LightShallBringVictory

2+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2017
40
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Hello, first of all, thank you for your interest and time to read my post.

I was wondering if I could get some advice on my gap year plan as things have not been going well. I have just graduated this Spring with a degree in biology. After moving back home, I started working as a scribe in July. Then after my last training session yesterday, I got a call that I was being terminated due to the lack of progress during my training.

I was going to continue on with this job for my gap year(s), and now with the opportunity gone, I am completely lost. I was initially going to take two gap years, and even that is about to be changed (thinking of taking just 1 year).

With my current situation, I think my options are as follows:

1. Take the MCAT in September and apply to DO schools this cycle (I think the wise @Goro said DO cycle was longer than that of MD, but I am not sure if taking the MCAT in September is still okay.) I am most likely to get between 505-508 by the time I take in September.
Continue volunteer work (8+ hours/week, starting in September, for underprivileged population)
Possible clinical volunteering (4 hours/week)

problem: not sufficient time for the MCAT, less ECs done
P.S. I have my personal statement completed


2. Wait another year and take more time for the MCAT, while continuing to volunteer.

problem: no stable job at the moment. Starting two years late.


I am leaning towards Option 1, if my MCAT does come out between 505-508 and also I will be applying heavily to DO schools (and a couple MD schools with regional bias) for Option 1.

If I get a stable job, I will probably go for Option 2. However, there are other life stressors at the moment like family and finances...

What option should I go for? Also, what job should I look into?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!! Thank you.
 
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Goro

Gold Donor
7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
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80,634
Somewhere west of St. Louis
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Hello, first of all, thank you for your interest and time to read my post.

I was wondering if I could get some advice on my gap year plan as things have not been going well. I have just graduated this Spring with a degree in biology. After moving back home, I started working as a scribe in July. Then after my last training session yesterday, I got a call that I was being terminated due to the lack of progress during my training (it was my 10th day of training).

I was going to continue on with this job for my gap year(s), and now with the opportunity gone, I am completely lost. I was initially going to take two gap years, and even that is about to be changed (thinking of taking just 1 year).

Before asking for what I should do from now, I would like to just briefly mention where I am in terms of stats and ECs.

cGPA 3.7, sGPA 3.6
MCAT: not taken yet. I took June 30th one, but I voided it. My AAMC FL I score from June was 508 (second time taking) and 502 in FL II.
I was going to retake it in January.

EC: Research for 2 years during undergrad. 1 poster session and 1 symposium
50 hours of clinical volunteering, 70 hours of nonclinical volunteering (both done over summers)
~30 hours of shadowing hours
(Even though I actually learned a lot, I don't think I should include my hours as a scribe, which is about 100 hours)

With my current situation, I think my options are as follows:

1. Take the MCAT in September and apply to DO schools this cycle (I think the wise @Goro said DO cycle was longer than that of MD, but I am not sure if taking the MCAT in September is still okay.) I am most likely to get between 505-508 by the time I take in September.
Continue volunteer work (8+ hours/week, starting in September, for underprivileged population)
Possible clinical volunteering (4 hours/week)

problem: not sufficient time for the MCAT, less ECs done
P.S. I have my personal statement completed


2. Wait another year and take more time for the MCAT, while continuing to volunteer.

problem: no stable job at the moment. Starting two years late.


I am leaning towards Option 1, if my MCAT does come out between 505-508 and also I will be applying heavily to DO schools (and a couple MD schools with regional bias) for Option 1.

If I get a stable job, I will probably go for Option 2. However, there are other life stressors at the moment like family and finances...

What option should I go for? Also, what job should I look into?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!! Thank you.
A Sept MCAT is fine.
 
Jul 12, 2017
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I got my CNA license (very quick process if you can find a good challenge course / resources to use to self study) and work as a Patient Care Assistant at a hospital near me. It's an EXCELLENT job with soooo much patient contact! If you're wanting a job, this is definitely something you should consider!
 
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mc_bio19

2+ Year Member
Mar 15, 2017
122
53
Virginia
Your AAMC practice scores are okay for DO, but I'm weary to suggest taking the MCAT again until you feel ready. You could certainly take the September MCAT and push for this cycle. You have good grades. I think it might be a more comfortable option though to take the year off, study for the MCAT and as someone mentioned above, possibly get a job as a CNA. Getting some more clinical volunteering hours under your belt will help, too.
 

workaholic181

2+ Year Member
May 29, 2017
1,292
818
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hello, first of all, thank you for your interest and time to read my post.

I was wondering if I could get some advice on my gap year plan as things have not been going well. I have just graduated this Spring with a degree in biology. After moving back home, I started working as a scribe in July. Then after my last training session yesterday, I got a call that I was being terminated due to the lack of progress during my training (it was my 10th day of training).

I was going to continue on with this job for my gap year(s), and now with the opportunity gone, I am completely lost. I was initially going to take two gap years, and even that is about to be changed (thinking of taking just 1 year).

Before asking for what I should do from now, I would like to just briefly mention where I am in terms of stats and ECs.

cGPA 3.7, sGPA 3.6
MCAT: not taken yet. I took June 30th one, but I voided it. My AAMC FL I score from June was 508 (second time taking) and 502 in FL II.
I was going to retake it in January.

EC: Research for 2 years during undergrad. 1 poster session and 1 symposium
50 hours of clinical volunteering, 70 hours of nonclinical volunteering (both done over summers)
~30 hours of shadowing hours
(Even though I actually learned a lot, I don't think I should include my hours as a scribe, which is about 100 hours)

With my current situation, I think my options are as follows:

1. Take the MCAT in September and apply to DO schools this cycle (I think the wise @Goro said DO cycle was longer than that of MD, but I am not sure if taking the MCAT in September is still okay.) I am most likely to get between 505-508 by the time I take in September.
Continue volunteer work (8+ hours/week, starting in September, for underprivileged population)
Possible clinical volunteering (4 hours/week)

problem: not sufficient time for the MCAT, less ECs done
P.S. I have my personal statement completed


2. Wait another year and take more time for the MCAT, while continuing to volunteer.

problem: no stable job at the moment. Starting two years late.


I am leaning towards Option 1, if my MCAT does come out between 505-508 and also I will be applying heavily to DO schools (and a couple MD schools with regional bias) for Option 1.

If I get a stable job, I will probably go for Option 2. However, there are other life stressors at the moment like family and finances...

What option should I go for? Also, what job should I look into?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!! Thank you.
A september MCAT is definitely fine and frankly even if you had scored the average of your AAMC FLs on June 30 you would have been highly competitive for DO this cycle.

That said I think you shouldn't rush an MCAT in 4 weeks if you're also stressed about this life development.

Depending on where you live, the above poster is right; it's not hard to find PCA jobs. I had one even without my CNA. They don't pay great but will give you tons of clinical hours and that plus a good MCAT score next spring and an early app would likely make you competitive for MD also.

Up to you OP! I'm sorry for your troubles, I'm sure it will work out.
 

AspiringD0c

2+ Year Member
Jun 23, 2017
250
192
Status
Medical Student
As others have stated, you can take the MCAT if you feel ready and if you believe you will hit the 505-508 mark, which based on the full lengths you should be able to. If you are looking for a job, look into Medical Assistant jobs. The one I got did not require any former certification or training, and it has a lot of patient contact as well as exposure to medicine that I feel has helped me prepare for medical school!
 
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LightShallBringVictory

2+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2017
40
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Thank you all for your advice, @Goro , @hayisferhorses , @mc_bio19 , @workaholic181 , @AspiringD0c -- I apologize for the belated response. I have been busy spending the past two weeks on looking for jobs.

First of all, I decided not to take the September MCAT and will take time to study and take it next year April or May.

As many of you mentioned, I looked into other clinical jobs like MA and CNA. All of the MA positions around me that I have checked so far required certification, so I had focus on CNA positions as its certification program takes less time. Unfortunately, many of CNA positions at least preferred a year of prior experience. Then I looked into other positions like ED techs, but these also require certifications. I will consider taking a CNA program once I can afford it. I also contacted a few other scribe positions, but so far no luck...

I fortunately have a few interviews for research assistant positions this week. I am not sure if these are paid positions, because I did not get the interviews through HR websites, but by contacting the PIs with interesting research interests to see if they were looking for a research assistant. I will ask them if the positions are paid, but should I still take it if not?

My questions are:
1. For clinical experience, what should I do? I have a hospital volunteering position starting in September, and will continue looking into clinical jobs. I was wondering what else I should do at the moment...

2. Related to question #1 -- I have about 120 hours from my scribe training, and I was wondering if I should even list it and how to put a positive spin. I did learn a lot during the training about what it was like to work as a physician.

3. At this point, I am also considering just doing a lot of volunteering, part-time work (non-research, non-clinical) and studying for the MCAT. How does this sound? I am just feeling that I am behind while everyone else has a job in research/clinical settings.

Thank you for your time to read my response!
 
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workaholic181

2+ Year Member
May 29, 2017
1,292
818
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Thank you all for your advice, @Goro , @hayisferhorses , @mc_bio19 , @workaholic181 , @AspiringD0c -- I apologize for the belated response. I have been busy spending the past two weeks on looking for jobs.

First of all, I decided not to take the September MCAT and will take time to study and take it next year April or May.

As many of you mentioned, I looked into other clinical jobs like MA and CNA. All of the MA positions around me that I have checked so far required certification, so I had focus on CNA positions as its certification program takes less time. Unfortunately, many of CNA positions at least preferred a year of prior experience. Then I looked into other positions like ED techs, but these also require certifications. I will consider taking a CNA program once I can afford it. I also contacted a few other scribe positions, but so far no luck...

I fortunately have a few interviews for research assistant positions this week. I am not sure if these are paid positions, because I did not get the interviews through HR websites, but by contacting the PIs with interesting research interests to see if they were looking for a research assistant. I will ask them if the positions are paid, but should I still take it if not?

My questions are:
1. For clinical experience, what should I do? I have a hospital volunteering position starting in September, and will continue looking into clinical jobs. I was wondering what else I should do at the moment...

2. Related to question #1 -- I have about 120 hours from my scribe training, and I was wondering if I should even list it and how to put a positive spin. I did learn a lot during the training about what it was like to work as a physician.

3. At this point, I am also considering just doing a lot of volunteering, part-time work (non-research, non-clinical) and studying for the MCAT. How does this sound? I am just feeling that I am behind while everyone else has a job in research/clinical settings.

Thank you for your time to read my response!
1) any job where you are around healthcare professionals and patients will suffice. MCAT is most important at this point so don't be too concerned with looking for other things on top of this job.

2) I would definitely talk about the medical terminology and EMR training you had as a scribe.

3) This wouldn't be a terrible option but the best case scenario is your working and preparing for a good MCAT score. If you did this option and had a bad score schools may wonder if you can handle the med school course load.
 
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LightShallBringVictory

2+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2017
40
1
Status
Pre-Medical
1) any job where you are around healthcare professionals and patients will suffice. MCAT is most important at this point so don't be too concerned with looking for other things on top of this job.

2) I would definitely talk about the medical terminology and EMR training you had as a scribe.

3) This wouldn't be a terrible option but the best case scenario is your working and preparing for a good MCAT score. If you did this option and had a bad score schools may wonder if you can handle the med school course load.

Thank you so much for your response. I think I will make up my mind once I am done with the interviews this week. For question 2), I was referring to listing my scribe training on my app later in the future as clinical experience. Do you think it is a good idea? Thanks in advance!
 

workaholic181

2+ Year Member
May 29, 2017
1,292
818
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Thank you so much for your response. I think I will make up my mind once I am done with the interviews this week. For question 2), I was referring to listing my scribe training on my app later in the future as clinical experience. Do you think it is a good idea? Thanks in advance!
Thank you so much for your response. I think I will make up my mind once I am done with the interviews this week. For question 2), I was referring to listing my scribe training on my app later in the future as clinical experience. Do you think it is a good idea? Thanks in advance!
If you're referring to like the online training module then I would classify it as work experience, not clinical. If you were in a clinical environment then classify it as clinical experience. Adcoms know what scribe training is and would see through your classifying taking some online quizzes about medical terms if that's the case.
 
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LightShallBringVictory

2+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2017
40
1
Status
Pre-Medical
If you're referring to like the online training module then I would classify it as work experience, not clinical. If you were in a clinical environment then classify it as clinical experience. Adcoms know what scribe training is and would see through your classifying taking some online quizzes about medical terms if that's the case.

I was referring to actual scribing (in the presence of a trainer), so I think it counts as clinical -- last question; how should I describe it on my app? "Medical scribe on-site training - learned how to assist physicians with electronic medical records and the patient-physician interactions"? Thank you so much for your help thus far!
 

workaholic181

2+ Year Member
May 29, 2017
1,292
818
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I was referring to actual scribing (in the presence of a trainer), so I think it counts as clinical -- last question; how should I describe it on my app? "Medical scribe on-site training - learned how to assist physicians with electronic medical records and the patient-physician interactions"? Thank you so much for your help thus far!
Yep that sounds good.. and I agree that should count as clinical experience.
 
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863168

@LightShallBringVictory You are giving away too much information that can jeopardize a potential interview. Do not self-sabotage yourself.

In my opinion, do not record the scribe experience as being on-site training. Let them ask during the osteopathic school/job interview regarding your past experience and then you can tell them that you left the company. If you get pressed then you write it off as being philosophical work related differences. There is a Gentleman's Agreement that people don't press too hard on how you choose to accumulate your work experience, if you're going to accumulate work experience. There is also a law in place that your previous place of work cannot impede upon your chances of gaining employment at a new place of work. However, if you recently got fired I suggest that you talk to management/HR and clarify to them that you had left and will not be filing for unemployment assuming you aren't going to... which is win-win for both parties. Usually HR will tell the other place of work just the amount of time you spent with them in order to avoid any legal issues.
 
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Kkshake

2+ Year Member
Sep 21, 2016
344
379
Status
Medical Student
If you want clinical experience you can always work at a plasma center, they're always hiring because they have such high turnover.
 
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863168

@LightShallBringVictory When you looked for CNA opportunities were you looking at nursing homes? The question is rhetorical, because they wouldn't turn away a body. Hospitals on the other hand must be selective with who they select on principle. Especially if it is someone with little to no working despite, despite having volunteer experience.
 
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LightShallBringVictory

2+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2017
40
1
Status
Pre-Medical
@Pina Colada

Thanks so much for the detailed advice. I did not know that there was such a code of conduct and even a law on previous employment history. May I ask you to elaborate on what you meant by "giving away too much information" and what I should ask the HR for? I am not familiar with employment processes. Thanks in advance. Also, yes, I actually started looking into nursing home CNA positions, and there were definitely many openings. I am planning to take a CNA course in about a week!
 
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863168

Post edited out as per request.
 
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863168

@LightShallBringVictory New graduates when looking for jobs need to understand that working for a company of any kind is a two way street. When you walk into the workplace you are devalued into a commodity in order to generate revenue for the business. Once you lose value to the company, then they can discard you at-will. However, this isn't a one-sided arrangement. At the same time you are allow to quit working for your place of work when you feel like you don't have anything to gain. Now if you need favors or a recommendation, it doesn't hurt to give them the standard two weeks notice or to make sure they have found a replacement before you leave. For the worker it is important that you don't burn your bridges. You never know who your future employer is going to be and if they end up being related to a prior place of work or having a connection to that place of work.
 
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LightShallBringVictory

2+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2017
40
1
Status
Pre-Medical
@Pina Colada
I learned many lessons from my first real job, and I will try harder to retain my value for my next job. Thank you very much for your advice so far. Lastly, I apologize for asking you again, but what should I tell the HR/management regarding the unemployment? Also how should I describe my scribe experience on my application (as you mentioned "giving away too much information")? I am thinking of listing it as "Medical scribe for ? hours"
 
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863168

@LightShallBringVictory To be honest, it's not necessary to discuss this with HR/management at all. The laws are already in place to protect you as a worker. For work related purposes, I wouldn't list it in your resume because having one to two months of employment indicates that you are someone who could be a flight-risk. There are graduateswho take on jobs for only one or two months and then just vanish because they don't feel fulfilled or it was a job they wanted. Such ideas play into the entitlement culture view that millenials want jobs that they love, which is a notion that doesn't actually exist for a majority of people.

Also, nursing home jobs are looking for CNA employment, you don't need certification in most subacute areas from my n=1 experience. You can start working and then they will usually offer a subsidy to pay for your CNA certification. As for medical school applications, I think that putting down the experience as scribe experience can have merit if you want to highlight it as part of your personal statement. Explain why you thought that being a CNA would be a better experience than being a medical scribe and how it plays to your strengths. How it highlights who you are as a healthcare provider and how it played into the process of being a learning experience.

If you're not planning on using the experience as an example of learning through failure or life experience, then you may simply benefit from putting it down as shadowing rather than scribe experience. It depends on what you are comfortable with doing and how you imagine an adcom would look through your experience and determine whether you are worth a slot in their medical school. You need to start figuring out the angles.

If your car dies all of a sudden and it's not able to function as a car, but you can't afford to buy another car with your current expense, what do you do? You compromise. You salvage. You take parts that are of merit and you use them so it wasn't a complete waste of time. People do this all the time, they sell themselves and they rehash events in order to contextualize themselves as being in control of their life and the events around them. You are allowed to slip a number of times in life, but I feel like there is a limit to how much of a mess you can be. If you are really going to be responsible for a healthcare team that oversees a patient's care, then you must at least be accountable for success in your own life. You have to show that you have self-agency and that you can go from: having needs → forming plans → executing those plans. Need a job → applied to these jobs → got the job. Mr. Smith presents with hypertension → administer diuretic pending dx on pts b.p. q4h → pt bp drop if not hold until morning for pts pcp for pmhx
 
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