muffeoniv

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What do we all think about hospice volunteering for a pre-med, I also volunteer in the emergency room of a hospital... I think volunteering in a hospice shows medical schools you can cope with death and personally, I'm intrigued with death and would love this type of experience. How do you think admissions commites look at it? How many pre-meds actually volunteer at a hospice?
 

Mbeas

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What do we all think about hospice volunteering for a pre-med, I also volunteer in the emergency room of a hospital... I think volunteering in a hospice shows medical schools you can cope with death and personally, I'm intrigued with death and would love this type of experience. How do you think admissions commites look at it? How many pre-meds actually volunteer at a hospice?

its a good volunteering opportunity but its not as unique as you think
 

LizzyM

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I consider it a plus and I've never seen an adcom member discount it or be critical of it.

It is not very common except among Yale students.... I think that they have some sort of organized program that connects students to a local hospice facility.
 
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LizzyM

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Very depressing

On the contrary, the goal is pain control, time with loved ones, a sense of peace and enjoyment of one's last days...

Some offer live music and cocktails a couple times a week. My mom told me of a former coworker who had a Manhattan cocktail and crabcakes the day before she died at hospice.
 
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I would suggest against it unless you have a particular reason.

My patients kept dying and you do become attached. They become like an extra grandma or grandpa. And, they don't die when the time is right for you either.
 

muffeoniv

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I appreciate death if that sounds weird, but are of the reason I want to become a doctor... so I will be doing it as it will play a big part in my interview in explaining why i want to become a doctor.
 
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hospice work as been a remarkable experience for me. it's really settled my own questions about compassion and whether i belong in this profession or not. i couldn't imagine a more rich and fulfilling volunteering experience.
 
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I think that hospice volunteering is just fine.

However, there is one side of it that can be considered negative by some people.

Death and dying is a highly personal and horrible thing. In a way, students who are essentially still young kids can be seen as coming in to a hospice for the "valuable" experience. Almost as if they are using these very critical and painful moments in others' lives for their selfish gain.

(Sure, some people in regular hospitals are terminally ill, but they only make up a fraction of the patient population.)
 

LizzyM

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interesting angle ModerateMouse. I've never heard that from adcoms and the types of things that are written in essays about the experiences tend to be very respectful and humble.

It is my understanding that there is a significant period of training before anyone actually sees a patient so doing it to "check a box" is less common, I think.
 

Schizotypy

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Volunteering at a hospice has been a great experience for me, and I have learned a lot. I agree with the above poster who said they learned a lot about their compassionate tendencies.

Regarding ModerateMouse's comment, I see your point; however, I specifically chose to volunteer at the hospice as opposed to a hospital because I felt that in such a setting I could interact directly with patients to contribute (and learn) in a meaningful way. It might just be a personal preference as to exactly what kind of impact you want to have on the situation and vice versa.

Regarding LizzyM's comment, we had about 24 hours of training before we could start volunteering.

The hospice I volunteer at has both an inpatient unit for respite and symptom management and a residential unit for long-term care, which makes it a great experience in both building long-term relationships and in seeing more short-term, serious situations. I disagree that hospice is "very depressing;" sometimes it is sad, but there are a lot of lighthearted, fun moments to be had. People who are terminally ill do not have to lose their spark, sense of humor, or a fun-loving nature.

As everyone said, don't volunteer here just so you'll "stand out" with a unique volunteering experience, do it because of what you and the patients will get out of it.
 
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What do we all think about hospice volunteering for a pre-med, I also volunteer in the emergency room of a hospital... I think volunteering in a hospice shows medical schools you can cope with death and personally, I'm intrigued with death and would love this type of experience. How do you think admissions commites look at it? How many pre-meds actually volunteer at a hospice?

One nice thing about hospice volunteering is that you get to see the same patient over time. With so many other volunteer positions, you see a patient once and then never see them again.
 

Remuneration

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The type of hospice setting in which you work can also vastly alter your experiences. Most often students think cancer when they think hospice patients, but in the extended care / nursing facility setting cancer is as often as not just one of several co-morbidities. Limited orientation, dementia, diabetes, and the limitations of age are all common. Loneliness, anxiety, and depression are not uncommon.

The wonderful moments you hear about in training do happen; there are times where you absolutely feel as if you've made someone's day. There are also many times in which patients will be asleep, will not want company, will repeat the same brief conversation ten times in as many minutes, or will be largely disconnected with reality. It can be a great joy, but it can also be a highly frustrating experience.
 
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