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How does one get clinical/shadowing experience?

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GreyBlueEyes

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i'm earning my AS in math and science this semester and am still going full time, but i think it's going to be another 2 years before i apply. what i'm wondering is how people get the experience for their app? how do you get shadowing experience? do you just cold call doctors and ask? and do you concentrate on the specialty you plan to pursue? for instance, i plan to do psychiatry...should i just shadow psychiatrists (can you even do that?) or other doctors as well?

the clinical is what i really question. i'd have no trouble getting various kinds of volunteer work, but i don't even know where to start when it comes to finding something clinical.

i apologize if this is a stupid/answered question, and i really appreciate any advice.
 

shortitalian

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The best method I have learned for getting shadowing experiences is to use any and all connections I have to physicians. For instance, the ENT I have shadowed several times is actually my ENT, so he was quick to let me observe him because he already knew me. I am not sure if cold calling works because I have not had to do it for any of my shadowing, so I invite other replies about how to approach that way. A pre-health club at your school might keep a list of physicians that are willing to let pre-med students shadow them. I have only encountered two physicians that prefer only to let medical students shadow them.

To answer your second question, you need to shadow physicians from a variety of specialties. I understand that you want to be a psychiatrist, but you will not have a well-rounded view of the field of medicine unless you branch out. Medical schools will want to see that you have observed what it is like to be a physician in general, not specifically one specialty. You are free, however, to focus more on psychiatrists, but make sure you have watched some others, as well.

Hope that helps.
 

GreyBlueEyes

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that's extremely helpful, thank you :)

my school does have a pre-med org, and i know they provide connections for volunteer work, but i didn't think to ask about shadowing. i'll be sure and do that. i'm transferring there and start in january, so i haven't had a chance to meet with them yet. and i'll be sure to shadow with a variety of specialties; thanks for including that advice as well :)
 

Powers

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the clinical is what i really question. i'd have no trouble getting various kinds of volunteer work, but i don't even know where to start when it comes to finding something clinical.

If you're able to work even part-time, you can get some good clinical experience that way and get a little money to boot. I worked as a clinical assistant at a local hospital--the schedule was very flexible so I could sign up for shifts that fit into my class schedule. It's not glamorous work, but they'll teach you everything you need to know and it's great patient-contact experience.
 

GreyBlueEyes

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If you're able to work even part-time, you can get some good clinical experience that way and get a little money to boot. I worked as a clinical assistant at a local hospital--the schedule was very flexible so I could sign up for shifts that fit into my class schedule. It's not glamorous work, but they'll teach you everything you need to know and it's great patient-contact experience.

i was planning to stick to volunteer work, but it would certainly be nice if i could get experience that would pay a little :) do you need some sort of background/training to get a job as a clinical assistant? i think that's what i've wondered about the most: how people get positions (paid or volunteer) in a clinical setting when they're not even in med school yet.

obviously, i know very little about how all this works. i only decided a few months ago to jump onto this train :)
 

Powers

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i was planning to stick to volunteer work, but it would certainly be nice if i could get experience that would pay a little :) do you need some sort of background/training to get a job as a clinical assistant? i think that's what i've wondered about the most: how people get positions (paid or volunteer) in a clinical setting when they're not even in med school yet.

obviously, i know very little about how all this works. i only decided a few months ago to jump onto this train :)

Being a clinical assistant doesn't require certification (other than what you'll get after you complete the hospital's own training), and hospitals are seemingly always in need of people to do this kind of work. I got hired with zero clinical experience. For the first few weeks I followed another CA around to get a handle on the work and then I went through about a week of classroom-style training. The hospital even paid for me to attend phlebotomy and telemetry classes at the local community college (short two-day deals). A really good resource is the employment postings page on your local hospital's website. Good luck!:luck:
 

GreyBlueEyes

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Being a clinical assistant doesn't require certification (other than what you'll get after you complete the hospital's own training), and hospitals are seemingly always in need of people to do this kind of work. I got hired with zero clinical experience. For the first few weeks I followed another CA around to get a handle on the work and then I went through about a week of classroom-style training. The hospital even paid for me to attend phlebotomy and telemetry classes at the local community college (short two-day deals). A really good resource is the employment postings page on your local hospital's website. Good luck!:luck:

i really can't thank you enough. i am definitely going to explore this possibility!
 

njhanson82

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i had absolutely no connections whatsoever. so i just picked up a phonebook and started calling doctors. i called about 15 and got three to let me shadow. other than that, there are plenty of clinical related jobs out there. you've got plenty of time!
 

GreyBlueEyes

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thank you so much :) i've found a couple of volunteer positions at a local hospital i'd love to do. maybe i'll get some connections through that (i have none either). if not, i'll do what you did!
 
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