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ED volunteer expectations

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by schooltill30, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. schooltill30

    schooltill30 Doctor Acula 2+ Year Member

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    If I make it clear to the hospital I plan to volunteer at that I want to volunteer in the ED because I get to see medicine, will I still get a meet and greet job, or will I have chance on actually seeing some medicine?
     
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  3. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection Physician Faculty SDN Advisor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    It depends on how many of the other volunteers made their expectations equally clear, how much seniority they have over you, and how available all of you are for odd shift hours on a regular basis. Be aware: if you are in the ED, the majority of the medicine you will see practiced will be colds and minor injuries. Your job will probably be sanitizing gurneys and cleaning rooms. Learn to love it and have enthusiasm anyway.
     
  4. patrickd223

    patrickd223 5+ Year Member

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    I dont see why medical schools put so much emphasis on hospital volunteering anyways. All you do 99% of the time is paperwork which equals bigger profits for the fish higher up the chain. The volunteer cordinater @ my hospital flat out told me that there are no oppurtunities for clinical experience.
     
  5. PhotoMD

    PhotoMD Rad! 5+ Year Member

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    I think it depends on the hospital and what kind of relationships you make with the doctors. For the record, I did zero volunteering prior to med school, but friends that did had variable experiences, with some getting some (limited) clinical action. Shadowing is probably a safer bet.

    Of course, as always, my recommendation would be not to do anything strictly for resume-building.
     
  6. CTtarheel

    CTtarheel Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    It all depends on how proactive you are. If you're really into being in people's faces and asking to see stuff (or even just going up and introducing yourself to the docs/nurses and asking if you can help) than you might have a really good experience.

    Just don't expect to be told what to do. Everyone in the ED is way too busy to care if you're there or not. If you keep your mouth shut and stand there, you WILL be treated like a piece of furniture. On the other end though, if you talk too much, than you'll just be annoying to the people who have jobs to do.

    Strike the perfect balance however, and you should have a great experience.

    I was too much on the quiet side and didn't get much out of it. My suggestion is to start out by introducing yourself to one or two of the nurses and asking what you can do to help. If something interesting comes in and you want to watch, asking a NA or a nurse if they don't mind if you watch would probably be ok too. You just have to be aware of what's going on around you and make the judgment yourself about whether or not it's appropriate for you to ask to watch something.
     
  7. gujuDoc

    gujuDoc 10+ Year Member

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    It depends on your position. Not all positions are paper pushing positions. That said, I don't think they emphasize hospital volunteering so much as they emphasize CLINICAL volunteerism.

    The difference between Clinical volunteerism and Hospital volunteerism is that Hospital volunteerism is just one type of clinical volunteerism. Other types that go in this general and broad category include Hospice Life Palitative Care centers, Nursing Homes, EMT-B volunteer activities, Red Cross, International volunteering in medical mission trips, etc.

    A lot of premeds use hospital volunteerism as their way of getting volunteer hours because it is the easiest way of doing things and quickest way of doing things. Also, not all premeds think out of the box and just think hospital when they think clinical.
     
  8. Anka

    Anka Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    It's not the medical schools putting emphasis on hospital volunteering -- it's the premedical advisors, the premedical societies, and the premedical students. I didn't do a second of hospital volunteering prior to med school... and from what the premed volunteers do at the hospital I'm currently a student at, it's a good thing, too!

    Just do something that's fun and rewarding for you -- shadowing, research, whatever.

    Anka
     
  9. GreenShirt

    GreenShirt 10+ Year Member

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    Since you don't have any type of medical liscence or certificate and you're not an employee of the hospital you can't legally do any clinical things. A lot of it will be standing around trying not to get in the way, cleaning and dressing gurnies between patients, and maybe wheeling patients out to their car.

    Even though you're not going to be a part of most the action, you may get the occaisional doctor or nurse who will let you watch a procedure or explain an x-ray to you. Just appreciate those moments for what they are. Stirke up conversations with the staff whenever you can to find out what life in the medicine is like.
     
  10. singh12

    singh12 2+ Year Member

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    i also volunteer in the ER and it's true that most of the you will be making/cleaning beds, helping nurses with anything they say. having said that, u might get some chance to see some medicine. u will get to see the patient-doctr interaction. just be positive about the whole experience and you'll enjoy it.
     
  11. zippa

    zippa 7+ Year Member

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    You guys are not doing enough, if you are stuck cleaning the rooms and doing whatever the nurses say. I have been volunteering in the ED for 2 years now and I have been able to do a lot. All traumas that come in, I get to go in and put on a lead vest and observe the traumas. I follow the residents around when they see there patients. One of the ED tech should me how to do the 12 lead EKG and then allowed me to do it (supervised). I help the triage nurse with get temp and blood pressure (supervised). The only thing I am limited with is pelvic exams, beast exams, and patients that prefer if I am not present (which is rare).
     
  12. Tired Pigeon

    Tired Pigeon 7+ Year Member

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    Do you work at a veterinary ER?:smuggrin:
     
  13. gujuDoc

    gujuDoc 10+ Year Member

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    Depends on the school. USF for instance stresses volunteering in clinical and non clinical settings. That said, I agree that they DO NOT stress Hospital volunteering. They don't care what type of clinical setting as long as its clinical volunteerism and some non clinical volunteerism.

    I agree that advisors and premed students seem to stress things that don't always seem like they are going to hurt you even if you don't do it. Problem with a lot of premeds is they don't do their own research. They rely on other people to tell them what they should or shouldn't be doing.
     
  14. Instatewaiter

    Instatewaiter But... there's a troponin 10+ Year Member

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    your volunteering involves erectile dysfunction? I mean how much can they expect of you?

    Watch out for priapism, an erection lasting longer than 4 hours.
     
  15. scrubsaresexy

    scrubsaresexy 2+ Year Member

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    I have a tendancy to be quiet in situations when I'm uncomfortable, so I've sort of given up on volunteering in the ER near my school. Even the most loud-mouthed, obnoxious, pressuring people didn't get to do much there (although one is very proud that he got hired to push people around now because he's such a good worker :p ). I also had a problem because the doctors alternated weekends and my schedule was so crazy, that was the only time I had to volunteer. I worked very well with one doctor in particular, but he wasn't always there, so it was kind of a let down on the other weekends.

    On the other hand, I really want to do EM, but I never was one of those kids who seemed to spend every other minute in the ER, so I didn't really understand the dynamic of an ER until I volunteered there. Hindsight, I could've gotten more out of it, but even the little that I did get out of it was something.

    The best days volunteering, I got to shadow one of the doctors when he was seeing patients. On the worst days, I sat around and refilled the printers.

    If you're not particularly assertive, it might be a good idea to try something else to get clinical experience.
     
  16. schooltill30

    schooltill30 Doctor Acula 2+ Year Member

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    What about shodowing an emergency doc? It sounds like that would be the best for someone who wants to see a bit of everything?
     
  17. schooltill30

    schooltill30 Doctor Acula 2+ Year Member

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    What about shadowing an emergency doc? It seems like that would be best for someone trying to see a little of everything in a hospital enviroment.
     
  18. Cirrus83

    Cirrus83 Too old for this 10+ Year Member

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    That depends on the hospital a great deal...a lot of places don't send colds and minor injuries to the ED because they have an urgent care area that they send those people to.

    And also, depending on the hospital, they may or may not try to help you out if you're a pre-med...the place I just started volunteering at KNOWS that pretty much everyone is a pre-med so I like how they said that I'd get to see procedures done as long as the patient doesn't object, and they even mentioned some kinda crazy program where you get to ride in the ambulance sometimes to a call :D

    Sure, you'll still be sanitizing stuff and changing linens and whatnot, but if it's a big busy ER you'd still see a lot of stuff I think.
     
  19. winthug

    winthug Member 7+ Year Member

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    You are very lucky that you did that and depending on the ER supervisor, you could have potentially cost the nurse and ERT's their jobs if you were caught. Just like a previous poster said, you are nothing but a liability to the hospital and worst of all, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE and THEY HAVE A LOT TO LOSE. You are lucky that you can follow residents because most of them would tell you to f off. It's almost impossible to be enthusiastic about volunteering, no matter how proactive you are because in the end, you are really just a nuisance to the staff because you can't do ANYTHING CLINICALLY USEFUL.

    And to shadow a doctor, that doctor must very patient. The ER docs I work with don't even want the residents/students to follow them too much because it slows them down.

    I wish that med schools would eliminate volunteering as a unofficial requirement and maybe put down EMT/CNA/shadowing experience. Some schools say they like students who are generous and are committed to donating their time to help. BS. Help do nothing! Do these guys even know what little volunteers can do now?

    I'm an ERT and when a volunteer is "enthusiastic" and wants to help, here's the typical conversation.

    "Transport this patient to labor and delivery." -Me
    10 min later, "Can you show me where it is, I can't find it."
    I show him/her so that s/he'll forget next week.

    "Go to every patient and ask if they need anything, then tell the nurse."
    For the next hour, the volunteer asks me every 5 min who each nurse is.

    "Clean the empty gurneys."
    I check and find they do it wrong and so I gotta do it again.

    You can kind of see where this is going. Volunteering is so much BS.
     
  20. At the ED I volunteer at, we just move patients from room to room and work at the front desk.

    I guess it beats paperwork though.
     
  21. drlisa0318

    drlisa0318 Member 7+ Year Member

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    I volunteer at a large and busy ED in Tulsa (40-50ish beds, full most of the time). I spend most of my time with the patients and their families. First I introduce myself, then ask if there's anything I can do for them. Sometimes, it's mundane things like fetching blankets/pillows or food/drink if they are allowed. Sometimes, since it's easier for me to track down their doctor or nurse, I'll relay the patient's questions and concerns. Much of the time though, I spend just talking with the patients and families. It's amazing how far this can go to calming the patient/family and their fears. When the doctors or nurses need to see the patient, I just move out of their way and watch and listen. I've never been asked to step outside. In fact, there have been a few patients who practically begged me to stay. I don't do any of the housekeeping (though some volunteers do) and I've never been asked to do so.

    The job is what you make it. Regardless of where you volunteer, whether it's a hospital, a nursing home, or Special Olympics, do so with a smile and a cheerful heart. You'll find that you'll go home feeling like you got even more out of it than the ones you're helping.
     
  22. pillowhead

    pillowhead Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    That's great but you need to realize that not all EDs even do trauma. It totally depends on the hospital. In a non-academic facility without residents, there may only be one MD at a time actually present and s/he is going to be a very busy person.

    Probably the best things to do while volunteering are working in the gift shop or delivering flowers. I used to especially enjoy delivering flowers and hey, it's still hospital volunteering. Child life is also a good thing to do in a pediatric hospital--you basically play with kids all day long.

    In all honesty, it's very hard to get true clinical experience as a premed shadowing for a number of reasons. It's almost always just for show so you can put it on a resume. Still, there's at least a little bit of value just to actual be in a hospital, see how an ED works, get used to patients in wheelchairs, stretchers, various states of undress, etc.
     
  23. MirrorTodd

    MirrorTodd It's a gas. Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Like everyone else said it all depends on where you go and how proactive you are. If you overhear a doc talking about something "cool" or "completely disgusting" then get in on that and enjoy the experience.
     
  24. GreenShirt

    GreenShirt 10+ Year Member

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    As a former ER Tech, I had to supervise EMT-B's in training when they did their clinicals. I can tell you it was always a pain to have to come up with things for them to do (and these are people who had some training, not just volunteers). Just remember it's extra work for the Tech or nurse to babysit you and make sure that you're occupied. They have to go out of their way to give you tasks or invite you to see things. People who have assertive personalities, like one of the above posters, and feel comfortable just walking into a room and talking to patients they don't know probably get a bit more out of the experience then wallflowers. The important thing is to stay alert and insert yourself where there's an opportunity to see something. The staff is not always going to give you an invitation.
     
  25. unsung

    unsung 10+ Year Member

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    I had the same thought as a lot of you that hospital volunteering would likely see me sitting in some room filing paperwork. Or at most, perhaps I'll get to stand around a busy ER and get in the way of people while not doing anything especially useful.

    Anyway, I already have "hospital experience" as a result of having done research in a hospital setting and directly communicating with physicians/medical personnel.

    The only thing I was missing was actual *clinical experience* dealing directly with patients!

    And that's why I decided to be a PCA (Personal Care Attendant)! This gives me the opportunity to closely interact with patients with disabilities on a personal basis for an extended amount of time. I mean, I would never get this kind of opportunity to work with patients or interact with their families at a hospital. It just wouldn't happen. Also, unlike such professions as EMT, PCA does not require much in the way of certification. You simply need to have the desire to do that kind of work as well as the requisite compassion and heart to interact well with disabled people.
     
  26. Sarg's kid

    Sarg's kid HPSP Butterbar 5+ Year Member

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    Pretty much. If you want to see anything, shadow an ED doc. When I shadowed, I got to step in and watch some pretty cool stuff while the volunteers changed bed sheets and mopped the floor. If you like linens and vomit, then volunteer. If you want to watch femoral sticks and lumbar punctures and see actual patient care, then you should shadow.
     
  27. Sarg's kid

    Sarg's kid HPSP Butterbar 5+ Year Member

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    Yeah, beast exams were a b*tch. All that fur and claws. Why don't people just go to a vet?
     
  28. blargh

    blargh Banned Banned

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    i've had plenty of experience with shadowing, but i decided to try volunteering. i spent about half an hour restocking cabinets and listening to the nurse's assistant (who didn't speak english and was basically using me to do her job). after that, i stood in the corner for the next three and a half hours because there were no chairs. i saw action only once, and that was when a patient started coding. a bunch of nurses and residents ran over, swarmed around the guy, and it was over in a minute. i stopped volunteering because... isn't the point of community service to at least SERVE the community? i think a lot of pre-med volunteering is B.S. that goes for pre-med clubs and especially pre-med fraternities, too.

    just wanted to add that i also was not allowed to do anything else except restock and stand in the corner...
     
  29. NPEMTIV

    NPEMTIV Accidentally Accepted Moderator Emeritus SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    It really depends on the hospital and ED staff. Some will let you check things like vitals with a nurse present while some will only let you watch and listen. I'd recommend personally (from working as an EMT for years) to try and volunteer in a smaller hospital where there aren't as many staff and/or volunteers so that you'll be able to have more contact with the docs and therein the patients. Good luck to you.
     
  30. LexiLuthor

    LexiLuthor 2+ Year Member

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    I volunteered at a semi-rural ER for about a year and a half. I helped with triage, transported patients around the hospital, helped with some basic first aid (mostly with people waiting) spent some time in the back of the ER getting things for docs, prepping rooms, etc., kept kids from running wild and helped family members stay calm. It wasn't anything too dramatic, but I was helping people out, keeping the non-life-threatening "emergencies" placated and helping triage move smoothly.

    A lot of volunteering isnt going to be too exciting, esp if you don't have specialized training.

    I can't believe people were cleaning up though... even in the sticks we had a janitor!
     
  31. GreenShirt

    GreenShirt 10+ Year Member

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    I agree. I have this book that includes 50 real essays of people who got into medical school and it just annoyed the heck out of me to read all the ones that talked about their hospital volunteer experience as a major event when you can tell they from their descriptions that they really just sat around bored: "At hospital X, I was responsible for re-stocking the magazine pile in the waiting room. This experience allowed me to experience medicine first hand. I alleviated the anxiety of patients by assuring they had plenty of reading material." Literally, multiple essays with this type of story. Ugh!

    The book says these people were accepted to top tier medical schools. It goes to show you that your volunteer experience doesn't have to be life altering. I guess the school's just want to see that you've made the effort.
     
  32. bwonger06

    bwonger06 2+ Year Member

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    volunteering is such BS at the hospital i use to volunteer at. they would have me stocking and doing paper work in the friggin OR. instead of doing that, i went in and observed surgeries and went to watch traumas when they came in to the trauma room. well bad idea because someone in the OR snitched and told the volunteer cordinator, and the cordinator yelled at me saying it is my job as a volunteer to do those busy scum work jobs, and i am not allowed to shadow and observe doctors, instead that is reserved for the residents and interns, so i turned in my volunteer badge. such a drag because i have over 120 hours of volunteer hours, and i wont be able to use the cordinator as a LOR.
     
  33. unsung

    unsung 10+ Year Member

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    Well, isn't the point of volunteering to do something FOR the hospital? Doing busy work may suck for YOU but it does accomplish something worthwhile for the hospital. Otoh, having you hanging out in the OR accomplishes nothing FOR the hospital, per say.

    Ergo, the volunteer coordinator has a point, imho.
     
  34. gujuDoc

    gujuDoc 10+ Year Member

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    I wonder who snitched. That's really lameooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!
     
  35. sirmalcs

    sirmalcs 5+ Year Member

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    You have to be proactive when volunteering in the ER. It also helps to be in a larger, university hospital. I have been very fortunate to see and experience everything from colds, sprains, stiches, strokes, gout attacks, sickle cell crisis, and MVA's. Get to know some doctors, follow them in rooms, help out with traumas, just get in there.
     
  36. lsumedgirl

    lsumedgirl Livin' the dream! 2+ Year Member

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    I agree about being proactive. And it really does make a difference which hospital you're volunteering at. I spent 2 and 1/2 years volunteering at a university hospital leval one trauma unit. I was very fortunate to work with a great group of attending and residents who were happy to explain things to me, let me tag along on all exams, and get involved in clinical care. I know that a lot of EDs don't offer this, but as I said, I was glad to have the opportunity.

    As for the poster who said that all residents wouldn't even want you around and would just tell you to f* off... maybe they just have a rough group! The ones I worked with were great, and wanted to help me get involved. One of the attendings actually wrote one of my LORs.

    In short, it's all about the people you're working with. Just get whatever experience they'll allow you get and enjoy!
     
  37. bwonger06

    bwonger06 2+ Year Member

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    well i did help prep patients for surgery. bring them in... clean the carts, help the doctors scrub in, set up any of the machines they need help with, go run test in the middle of surgery, grab saline or ivs. etc. i did do work while i observed, but the point is as a volunteer, i am not allowed to observe at all, which is just stupid. the point of volunteering in a hospital is to observe some clinical stuff while helping out to the fullest extent that i am able to. not sit behind a desk and do a whole lot of nothing, sorry for my rant, just a little PO'ed
     
  38. AZhopeful

    AZhopeful Natural Killer Cell Physician 10+ Year Member

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    After speaking w/ quite a few adcoms about this, I have come to the philosophy that med schools want to see you get clinical experience and they want to see you do some volunteer/comm service. This does NOT necessarily mean that they want clinical volunteering.

    I happened to get some clinical experience as a CNA, which probably could've been replaced by something else(though I made a little money). I also volunteered in something completely non-medically related but important to me. I found that adcoms were always very receptive to this and having a little more to talk about than the standard ED volunteering made interviews a lot more enjoyable.

    Two friends have told me things that have helped me cement this idea: first, one realized late one evening that she had to work on a project and couldn't go volunteer at the ED. She didn't even need to call in or anything because noone would miss her. The other friend just talked about how in the way she felt most of the time in the ED. Contrast that to an NA or tech who, if they just miss work, screw over a TON of people, especially the patients.

    I also was speaking to a dean of admissions once about this and mentioned that I thought paid clinical work 'blew volunteering out of the water.' Vain figure of speech, I know, but he wholeheartedly agreed with me.

    In summary, volunteer work and clinical work does not have to equal clinical volunteering! Do what makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, and if that isn't necessarily clinical, then get some clinical experience that you think you can learn from.
     
  39. Cirrus83

    Cirrus83 Too old for this 10+ Year Member

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    Wow that's really lame...at the hospital I'm working at they explicitly told me I'd be able to shadow and observe so long as the patients didn't complain, and from what I could tell volunteers could be fairly proactive about stuff (that's more in response to the poster who said they had to stand in a corner...wtf?). And while I was being trained (by a volunteer btw) they definitely didn't try to stop you from seeing anything, lol. He even mentioned how a patient in one of the rooms had just started bleeding out of their ears after being hypotensive, but we didn't have time to go see (he mentioned it as in, in case we wanted to see what was going on).

    Anyways, I guess everyone should make sure what they'll actually get to see and do before volunteering...it's definitely not fun to volunteer 120 hours and be told you can't even see.
     
  40. winthug

    winthug Member 7+ Year Member

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    Yah, if an EMT doesn't show up for work, everybody gets screwed. My hospital has 4 EMTs per shift and I was once the only EMT because the other 3 couldn't make it. Man, the ER got so bogged down, it wasn't even funny. If a hospital suddenly lost all their volunteers, no one would even notice. Community service is better served working at a free clinic or free tutoring/teaching where at least you could somewhat be helpful, not in a hospital. Then again, I think clinical volunteering has a lot to do with paying your dues. It's a ****ty ass position, but that's what you gotta do to get into a med school. A lot of the past students/doctors did it and hated it, now it's your turn.

    Also, volunteer coordinators should acknowledge the fact that pre-med volunteers, though they should be working, should also be able to observe clinical stuff because that's why they are ultimately choosing to volunteer. No one wants to make sure the blanket warmer is full, stock the rooms, and look like a loser in your volunteer uniform. Sigh, only if they let you wear scrubs as a volunteer, you'd get so much more respect.
     
  41. Anka

    Anka Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    That's the thing, though -- you can get into med school without volunteering at a hospital. There's plenty of time for paying dues later (trust me on this one). Better to go where you're valued for now.

    Best,
    Anka
     
  42. gujuDoc

    gujuDoc 10+ Year Member

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    I think that I agree with you for a huge part, but at places like the All Children's Hospital out patient clinic here in Tampa I think they'd notice because the childlife therapist is one person only and she'd not be able to handle doing stuff with kids so they can keep busy, trying to talk to patient families, and trying to sit with people in the infusion room. There I think we help a lot because we help divert the kids attention by giving them something to do while letting the childlife therapist do her job and more important tasks.

    At places like the ED though, I agree that they probably don't need the volunteers per se as even the med students are in the way when in a trauma unit so I don't know what a premedd volunteer hopes to get out of it without some sort of level of training as a Patient care tech or something of that nature.

    I also agree with what you said about community volunteering in terms of tutoring, cleaning up roads, etc. is more useful to society then hospital volunteering. however, many med schools advocate some sort of clinical volunteerism claiming it is somehow diffrent then working in a clinical setting and supposedly supposed to show your altruism more.
     
  43. Anka

    Anka Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    You know this how? Look, I got into med school without clinical volunteering. In fact, I almost never do things I'm not paid to do, because when you do something for free, you're the cheapest labor in the joint and they're going to put you to work doing things that aren't cost effective or useful in the first place. When someone pays you, they're going to make sure your work in some way helps the mission of the place -- whether that is churning out hamburgers or taking care of patients.

    So, if you're going to volunteer, make sure it's at a place that values it's volunteer force -- these tend to be places that are (1) running on a very limited budget, where they can't use paid labor; and (2) are not overwhelmed by volunteers. If there is a "volunteer coordinator", it ain't your place!

    Anka
     
  44. gujuDoc

    gujuDoc 10+ Year Member

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    First off, I didn't say ALL. I said many. Secondly, I know this because adcom members at various Fl. schools told me this when they spoke at some premed meetings and what not.

    One person off the top of my head who I remember saying this was Dr. Marvin "Ted" Williams of USF COM's admissions committee who serves as the Dean of Diversity Initiatives for all of USF and previously Dean of Academic Enrichment and Diversity Initiatives for the med school. He also is a professor and researcher at the med school as well as one of two members of the adcom committee that is there every year and not one of those who just comes one year on the adcom and not the next. In other words, a permanent member of the adcom. Other med school adcom members have said that as well. One person was told at her interview that there was a list of certain types of volunteer activity she should do if she didn't get in but was put on hold at one of the other Fl. schools as well.

    Again, I'm not speaking for all schools just saying that MANY schools think this way. There is a difference!!!
     
  45. scrubsaresexy

    scrubsaresexy 2+ Year Member

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    Mar 5, 2007
    podunk, md
    Nope, doesn't matter. I got to wear scrubs pants (I know, impressive, right?) with what was supposed to be a scrub jacket. But the only size the volunteer coordinator ordered was unisex large. Well, I'm about 5'2", 110 pounds...didn't quite fit and the coordinator didn't care, so I ditched the top. Even with the 'volunteer uniform,' which a friend of mine actually wore all of (pants + jacket), we still got treated pretty badly. People kept asking me which of the area high schools I go to. When the charge nurse asked "Hey, where's the little volunteer?" that was kind of it for me.

    Although, I did think it was kind of funny...a lot of the volunteers go to the local CC and are nursing students, so when I commented that I go to the 4-year college and want to go to med school, everyone was rather impressed :D

    Long and short of it, I've wanted to take EMT since I was 15 years old and my parents wouldn't let me. Now that I'm old enough that they really can't tell me what to do, I'm taking a crash course this summer and that way, I can do something I actually enjoy.
     
  46. gujuDoc

    gujuDoc 10+ Year Member

    13,872
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    Feb 21, 2004
    I think EMT or Patient Care Tech certification is a good way to go about getting clinical experience. EMT will also allow you to get volunteer hours too.
     
  47. blargh

    blargh Banned Banned

    3,918
    2
    Oct 24, 2006
    haha yeah, well i got stuck with the EXTRA-large volunteer shirt (which, by the way is the ugliest shade of blue-green i've ever seen). :)
     
  48. Institute

    Institute 2+ Year Member

    103
    0
    Apr 14, 2007
    It all depends on where you volunteer. It also depends on how sociable you are. You can't sit around and sulk because they won't let you do something better. You have to get off your ass and actually be interested in what's going on. Talk to nurses, docs, techs, EMT, whoever. For example, my good friend volunteers at a hospital in scottsdale. He's established very good rapport with the nurses in the ER that hooked him up with one of the cardiac surgeons. Now he gets to shadow the surgeon in the OR as often as 2 times a week. To add, he's only an undergraduate freshman.
     
  49. gujuDoc

    gujuDoc 10+ Year Member

    13,872
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    Feb 21, 2004
    BTW I don't think all hospitals treat volunteers ****ty. I never had a problem at any hospital I volunteered at. The nurses were friendly when I was volunteering in SICU waiting room and had to go back to recovery to find out about the patient status for family members at the VA hospital, the escorts at the same hospital and people who helped in the ED and also feeding patients never seemed to have complaints either. When I was at a local children's hospital coming in with a couple of premed clubs the people were nice to us. The clinics where I volunteer now have never had people who had been rude to me either.
     
  50. winthug

    winthug Member 7+ Year Member

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    0
    Apr 21, 2006
    You're very lucky you could do that then. Not all hospitals treat the volunteers like ****, but I would say many of them from my experience. And it's not really that they get treated very rudely, but that they are unacknowledged for the most part. I like to keep myself busy, but when I volunteered, it was SOOO hard for me to find something to do. I would literally ask a bunch of the nurses if they needed something and they couldn't think of anything. Once I'm done w/ the 5 things on the "volunteer's checklist", all I could do is wait for a patient to need something. And I think patient interaction as a volunteer is VERY different than if you are an employee. If you are a practitioner, you WANT patients who aren't demanding or don't talk too much. It bugs the **** out of me when a patient says stuff like, "Do you have a newspaper?", "When do I get to go home?", "Why do I have to stay here?", etc. As a volunteer, you have the next 3 boring hours to make plenty of conversation. As a employee, giving them a newspaper or making small talk is the VERY LAST thing on your to-do list. For those who might say, "man, you're not gonna be a very compassionate doctor," wake up and smell the **** (literally). Even doctors talk so much **** about patients behind their backs, especially the frequent flyers.

    Lastly, it's better that people volunteer in things that make them more useful, but I chose to do clinical volunteering (as I would think most people did) because it kills two birds w/ one stone. I get my "clinical experience" and community service out of the way. Looking back now, I wish I had just made more time for myself so that I can be a useful volunteer and get clin. experience elsewhere (i.e. shadowing, EMT).
     
  51. gujuDoc

    gujuDoc 10+ Year Member

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    Feb 21, 2004

    Well I definitely see your points but as you or someone else pointed out it is something many schools advocate that's why a lot of people do it. But I think a lot of people are missing the point. The hospital is not the only place a person needs to go if they want clinical volunteerism. EMT-B, Hospice Life Pallitative care centers, nursing homes, and other facilities often get good volunteer positions as well. I do agree on your other points.

    Also, some schools advocate both clinical and non clinical volunteering. Again, I use the example of Fl. schools for light of that.

    I think if I had to do it again, I'd become a patient care tech or something like that.
     

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