Via backside attack
10+ Year Member
Sep 22, 2008
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i'm a freshman biology major who is doing the whole pre-med thing, and i have a couple of questions; hopefully i posted this in the right section.

i understand when applying to medical school a major factor of being accepted deals with shadowing/clinical experience. however, i go to school in florida where it is nearly impossible to shadow a physician or get some time in at the hospital. in fact, it COSTS $180 to VOLUNTEER at the hospital nearest to my university. to volunteer at the hospital near my home, i have to wait through a 2-year long wait list for volunteers to quit/die/get into medical school.

because of this, i've tried to seek "alternatives" in order to receive clinical experience. when i'm at school, i volunteer at a hospice house, where i hang out with terminally ill patients. although it's not a hospital, it provides a hospital-like setting with doctors, nurses, hospital beds, smells, etc. the nurses also teach me some cool **** like how to place an IV.

i also volunteer at a medical examiners office (weird, i know, but if you ever get the chance to hacksaw through a man's skull, i highly recommend you jump on it).

so my question is, do these cut it (no pun intended)? i know they're not exactly the typical clinical experiences many of you have had, but as of right now, it's the best i can do. should i stick with this for the next four years to show commitment? are these acceptable/respectable means of clinical experience?

thanks guys.

Where there's a will, there's a way. You should find one clinical experience and one volunteer experience and stick with those for as long as you can. It shows more commitment than jumping around here and there, spending only weeks in several different experiences, plus you get to know doctors/employers/directors better and you can collect stronger LOR's.


10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2007
I think that adcomms will find your experiences refreshing to read about since they are different than the usual hospital volunteering. Consistency and longevity are definitely valued when your clinical experiences are evaluated. Also, I think it's great that you "thought outside the box" when faced with the difficulty of getting a hospital volunteerism gig in your town. While volunteering at hospice, you'll meet physicians. After you get to know some docs, hit on them for shadowing experiences, so you'll also get a view of hospital and office medicine.

As long as you're spending 3-4 hours/week volunteering (not counting vacation weeks), you'll be fine, since you have years to accumulate hours. Don't go crazy and spend so much time that you endanger your GPA.
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10+ Year Member
May 16, 2007
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As long as you can convince them that you know what the life and job of a physician is like you'll probably be fine. I don't think shadowing is so much about the cool procedures as it is learning more about bedside manner, the skills and strength it takes day to day, and gaining insight into what makes a good doctor. If you can learn all this without actually shadowing and convince the interviewers of it, then it's all good.


10+ Year Member
Dec 2, 2008
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  1. Pre-Medical
What school do you go to? I also go to school in Florida and have had so many opportunities to shadow and volunteer. I'm really curious as to what part of Florida is so ridiculous like that.
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