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How much Clinical Experience is Enough?

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johncalvin

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I volunteered at an ER for 4 months (16 weeks x ~3 hrs./week) = 50 hours.

I also shadowed a cardiologist, in his clinic, for a day. Is this enough?

Should I get more clinical experience? If I get some more now, so close the application, doesn't it make it look like I'm just doing it to put on my application?
 

Stratego

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I'm sure every adcomm has a different idea of what they consider adequate clinical exposure. To me, yours seems on the sparse side relative to what the average applicant has to list, which is well over a year of clinical experience and shadowing 2-3 types of doctors for a day to a week each. I'm sure you can fix the shadowing aspect of your application before you submit.
 

johncalvin

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No shadowing 1 doctor for 1 day is NOT ENOUGH!!!! You need to shadow several doctors for at least a few days each or at least a couple of docs or so for at least a few weeks each.

As per volunteering, a lot of applicants will have like 2-3 years of volunteerism except those that decided later in life or towards end of their college career to do medicine. you need to volunteer more and update them as you go on with the app and shadow more. You will be competing against people who have been volunteering for years i.e. 100s if not 1000s of hours, people who have shadowed multiple physicians with multiple hours of shadowing, people who have EMTs, people who have CNAs, people who have PCTs or phlebotomy licenses or medical assistants or nurses who have changed careers. They want to see that you know what medicine is.. So you should strengthen this aspect of your app. Your 4 months volunteering is a start and perhaps you can shadow docs in the ER if you still have connections.

Well, I also volunteered at the same hospital as a machine chart and machine courier for 100+ hours, but that was 3 years ago (senior year high school). But I'll take your advice and get some more experience before interview season.
 

johncalvin

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yah I think shadowing is fixable. I'd also start volunteering somewhere in a clinic or hospital and list its start date and say til present. Other new things I would put up as an update letter. do not worry about them thinking you are doing it for your resume. feel free to send updates unless a school says specifically that you should not send updates i.e. Albany said once you were complete not to send updates. Most schools I know that I applied to said updates preinterview were ok. Postinterview is another story altogether. This is why one friend put off an interview one year. so she could send updates since she was weak in clinical stuff and wanted to show she had stuff and couldn't do so once the interview happened.

So I will probably re-start volunteering a couple of days before I submit AMCAS. So, I will list "to present..." Hopefully, that won't be considered misleading since I will have racked up some hours before the interview.
 
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