Gap Year- Non-clinical Research or Scribing?

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Hopingforsnacks

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Both would help you with your application- I'd just do what you want.

Kevin W, MCAT Tutor
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"Lab tech" as in washing test tubes and making solutions? Or will you get at least a publication and/or poster out of it? Don't do research in your gap year if you aren't involved in the actual process of research.

Also 4,000 of research versus 150 clinical hours? And you want to add another ~2,000 hours of research? Unless you are applying MD/PhD, that ratio of research to clinical experience leaves you open to getting lit up in interviews with questions like, "if you like research so much, why not just get a PhD? Why didn't you spend more time in the hospital/clinical if you claim to like medicine?

If you choose to scribe, try to do it for a local physician group, NOT a big company like ScribeAmerica.
 
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"Lab tech" as in washing test tubes and making solutions? Or will you get at least a publication and/or poster out of it? Don't do research in your gap year if you aren't involved in the actual process of research.

Also 4,000 of research versus 150 clinical hours? And you want to add another ~2,000 hours of research? Unless you are applying MD/PhD, that ratio of research to clinical experience leaves you open to getting lit up in interviews with questions like, "if you like research so much, why not just get a PhD? Why didn't you spend more time in the hospital/clinical if you claim to like medicine?

If you choose to scribe, try to do it for a local physician group, NOT a big company like ScribeAmerica.
"Lab tech" as in washing test tubes and making solutions? Or will you get at least a publication and/or poster out of it? Don't do research in your gap year if you aren't involved in the actual process of research.

Also 4,000 of research versus 150 clinical hours? And you want to add another ~2,000 hours of research? Unless you are applying MD/PhD, that ratio of research to clinical experience leaves you open to getting lit up in interviews with questions like, "if you like research so much, why not just get a PhD? Why didn't you spend more time in the hospital/clinical if you claim to like medicine?

If you choose to scribe, try to do it for a local physician group, NOT a big company like ScribeAmerica.
Thanks for the input—these are my exact concerns about taking the research position. I would be helping with running behavioral experiments for different studies, rat surgeries, analyzing data, maintaining transgenic lines, etc. The PI said that if I was willing to put in the time, publication could be an option. I don't have any publications at the moment, just 3 posters.

The reason why I haven't let go of this position yet is that this lab's research ties hand-in-hand with my long-standing interests in addiction, compulsive behaviors, specifically in eating behaviors, and my overarching interest in women's health. The eating disorder-specific research is a component of my "Why medicine" story. But I also get that I could seek clinical opportunities that fulfill this interest as well, and have the factor of working with people. The lab is a part of my target medical school, which is another factor that I don't know how I should weigh.

I've applied to various medical assistant positions also, but haven't had much luck because I don't already have MA experience. I'll keep trying though. I'm trying to gauge how worthwhile scribing is given that one doesn't formally interact with the patient—I've gotten all sorts of opinions from friends and mentors. If I was able to nail down the clinical volunteer experiences and add on an additional 200-300 hrs, would that still put me at a disadvantage given my research hours?

Thanks for your suggestions.
 
Thanks for the input—these are my exact concerns about taking the research position. I would be helping with running behavioral experiments for different studies, rat surgeries, analyzing data, maintaining transgenic lines, etc. The PI said that if I was willing to put in the time, publication could be an option. I don't have any publications at the moment, just 3 posters.

The reason why I haven't let go of this position yet is that this lab's research ties hand-in-hand with my long-standing interests in addiction, compulsive behaviors, specifically in eating behaviors, and my overarching interest in women's health. The eating disorder-specific research is a component of my "Why medicine" story. But I also get that I could seek clinical opportunities that fulfill this interest as well, and have the factor of working with people. The lab is a part of my target medical school, which is another factor that I don't know how I should weigh.

I've applied to various medical assistant positions also, but haven't had much luck because I don't already have MA experience. I'll keep trying though. I'm trying to gauge how worthwhile scribing is given that one doesn't formally interact with the patient—I've gotten all sorts of opinions from friends and mentors. If I was able to nail down the clinical volunteer experiences and add on an additional 200-300 hrs, would that still put me at a disadvantage given my research hours?

Thanks for your suggestions.
No. Go for the clinical component.
 
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Looking for advice: I'm a current graduate student finishing up my MA degree this year (research-based MA program) and I'm debating between a lab tech position or working with ScribeAmerica for my second gap year. I am applying to medical school in this upcoming cycle. The tech job is a full time, 40 hrs/week paid position in a behavioral neuroscience rodent lab. Their work fits hand-in-hand with my current research project and interests. This lab is also associated with my dream medical school. I have upwards of 4000 research hours from my undergraduate and graduate lab work, but only have ~140 hours of clinical experience, excluding shadowing hours (~120 hours). I'm wondering if I should be looking solely for a full time clinical position (scribing, etc.) for my gap year or if I should take this tech position and volunteer in the university's hospital on the side. Other students in the lab have introduced me to a few clinical volunteer positions (hospice) in the hospital that each have 4 hour shifts per week. Given that this lab is connected to the medical school, am I turning down a good opportunity if I decline it? How much emphasis do admissions put on potential clinical hours, assuming that my application will be submitted before I start volunteering?

Are there other good gap year opportunities that I'm missing? Thanks everyone!
I think you need more clinical more than you need more research. Is there anyway you can take a smaller role in the lab that would allow you to work at least half time as a scribe or in a paid clinical role?
 
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I think you need more clinical more than you need more research. Is there anyway you can take a smaller role in the lab that would allow you to work at least half time as a scribe or in a paid clinical role?
This PI told me that hours are flexible, but of course they would prefer a full time worker. Based on these suggestions and my gut instinct, I think I'm going to pass on this research position. There is another part time RA position in a clinical research lab at this university, though not paid, that fits with my overall story better and allows me to work with patients. I've been able to attend lab meetings and this seems like a promising experience! I'm also applying for a patient care attendant position at a local organization, so I'll be able to fill this year with more meaningful patient interactions.

Thank you all for your responses! They have been very helpful.
 
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This PI told me that hours are flexible, but of course they would prefer a full time worker. Based on these suggestions and my gut instinct, I think I'm going to pass on this research position. There is another part time RA position in a clinical research lab at this university, though not paid, that fits with my overall story better and allows me to work with patients. I've been able to attend lab meetings and this seems like a promising experience! I'm also applying for a patient care attendant position at a local organization, so I'll be able to fill this year with more meaningful patient interactions.

Thank you all for your responses! They have been very helpful.
Weekend CNA job would give you plenty of clinical experience, though not in your field of interest.
 
Here's a nice article that might be relevant to students working in a lab before applying to medical school!

 
M.A. jobs typically req a cert
If you keep applying, you'll eventually find one that doesn't require certification. Of course, you're going to have to really stand out in your interview to get it. I speak from personal experience. If you speak another language, that would really give you an edge. Otherwise, go for part-time jobs. Certified MAs typically look for full-time work. I interviewed for an MA position and the attending said none of his MAs are certified and all work part-time.

I'd be wary of scribing as it doesn't offer much room for direct patient interactions. Scribing is described here as "glorified shadowing". (I'm generalizing here, so don't give me any replies about how your scribing experience gives you direct patient interactions). But if you have plenty of direct patient contact from other experiences, it doesn't hurt to scribe. That said, do not fall into the trap many scribes fall into: using an example of the physician being good with their patients on your personal statement or most meaningful. Medical schools want to see that you are good with patients, not the physician you shadow or scribe for.

Assuming you have plenty of community service, volunteering, etc, my advice is to pursue an activity that aligns with your narrative, which is your goals in medicine and is something that makes your story unique. I call this experience the X Factor experience because it has a meaningful connection to the applicant's background and helps to shape their goals, which makes them and their application much more unique. I was introduced to a physician by his colleague because the colleague saw his work aligned with my goals in medicine. After chatting and seeing how our goals aligned, how my personal background connected with the issues he was working on and how I also want to address that issue, he told me to apply to an internship at the hospital he works for so I can work under him and learn more about his work. Regardless of whether the internship has patient interactions, it will play a significant role in my application and shaping my future goals in medicine; it will do much more to make me stand out than a scribing experience. I will also stand out more from any other premed taking this internship to explore medicine or to add another entry to their work/activity section.

Don't get me wrong, you still need to show medical schools you're good with patients. My point is once you've checked the boxes: community service, clinical exposure, etc, then it's a matter of finding an experience that has a personal connection to you and will play a significant role in shaping your goals. This will make you stand out much more than finding another clinical experience.
 
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