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"Enough" clinical experience?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by unsung, Apr 19, 2007.

  1. unsung

    unsung 10+ Year Member

    Mar 12, 2007
    I'm working as a PCA (personal care attendant) for two patients: one with several mental disorders, and another with a serious physical disorder.

    Is this enough "clinical experience" for med schools? (I have previously done research within a hospital setting, but with no patient contact).

    Anyway, I thought being a PCA would give me much more direct, personal experience with the patient than say, volunteering at a hospital. That shoud be the point, right?

    However, as a PCA, I am only working with a few (right now, two) patients at a time, whereas in a hospital setting, I suppose I would come into contact with a lot more, albeit the interaction with each would be severely limited.

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  3. eternalrage

    eternalrage Even Kal has bad days... 10+ Year Member

    Jun 22, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    That sounds fine to me. If you are close enough to the patient to smell them, it's generally good clinical experience. What are your duties as a PCA? Do you get to also interact/watch doctors?
  4. psipsina

    psipsina Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Jun 24, 2005
    I think that definitely counts as enough patient contact, but how many doctors have you observed? The big purpose of clinical contact is to be able to answer the question "why do you want to be a doctor (and not anything else)" intelligently and articulately. Adcomms feel that you should have an in depth knowledge of what doctors do all day and still want to do it. I remember when I worked as a clinical research coordinator and the docs I was working with would be having a particularly bad day and we would walk into the hallway and they would turn to me and say "you really still want to do this??" and I could confidently answer yes, that was the moment that I was sure medicine was right for me.
  5. MAP8

    MAP8 2+ Year Member

    Dec 5, 2006
    I worked as a Pharmacy Technician for two years at a pharmacy that was practically attached to a hospital. I spoke to maybe 100 patients everyday I worked, I called and talked to doctors to clarify prescriptions, worked with insurance companies to get patients covered, I even had to clean up vomit on a couple occasions (I could smell the patients, believe me). In other words, I thought that was a pretty significant "clinical experience". However, the number 1 thing I was grilled on during interviews was my lack of hospital experience. "How do you really know you want to do this?"

    It didn't hurt me too much (I got in to my #1 choice) and your experience is probably better than mine, but still, my advice is to get as much hospital-type clinical, as possible. Working directly with doctors, as has been mentioned.
  6. Dimness

    Dimness New Member 2+ Year Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    You're way ahead of the curve. There's only so much you can do volunteering at a hospital (most of which involves standing around). Personally, I think the harder question is "why do you not want to be a nurse instead of a doctor?" I don't remember my response to that question. Remember that it is the job of the adcomm to pound you to death with critical questions.
  7. geogil

    geogil Still training. 7+ Year Member

    May 1, 2006
    When doing clinical experienec type activities, you should bear in mind, does this give me a good idea of what doctors do? I was a phlebotomist for 3 years, and at one interview the interviewer commented on the fact that I had only shadowed a couple of times, was that realy enough to give me a taste of medicine from the physician's perspective? That having been said, the school which ultimately accepted me looked quite favorably on that type of clinical experience. The take-away here is that it's important to do things in a clincical setting, becauser if you really hate being around smelly unhappy patients, medicine might not be right for you. However, you'll want to supplement your work as a PCA (at first I thought you were writing about the other type of PCA) with a lot of shadowing just to cover your bases.

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