How important will clinical volunteering be to MD/PhD applications (in light of COVID-19)?

  • A new admissions hurdle is becoming more common: the CASPer test. Learn more about it at a free webinar hosted by SDN and PrepMatch on May 6th. Register now!
  • Livestream AMA: Join SDN as we welcome Dr. John Ligon, a Pediatric Oncologist with the National Cancer Institute on May 11th at 8:00 PM Eastern. Register now!

boringknot

2+ Year Member
Mar 24, 2019
17
11
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Hello,

I am a Canadian senior who is looking to apply to American MD/PhD schools in the future (after an RA gap year or Masters). I believe at that time my app will be competitive (3.9X, 100th percentile MCAT, solid research experience, at least one pub, non-clinical volunteering, employment, etc.), however, the clinical side of my application is lacking. Right now:

Clinical volunteering: 20 hours (started Winter 2020, obviously postponed indefinitely in March)
Shadowing: None (basically illegal in Canada unless you have an MD family-friend, although I think most ADCOMS know this?)

I can't see the situation improving in my city this year to the point where they will allow clinical volunteering again. Even if they did, spots would be limited. How critical is clinical experience to an MD/PhD application? Will this change with COVID-19?

Thank you!

P.S. I do believe the rest of my app will help showcase why MD/PhD as opposed to just PhD
 

toofastdan

I like libraries
Sep 6, 2019
20
10
Installation 07
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Not a director or MD/PhD student, but I'm in a similar situation and here's what I've been doing to help show some clinical interests:

Some medical schools are offering virtual rounds. It's nice to attend these and email the docs because it gives you something to learn. Bonus points if you can talk about what you learned and why it's important in your app.

There are a TON of volunteer efforts designed to make more PPE. Masks, face shields, gloves, etc... There are also a lot of fundraisers/services designed to help those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic or for the unemployed. While not exactly "clinical volunteering", participating in these activities lets directors know that you're trying to be proactive about this situation.

Lastly, I think the rest of your app is really freaking good.
 
Last edited:
  • Love
Reactions: 1 user
About the Ads

Neuronix

Total nerd
Staff member
Administrator
Volunteer Staff
15+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2002
13,982
4,942
the beach
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
I don't think I can be of much help here. I've never been involved with admissions of internationals and the ones I've known have done undergrad or spent time in the US. Whether this specific issue will hurt you I'm not sure and is institution specific.
 

Fencer

MSTP Director
10+ Year Member
Oct 11, 2007
1,896
2,903
TEXAS (Eden)
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
The question on clinical hours aims to examine whether you understand what physicians do. For MD/PhD applicants, in general, we believe that doing 100 hours of physician shadowing is more than enough to show that you have had sufficient experience. Now, this cycle, many people are unable to get the clinical experiences.... Have you consider volunteering to help as a COVID-19 contact tracer, for example? Actually, that is a great clinical experience as you obtain a little bit of a clinical history during each phone call... Bottomline, the get thru your application examining whether you understand what physicians do....
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

boringknot

2+ Year Member
Mar 24, 2019
17
11
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Not a director or MD/PhD student, but I'm in a similar situation and here's what I've been doing to help show some clinical interests:

Some medical schools are offering virtual rounds. It's nice to attend these and email the docs because it gives you something to learn. Bonus points if you can talk about what you learned and why it's important in your app.

There are a TON of volunteer efforts designed to make more PPE. Masks, face shields, gloves, etc... There are also a lot of fundraisers/services designed to help those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic or for the unemployed. While not exactly "clinical volunteering", participating in these activities lets directors know that you're trying to be proactive about this situation.

Lastly, I think the rest of your app is really freaking good.

Thank you! I had no idea virtual rounds were a thing. Those are all great suggestions to be proactive about the situation.

The question on clinical hours aims to examine whether you understand what physicians do. For MD/PhD applicants, in general, we believe that doing 100 hours of physician shadowing is more than enough to show that you have had sufficient experience. Now, this cycle, many people are unable to get the clinical experiences.... Have you consider volunteering to help as a COVID-19 contact tracer, for example? Actually, that is a great clinical experience as you obtain a little bit of a clinical history during each phone call... Bottomline, the get thru your application examining whether you understand what physicians do....

Thanks for the suggestion! Yes certainly, I will try my best to show through the rest of my application that I understand the physician experience.
 

DNooch381

2+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2018
22
4
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Not a director or MD/PhD student, but I'm in a similar situation and here's what I've been doing to help show some clinical interests:

Some medical schools are offering virtual rounds. It's nice to attend these and email the docs because it gives you something to learn. Bonus points if you can talk about what you learned and why it's important in your app.

There are a TON of volunteer efforts designed to make more PPE. Masks, face shields, gloves, etc... There are also a lot of fundraisers/services designed to help those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic or for the unemployed. While not exactly "clinical volunteering", participating in these activities lets directors know that you're trying to be proactive about this situation.

Lastly, I think the rest of your app is really freaking good.
I know this thread is a bit dated, but would you mind sending over those virtual round resources? That would be so enjoyable in my evenings and sincerely appreciate the help!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

toofastdan

I like libraries
Sep 6, 2019
20
10
Installation 07
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Here's something that University of Colorado's program is doing. I've heard it's good from a few friends with both free and $50 options, but it is not in real-time. This is a prerecorded set of videos.
Virtual Shadowing - University of Colorado Section of Wilderness & Environmental Medicine
I'm personally an NIH Postbac and my institute has been doing virtual rounds in the morning. It's pretty limited in terms of patient interaction, but if you can email the doctors, it helps you learn a ton. If possible ask them some simple questions like "why do you enjoy your job". It can be quite inspiring.
 
About the Ads

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.