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Last summer I worked a fulltime job and didn't have a whole lot of spare time to shadow. However, I did manage to spend 6 twelve-hour shifts with an ED physician. Is this enough overall clinical experience, or do you think I need more hours and more varied outlooks than just emergency medicine? I feel like I don't know how much more I could get out of shadowing a doctor, and if I'm not shadowing I don't want to do my volunteering in a hospital, simply because I feel like I can be more helpful to the community in other ways of volunteering, such as habitat for humanity, where I can actually contribute skills.

Thanks!
 

MilkmanAl

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That's definitely not enough, in my opinion. Try getting a job (at least part-time) in a clinical setting and working that for awhile. You could also go volunteer at a hospital. At the very least, try shadowing another type of physician. You've got to do something else. 72 hours of shadowing isn't going to cut it.
 

lord_jeebus

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The real question is, are you willing to commit to over 200 thousand dollars in debt and a lifelong career that will likely involve long hours, overnight call, lawsuits, decreasing compensation year after year, likely in a field of medicine you've never been exposed to, based on 72 hours in the ED?
 

bioteach

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Every application is different, but I'd imagine you want more just to be safe. If you don't want to stand around and fold bedsheets in the ER, try getting patient contact (clinical experience) in an indirect fashion. For example: I am an animal lover and I have two rescued greyhounds. I got them certified in an animal assisted therapy program and take them to a nearby hospital weekly. We visit patients in the ICU, med/surg/peds, and ER. Its a heck of a lot more fun (and I think I'm contributing more to the patient's overall experience in the hospital) than the standard ER volunteer position (which I did as well for a summer). Not a single interviewer asked about my ER volunteering but just about every one had tons of questions/comments about the animal assisted therapy volunteering.
 

elderjack21

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The real question is, are you willing to commit to over 200 thousand dollars in debt and a lifelong career that will likely involve long hours, overnight call, lawsuits, decreasing compensation year after year, likely in a field of medicine you've never been exposed to, based on 72 hours in the ED?

No doubt many have committed with much less exposure than that....I wonder how disappointed they are now?
 

SamusLives

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Yeah, I applied to med school with a lot less clinical experience ( I can't stress "a lot less" enough). Frankly, shadowing someone or volunteering at a hospital does not give you a good picture of what being a doctor is about. I had friends who had "lots" of volunteer experience at hospitals, which amounted to answering phones or doing paperwork. People who shadowed really didn't know what the doctors were doing (cuz they hadn't been through med school, duh).

You know what...I love being a medical student, and I'm looking forward to starting my intern year July 1st. I think "clinical experience" is just a hurdle to jump through, so you can put it on your app. People tend to play up their clinical experience, as if they were practicing medicine the whole time.

I know what I'm saying is cynical, but the only reason you might want more clinical experience is to put it on your app, cuz there are other people who might have more. Other than that, its unlikely that someone who is on the verge of applying to med school (having gone through years of work), will change their minds based on "clinical experience".
 

T12

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Yeah I never really bought that notion that you have to have spent thousands of hours following someone around at their job to be sure its what you want to do.

I mean, if I wanted to be an astronaut...would I have to find a way to log 500 hours in space just to make sure its what I wanted to do?

Granted, you should explore the profession before committing, but to suggest that there is some minimum requirement of clinical hours before one can possibly be certain they've made the right decision is absurd.

And I think 72 hours of shadowing is plenty...diversity would be preferred in my opinion, but the total number of hours is fine in my view. Obviously this would assume the inclusion of non-shadowing experience at some point or another.
 

kevster2001

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That's definitely not enough, in my opinion. Try getting a job (at least part-time) in a clinical setting and working that for awhile. You could also go volunteer at a hospital. At the very least, try shadowing another type of physician. You've got to do something else. 72 hours of shadowing isn't going to cut it.
What are you talking about, 72 hours is fine. Clinical experience isnt that important if you have other factors that make up for it (and it doesnt take much). You dont need to be wrist deep in a patient's rectum 24/7 to have adequate clinical exp for med school.
 

ChubbyChaser

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As long as you can convince them that you know what you are getting into.
 

Doc Henry

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In my personal opinion, this is not enough experience. Can you honestly tell me you have a clear picture of what medicine will be like? You haven't even gotten your hands dirty. I know I'm at the extreme end of clinical experience, so I may have a distorted view of what is acceptable, but even giving you the benefit of the doubt, I still don't think that is enough. I have met with several MDs and DOs (at teaching hospitals) who are writing me letters and they have all commented that my abundant clinical experience gives them a lot of confidence in my ability to decide that medical school is really right for me. I'm not saying you wont be able to get it, but I think the notion of doing the bare minimum is ridiculous. I may not have the strongest grades, but I have gone out of my way to get involved in as many varied medical experiences as possible, which I think more applicant should do.
 

CHAINCHOMPER

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I got all the experience I need by watching the doctors take care of my sicknesses. That's all that is neccesary. The person with the astronaut analogy is right, all you need to do is see if its right for me. I KNOW that medicine is right for me despite not working or volunteering a day in my life.

:hardy::hardy::hardy::hardy::hardy: >>>>>>>>> volunteer:sleep::sleep::sleep::sleep::sleep:
 

DollBabyKG

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It's my understanding that there is a difference between clinical experience, and physician shadowing. What you're describing sounds like physician shadowing. Clinical experience (the way it's been presented to me) involves a job in patient care, like a CNA, or EMT, etc.
 

walderness

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I got all the experience I need by watching the doctors take care of my sicknesses. That's all that is neccesary. The person with the astronaut analogy is right, all you need to do is see if its right for me. I KNOW that medicine is right for me despite not working or volunteering a day in my life.
I've done some shadowing, but I'm in the same boat. How are you presenting this patient aspect of the application? Just in the essay? I spent most of 2007 in the hospital, acute rehab...I think I need to make it an EC to avoid suspicious time lapses. Not sure how to present it, however...

I want to get more clinical exp but I'm disabled and manual work in the ER will just not work for me. I've shadowed disabled physicians that do well in their setting but I just can't do bitch work...any suggestions on this?
 

ChubbyChaser

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I've done some shadowing, but I'm in the same boat. How are you presenting this patient aspect of the application? Just in the essay? I spent most of 2007 in the hospital, acute rehab...I think I need to make it an EC to avoid suspicious time lapses. Not sure how to present it, however...

I want to get more clinical exp but I'm disabled and manual work in the ER will just not work for me. I've shadowed disabled physicians that do well in their setting but I just can't do bitch work...any suggestions on this?
I say set up a meeting with a medical school and ask them for suggestions.
 

8744

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The real question is, are you willing to commit to over 200 thousand dollars in debt and a lifelong career that will likely involve long hours, overnight call, lawsuits, decreasing compensation year after year, likely in a field of medicine you've never been exposed to, based on 72 hours in the ED?

I did. Except I had no clinical experience at all.

Just a hunch, if you all shadowed a typical resident for a week, keeping the same hours and wading through the same crap half of you would withdraw your applications.
 

8744

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Last summer I worked a fulltime job and didn't have a whole lot of spare time to shadow. However, I did manage to spend 6 twelve-hour shifts with an ED physician. Is this enough overall clinical experience, or do you think I need more hours and more varied outlooks than just emergency medicine? I feel like I don't know how much more I could get out of shadowing a doctor, and if I'm not shadowing I don't want to do my volunteering in a hospital, simply because I feel like I can be more helpful to the community in other ways of volunteering, such as habitat for humanity, where I can actually contribute skills.

Thanks!
Just make sure that there is no way to verify your exact number of hours and if there's not, make up some better hours. It won't matter in the end. Shadowing and clinical experience (unless it was in something real for which you were payed) serves no purpose and is useless in predicting your success or even if you will like medicine.
 

mdgator

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I mean, if I wanted to be an astronaut...would I have to find a way to log 500 hours in space just to make sure its what I wanted to do?quote]

Good analogy. 72 hours is fine, (more than I had at the beginning of my app cycle), as long as you can effectively communicate about what you learned from those hours, how they might have affected you, and, more importantly, why you want to be a doctor. I think having a million volunteer hours is the wrong way to go. Do things you love to do. Work to help pay the bills. Don't just jump through the hoops just to be jumping through hoops...IMO, it's not necessary. I shadowed 5 docs, each for one to two days. I worked in a non-medical job for 3 years during college. I worked in a medical job full time during my application year. Other than that, I've done things that I enjoy doing. I was asked about my jobs and the fun things that I did at least as much as I was asked about my clinical experiences. I think adcoms would rather see someone who's done some unique things than the same old 1000 hours of volunteering, 500 hours shadowing pre-meds.

Having only 72 hours of clinical experience might keep you out of some schools...but I would say not many, and it certainly won't keep you out of medical school if you have a strong application and are a good interviewer.
 

mdgator

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Just make sure that there is no way to verify your exact number of hours and if there's not, make up some better hours. It won't matter in the end. Shadowing and clinical experience (unless it was in something real for which you were payed) serves no purpose and is useless in predicting your success or even if you will like medicine.
Haha...I agee with everything except the first sentence.
 

MossPoh

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I shadowed a vascular surgeon in a small town, pager and all for a week. Sometimes I wonder why I'm so masochistic. By the end I was helping him with the mounds of paperwork as well. Every night but one involved waking up at 3 a.m. and heading over to the hospital. He said it wasn't normally like that for him and I was just lucky. ;)
 

UVAbme2009

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seriously, this should be mandatory

everyone should also spend some time with a dentist so they realize how much better it could be
But dentistry is boring. I have a handful of friends going into dentistry, and I don't see how they can do it.

My clinical experience is around 20 hours if you don't count my volunteer work in a dialysis center. But I do work under an MD doing research, so I feel like I have a good grasp the work life of a doctor.
 

wally47

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As long as you have great experiences to talk about in your essays and at your inteviews you will be set. You don't need to have a job with clinical exposure, you just need to prove to the adcom that you know what being a doctor is all about and that you're willing to do what it takes to become one. Good luck.
 

TheRealMD

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I wager spending one day with resident (entire day) will teach you more about medicine than 1000 hrs shadowing and volunteering. Why? Because you'll realize that medicine is imperfect in a much shorter amount of time. And patients can be bitchy. And the hours are long. And bureaucracy stinks.

Regardless, # of hours really don't matter if you aren't being paid because there's only so much you can learn. Basically watching the entire time without doing anything useful gets boring after a while. And since you have no clue why doctors do what they do, shadowing is mindless following of a person without context. Until they actually involve you in what they are doing, I wouldn't shadow for an extended period of time (several months+).