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Doing research and ec's with a family

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by shmrshines, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. shmrshines

    shmrshines nerd in hot girl clothing
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    I'm just wondering if adcom's expect you to have the same amount and level of ec's and/or research experience as traditional pre-med students. I also have to keep a pretty much full time job during this process, so this also is a factor obviously. I haven't really done any research work,so I don't know it it's doable during the summer while also working, and of course having a family. thanks:)
     
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  3. starrynite14

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    i wonder this too. i imagine not because we are only human and there are only 24 hours in a day.

    my circumstance is a little different. i currently live part time with my cousin who's husband is overseas in iraq. i spent friday morning through late monday night helping her out (or giving her time to get out of the house). and this leaves me with very little time to do any research or volunteer work, especially because tuesday through thursday i'm in class or studying for the mcat.

    what i planned on doing was incorporating what i am doing now into my personal statement. this works out pretty fantastically well because i want to go into family practice in the navy. :)

    good luck!
     
  4. shmrshines

    shmrshines nerd in hot girl clothing
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    thank you!
     
  5. shmrshines

    shmrshines nerd in hot girl clothing
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    Does anyone else have any suggestions? There is a research program that I'm thinking of applying to, but I'm having second thoughts about it due to my limited amount of time, so I'm just wondering if it's worth it to go for it and apply or should I just let it go. It would be really difficult considering I have the kids and work. I suppose it would be like the school semester, which is a schedule I could definitely use a break from. So back to my original question. If you have kids and work is it also expected that you will do research and as many ec's as your counterparts or are admissions committees understanding of these situations? thanks!
     
  6. NTF

    NTF PGY-6
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    Unfortunately, while adcoms might cut you some slack as far as family obligations in terms of explaining gaps or weaknesses in the past, I don't think they'll see family obligations as a legitimate reason to not have the types of things they expect from other applicants.

    I sympathize with the time crunch you have. But you still have to find time to do the things that will make you a competitive applicant. Telling med schools that you simply didn't have the time isn't going to fly.

    But while difficult, it can still be done. It just means being efficient and picking your spots. Balancing family with career is something that all of us will grapple with for the rest of our working lives.

    Good Luck! I know it's not easy.
     
  7. NTF

    NTF PGY-6
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    Some suggestions:

    1) Physician shadowing is an relatively quick and time effective way to bolster your application.
    2) Volunteering doesn't have to be time-consuming either. An hour a week over the course of many months is all it takes. Quality and length of commitment trumps killing yourself to volunteer 10+ hrs/week for only a few months.
    3) #2 doesn't apply to research though. A quick but intensive research experience over just a couple of months can often be very fruitful. Sometimes even netting you a name on a paper (if you impress).
     
  8. shmrshines

    shmrshines nerd in hot girl clothing
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    thanks nontradfogie, I appreciate the feedback!
     
  9. Crelal

    Crelal So close, yet so far away...
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    I second the previous post- you have to be able to demonstrate that you have the time commitment the ad com perceives is necessary to succeed in medical school.

    I recommend volunteering and working with the department as to a schedule. I volunteer once per week on Sundays with a local ED- they are flexible and open to me coming in at whatever time works best that weekend. I go in for a few hours (usually after the NFL game in town is over- it is amazing the number of car accidents/injuries/just plain weird situations come up after people have been drinking WAY too much) and help out where they need me.

    Length of time is better than lots of hours in a short time frame. I started just walking patients from triage to a room. Now that I have been there for over six months, the docs have me do vitals, go through test results and imaging with me, and I have been able to do more shadowing of the physicians and PAs.

    I also took a few half-days off of work to do more formal shadowing- my employer was very cool about it, though, so it depends on that situation for you.

    I have three small little ones, so I can totally relate to the time crunch- the key for me was to find the flexible options (and keeping my spouse's focus on the end objective every weekend).

    Good luck :luck:
     
  10. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    I think you are focusing on the wrong things here. The number of ECs you list on your AMCAS is not really what matters; adcoms are used to sifting through all of the fluff that people use to pad their apps. A few solid ECs are enough, and there is no need to fill out every box just because it's there. What we are really looking for is people who have insight into the reality of a career in medicine and who show evidence of a desire to serve others. (This *is* a service-oriented profession, after all!) There are several types of ECs that premeds typically have. Here they are, in order of importance:

    1) Clinical experience--this is essential. Don't bother applying to med school without it. If you have no insight into what doctors really do on a day-to-day basis, you will have no ability to convince an adcom that you truly understand what a career in medicine entails. I think the bar is even higher for nontrads than for trads in some ways. You are an adult, and adcoms will expect that you have taken time to explore medicine and talk to doctors about what their jobs entail. You will get interview questions asking you why you want to do medicine and to discuss your clinical experiences. So expect this to be a common theme, and make sure that you are prepared.

    2) Community service--this is highly desirable. Most applicants have some service ECs, and the best applicants have significant community service that spans over a period of several years. You don't have to go crazy and travel to rural Africa to start up your own clinic; spending an hour or two per week volunteering for some organization in your own community that matters to you would be great. Consistency and dedication to service matter more than the actual type of service you perform.

    3) Research--the least important of the things you mentioned, unless you are applying to programs that train physician scientists (MD/PhD or MD/MS programs). It doesn't sound like you want to be a physician scientist, so forget about doing research unless you are just really interested in trying it. You're a lot better off putting a few hours per week into the previous two EC categories.

    Best of luck to you. :)
     
  11. shmrshines

    shmrshines nerd in hot girl clothing
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    Thanks everyone for your helpful advice! Well I figured the service to others, shadowing docs, and clinical experiences would all be covered by my experiences as an RN on a cardiac unit. I have seen just about every md or do i could think of(well the ones who frequent the hospitals anyway). I enter the rooms with the docs as part of my nursing duties but my eyes and ears are open! Also I have worked at some medical teaching hospitals, so I actually get to see and hear some of what they are being taught, which is pretty cool! These reasons are why I chose to focus on research and some other cool ec's, but it's so hard to find the time! I guess I'm gonna have to, though...
     
  12. shmrshines

    shmrshines nerd in hot girl clothing
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    AM I right in thinking that my work as an rn will cover committment to service, clinical experience, and physician shadowing, or should I do some more of these types of things?
     

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