" job makes you a much better team player in the long run.

4) Some of my best friends, people I expect I will be close to for the rest of my life, came from working that job. When you go through the trenches with people you form some serious bonds. When med school got tough I had people I could talk to, and I practically had my own cheering section to get me through it. Don't know if I would have made it through without them. I had to move away for residency but still talk to lots of my work friends regularly and get lots of encouragement. I was really depressed when I started residency but several of my former co-workers took the time to call, email, text etc. and really pulled me out of the ditch.

5) It may not have paid me enormous riches, but it sure paid better than any other college gig I know of.

My 2 cents.
 
3) When you've been the low man on the totem pole you know what it feels like. Jerks on the top are usually jerks because they don't know what it feels like to be on the bottom. Experiencing the "entry level" job makes you a much better team player in the long run.

Spot on. Starting from the bottom is humbling, and is somewhere all future docs should be at some point. I mean, look at Drake.
 
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