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hospital volunteering.... I'm just starting out!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by sunfest, May 30, 2002.

  1. sunfest

    sunfest Junior Member
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    hey :) I've been lurking for a couple of months and just got myself registered :) yippee!!

    I've got two years before I'm applying. Grades aren't a problem, but I need to work on my extracurriculars.

    I thought I'd start out with volunteering, since that seems relatively straight forward... But what can I do to make my volunteering efforts stand out from all of the other applicants who do volunteering? What can I do differently?

    There's a couple of hospitals near me. The biggest one has no open spots in the emergency department, but has lots of availability if I want to work with the nurses... Should I just take the nurse thing to start off with, or wait until they can get me into the ED?

    Is it possible to volunteer in specialty areas? This one hospital said that they only had Emergency department and Pediatrics for their volunteering programs.

    Does anyone know of an organization that might help match students with volunteering experiences (not necessarily just hospital)?

    Any tricks to making the volunteering experience better? I've never volunteered before and would be open to any suggestions :)

    Thanks!!

    sunfest :)
     
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  3. DaisukeFire

    DaisukeFire New Member

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    I cant really give you any advice because I'm pretty much in the same boat lol. I start my first time volunteering next week. But if you want to get more exposure to some specialties, you could try shadowing a few physicians.
     
  4. SolidGold

    SolidGold Florida winters are the best!
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    My experience in an ED tells me to suggest to you that you volunteer in a smaller, less busy department. The ED I volunteered in really did not let us do much at all except wheel people around to x-ray, ct and MRI...oh, and give out water and blankets. On the other hand, my little sis started to volunteer in a wound care department of a hopspital recently. She gets to actually be there when the doctors treat the patients, unlike in the ED, were we had to peer through a blinded windows if we wanted to see a trauma case.

    Anyways, my point is that you want to be able to see as many patients (not in a doctor kind of way), so that you can really learn something relevent to your decision regarding your career choice in medicine. Physician shadowing is another option, but it really does not fall into the category of "giving back to you community"
     
  5. tater tot

    tater tot Member
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    hi guys! i believe that any experience is good experience. I wouldn't go too crazy worrying about. you have to do what you like and what interests you --- whether it is typical or not. The more interested you are, the more motivating and exciting it will be and more door will open up.
    as for clinical experince working with Dr.'s , nurses...whatever! clinical is clinical and we all work together and learn from each other. with more exposure you will certainly meet lots of people. follow different ppl around, spread the word of your interests.
    good luck! :D
     
  6. SolidGold

    SolidGold Florida winters are the best!
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    I need to get a new keyboard or something, my typing is getting horrible.
     
  7. none

    none 1K Member
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    Make sure to try VA Hospitals. VA Hospitals have the absolute most deserving of patients and are often critically underserved, relying heavily on their volunteer population. Ask if you can work in the E.R. late at night. That's when the fewest volunteers are around and the oddest stuff happens.
    Here's the contact info for your local VA:
    113 Holland Avenue
    Albany, NY 12208
    COMM: (518) 626-5000
    Fax: (518) 626-5500
     
  8. SolidGold

    SolidGold Florida winters are the best!
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    tater tot has a good point, clinical experience and patient contact is what med schools love to see no matter how you do it.

    Nursing homes and hospices are also good places to volunteer at because if you think about it, a lot of your patients will be elderly no matter what specialty you enter, and being able to deal with people who are dying are is a huge part of being a doctor.
     
  9. Bikini Princess

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    Whatever you do, be darn sure that you will be:

    1: Interacting with patients.

    2. Interacting with doctors.

    These things are the meat of any clinical experience. These things will write your personal statement. Only with these can one say 'I want to be a doctor'.

    Also, make sure there's a nice, caring, friendly mentor to supervise you during your day. : )
     
  10. Bikini Princess

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    By the way, I like the thing about the VA hospitals...

    "and the oddest stuff happens" <- lol
     
  11. brickmanli

    brickmanli Senior Member
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    I was in the same situation as you a year ago. I had good grades, shadowed doctors, did research, but no real exposure to patients. That's why I took a year off to remedy that. Up here in the Yale-New Haven Hospital, there's a very innovative program where they train you for eight hours, after that you get to talk to elderly patients (most of whom are very sick and on the brink), fulfill their small demands like getting water and feeding, and do some range of motion exercises. It's an awesome activity, I'm getting wiser everyday getting to know the patient side of the story.

    THe reason I mentioned this is not to brag, but to relate to you that the kind of activity matters, and they're not created equal. Remember to ask around (I agree about VA hospitals), tell them specifically your interests. Do something that you enjoy and have enough stories to write on your essays and material for your interviews.

    My advice is seek what you want by yourself first, then go to your school's pre-med society as a last resort, because then you're into the bureaucracy.

    Anyway, good luck. Start it ASAP. Summer is a great time to do it while other pre-meds are vacationing, plus hours are more flexible.
     
  12. SolidGold

    SolidGold Florida winters are the best!
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    I like the thing about VA hospitals too, that would look good on a personal statement as well. I would have volunteered in a VA hospital but it was just too far from my house.
     

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