How do Adcoms View Personal Care Assistance/Home Care Aide?

monstercat129

monstercat129
Aug 31, 2017
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I’m not sure why these jobs aren’t discussed in our community, and it dawned on me that it maybe due to these jobs not being high priority. I’ve worked as a personal care assistant (PCA) for two years now. I’ve cared for Vietnam veterans, elderly with mental diseases, children and adults with autism, and others. Are these experiences seen as equal to that of a CNA or other clinical experiences by Adcoms, or are they deemed lesser?
 

Deltasidearm

2+ Year Member
Aug 15, 2018
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Personally, I think being an inpatient PCA is the best clinical experience most pre-meds have access to (and subsequently ignore). Without already coming in with a healthcare career, there is no beating the direct patient care that the role comes with and those experiences can really come out and shine in your essays.
 
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jhmmd

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Apr 28, 2020
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Fue Vue said:
I’m not sure why these jobs aren’t discussed in our community, and it dawned on me that it maybe due to these jobs not being high priority. I’ve worked as a personal care assistant (PCA) for two years now. I’ve cared for Vietnam veterans, elderly with mental diseases, children and adults with autism, and others. Are these experiences seen as equal to that of a CNA or other clinical experiences by Adcoms, or are they deemed lesser?
Like the great LizzyM says, "If you can smell the pts, it is clinical experience. Period. Point blank. End of story."

There isn't really a ranking system for clinical experience. If you are volunteering/working w/them, it is clinical exp. It's up to you how you want to describe it/use it for your app.
 

LizzyM

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Every word counts and so you need to be sure that the person you are helping is a PATIENT.

If they aren't a patient, it can still be a valuable and informative experience but it is not clinical.
 
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frosted2

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Jun 12, 2016
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I'd say it adds much more value to the world (and your app) than pipetting samples into a gel in a lab. Nothing like seeing and helping a patient in their own home.

Thank you for what you do, that is an incredibly hard job.
 
Sep 19, 2020
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I wish these types of jobs had the same emphasis as shadowing in the med school application process. As someone who's taken care of a parent with vascular dementia and hired personal care assistants, I can say the vast majority of them are not good and don't care. If smart, ambitious pre-med students took those jobs as a stepping stone and those jobs were valued by medical schools, it would make a world of difference for people with dementia and other illnesses that leave them homebound imo.
 

LizzyM

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I wish these types of jobs had the same emphasis as shadowing in the med school application process. As someone who's taken care of a parent with vascular dementia and hired personal care assistants, I can say the vast majority of them are not good and don't care. If smart, ambitious pre-med students took those jobs as a stepping stone and those jobs were valued by medical schools, it would make a world of difference for people with dementia and other illnesses that leave them homebound imo.

And you wouldn't mind the revolving door of assistants who stay no more than a few months? Be careful what you wish for.
 
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Sep 19, 2020
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And you wouldn't mind the revolving door of assistants who stay no more than a few months? Be careful what you wish for.
If you go through an agency, they don’t usually send the same person. It’s very hard to find someone outside of an agency (I wasn’t able to find anyone who could do it consistently.) So in my experience, it already is like that. Further, if you’re loved one is easily agitated or “difficult,” as often ends up being the case with dementia, it’s much harder to get someone consistently. So, it’s already a “revolving door.”
 
Sep 19, 2020
14
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At the end of the day, anything to get more people interested who care would be beneficial in my opinion. It’s really hard to find anyone decent.
 
Sep 19, 2020
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1
Why do you think this is the case?
I think it’s a thankless job and an extremely difficult thing to do every day. It’s emotionally taxing. And to work as a caregiver or personal care assistant, you basically get paid minimum wage. So who wants to do that? Taking care of my own parent, I had moments where I was going crazy. Eventually I just couldn’t do it anymore and it took me two years to find a place to care for her that was in my budget. The system we have to care for the elderly is not good, in my experience — of course, I am biased. I am sure there are many people out there who have found great, long-term caregivers for their loved ones, and have situated their loved ones in great facilities.
 

jhmmd

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Apr 28, 2020
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I think it’s a thankless job and an extremely difficult thing to do every day. It’s emotionally taxing. And to work as a caregiver or personal care assistant, you basically get paid minimum wage. So who wants to do that? Taking care of my own parent, I had moments where I was going crazy. Eventually I just couldn’t do it anymore and it took me two years to find a place to care for her that was in my budget. The system we have to care for the elderly is not good, in my experience — of course, I am biased. I am sure there are many people out there who have found great, long-term caregivers for their loved ones, and have situated their loved ones in great facilities.
Yea those workers are angels
 
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Mar 14, 2019
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I think it’s a thankless job and an extremely difficult thing to do every day. It’s emotionally taxing. And to work as a caregiver or personal care assistant, you basically get paid minimum wage. So who wants to do that? Taking care of my own parent, I had moments where I was going crazy. Eventually I just couldn’t do it anymore and it took me two years to find a place to care for her that was in my budget. The system we have to care for the elderly is not good, in my experience — of course, I am biased. I am sure there are many people out there who have found great, long-term caregivers for their loved ones, and have situated their loved ones in great facilities.
So the answer is to draft an army of highly motivated premeds by making it a preq for med school rather than improving pay and working conditions for caregivers, because that would cost families more money? Sounds great in theory, but in practice, there are apparently more fulfilling ways to perform paid clinical work as well as clinical volunteering, otherwise premeds would already be lining up without needing encouragement from med schools.
 
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Deltasidearm

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Aug 15, 2018
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in practice, there are apparently more fulfilling ways to perform paid clinical work as well as clinical volunteering, otherwise premeds would already be lining up without needing encouragement from med schools.

Honestly, while that may be the case, I do think it partly stems from a lack of education, too. Most premeds at my university have no idea that PCA jobs exist at the hospital that they are eligible for or what the job even entails. Those that are aware tend to think that they're intended for only nursing students (partly true--nursing students are encouraged to take those jobs and can use them to transition it to a nurse externship and job after graduation) or would rather be a scribe because it's the classic job for premeds (and some don't want to have to take care of patients like a PCA does, but medicine is not the career for you if this describes you, in my opinion).

I do agree, though, that the way to fix the PCA market should not be to rely on a cheap labor farm from premeds. Premeds who do things just to tick off boxes tend not to do a very competent job at their activities compared to those with a deeper motivation.
 
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jhmmd

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Honestly, while that may be the case, I do think it partly stems from a lack of education, too. Most premeds at my university have no idea that PCA jobs exist at the hospital that they are eligible for or what the job even entails. Those that are aware tend to think that they're intended for only nursing students (partly true--nursing students are encouraged to take those jobs and can use them to transition it to a nurse externship and job after graduation) or would rather be a scribe because it's the classic job for premeds (and some don't want to have to take care of patients like a PCA does, but medicine is not the career for you if this describes you, in my opinion).

I do agree, though, that the way to fix the PCA market should not be to rely on a cheap labor farm from premeds. Premeds who do things just to tick off boxes tend not to do a very competent job at their activities compared to those with a deeper motivation.
I agree wholeheartedly w/u on this
 

cantankerous

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Aug 5, 2015
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I wish these types of jobs had the same emphasis as shadowing in the med school application process. As someone who's taken care of a parent with vascular dementia and hired personal care assistants, I can say the vast majority of them are not good and don't care. If smart, ambitious pre-med students took those jobs as a stepping stone and those jobs were valued by medical schools, it would make a world of difference for people with dementia and other illnesses that leave them homebound imo.
I mean what do you expect from a job that pays ~$12-14 an hour for pretty involved work with lots of responsibility. Why would they care if you don't care about them? I don't know what you paid them personally or if you paid a big sum to an agency that ripped off its workers, but that's the normal rate for personal care assistants and indicates the quality of workers you would get.
 

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