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Ideas for gaining experience

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by KCOM2005, May 1, 2001.

  1. KCOM2005

    KCOM2005 Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Feb 17, 2001
    Likes Received:
    I just thought that I would share with others what I have done since I graduated from undergrad in order to gain medical experience. I should preface this by saying that I was planning on taking one year off, it turned out to be two (we all know how that goes).

    Anyway, that first summer I took a 5 week class (most classes are 2 weeks) at a nursing home so that I could become a CNA. After the class I worked in the nursing home for a couple of months. This experience was an eye opener and I wouldn't trade it for anything (made me humble). Yet, it didn't take long to figure out why the national turnover rate for CNA's is 93% annually.

    Shortly after I got my CNA certification I applied for a job at a hospital. For not knowing much about how the hospital works, I lucked out by getting a job on the cardiac step-down unit. I started as a CNA on the floor working 8 hour shifts. I soon figured out why people like 12 hour shifts and switched (working 3 days a week is ideal).

    After a couple of months on the floor my clinical manager sent me to telemetry tech class. Soon afterwards I started working as one of the main day tele techs. I can't tell you how much I have learned as a tech. My job is to sit in front of 5 monitors all day and continuously analyze the heart rhythms of 40-50 patients. As you can imagine, this has allowed me to really learn about cardiac eletrophysiology. When it's your job, you pay attention (especially when people's lives are in your hands). This job allows you to work with all sorts of health care providers, from the CNA's to the cardiologists. I have now been doing the job for a year and a half and I still enjoy it. I would highly recommend this type of job for anyone who is applying to med school. I had plenty of time to work on applications and plenty of time just to relax. Yes, when school starts this fall it will probably be a big shock to my system.

    Another job I would suggest is a Unit Secretary position. Many people don't know it, but these people are often the heart and soul of a floor. The work they do is almost impossible (deciphering doctors orders). I occasionally work this position and I know it will be a constant reminder of how to write legibly and logically.

    During my time at the hospital I have had many opportunities to speak with nurses, doctors, and others about my future. This has been very helpful. For example, before working here I really was pretty ignorant as to what the differences are between DO's and MD's. But after speaking with DO's and MD's who work side by side, many of my misconceptions were resolved. As proof that the differences to most people are minuscule, ask RN's about the differences. I'll bet you that the majority of them can't even tell you which doctors are DO's and which are MD's. And the nurses who can will often tell you that they enjoy working with DO's and that they think the training DO's get shares some great philosophies with that of the education nurses get.

    Anyway, these are opportunities that I think offer many benefits for those seeking a career in medicine.

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