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Nursing Home Volunteer = Clinical Experience?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by mmc48, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. mmc48

    mmc48 Med School Flunky
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    I'm an upcoming senior (applying at the end of my senior year), and I am considering getting involved volunteering at a local nursing home to get more clinical experience (and because of an interest in it). My question though is will it be considered clinical exposure, even I'm doing things like just speaking to the residents, helping with Bingo or whatever else? I've heard LizzyM's standard response, just wondering if I could get a more specific answer.

    Just for info if it helps, I have lots of other non-clinical volunteering and shadowing. Been volunteering in a free clinic for over a year and shadowing/helping a general surgeon who does a specialty clinic at the free clinic every week for over a year. The local hospital doesn't allow volunteers to do anything with exposure in the ER/Surg/Med wards, so that's a no go, and I don't want to have to travel to the next large city to get my experience with the way gas is going.

    Any help would be great. Thanks!
     
  2. Artimacia

    Artimacia can do stuff real good
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    More than not, it helps. You're interacting, helping, and most of all, in contact with the residents. Now, you might also want to look into hospital volunteering that is general (not in special wards), as well.

    Also, why are you waiting till the end of your senior year to apply? A lot of people apply during the summer in between junior and senior year. You should look into that, you should like you're fine as far as most things go.
     
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  3. DoctaJay

    DoctaJay bone breaker
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    What is most important is that you enjoy the activity. If you truly feel like you would enjoy working in the nursing home, go for it. As long as you have done some doctor shadowing (i.e.-helping out the general surgeon at the free clinic) then you should be fine on that front. Shadowing won't get you into medical school, but it doesn't hurt.
     
  4. Artimacia

    Artimacia can do stuff real good
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    Exactly (I also volunteer at a free clinic :), a lot of great people there)
     
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  5. mmc48

    mmc48 Med School Flunky
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    Thanks for the replies.

    Artimacia: I'm not applying now for several different reasons, mainly personal. I'm currently studying for the MCAT and I'm a bit of a latecomer to the pre-med circle. I'm planning on spending my gap year working with a non-profit that works in poor rural Appalachia (might as well give back to the region that I've grown up in). The reason I haven't picked up a volunteer spot at the hospital is because they really don't allow volunteers to do anything. I go to school in a small town that doesn't have many pre-med kids, so their volunteer services are geared towards auxiliary services that really have no clinical exposure. I have lots of non-clinical volunteering, so I'm not really looking for that. And I agree, there are lots of great people at free clinics!

    DoctaJay: Thanks for your reply. I do have an interest in geriatrics in general, so I would probably do nursing home volunteering with any extra time I have anyway.

    I gues my question should have been more pointed: Will I be able to list it as clinical experience for application purposes? From reading the forums, it seems that everyone volunteers in a hospital doing this or that, or they tell people to get a cert. for something, which is kind of impractical in my opinion, especially with what I'm already involved in. I know my volunteering/shadowing with general surgeon and others counts, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn't lacking in "clinical exposure", whatever that may mean. Since the local hospital isn't very accomodating and I don't want to commute 30+ minutes to the next city, I was wondering whether I could kill two birds with one stone in nursing home volunteering, even if it were just spending time with the residents.

    Thanks for the advice!
     
  6. Caesar

    Caesar In Memory of Riley Jane
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    I have always viewed clinical experience as being, well, clinical. If you are seeing a large amount of interaction between doctors/nurses/staff/patients it could be considered clinical. The most important thing is that a majority of your time in a clinical experience is spent with a health care professional and not a patient/resident. This is not true of all things (i.e. working as an EMT or something where you ARE the professional), but from a volunteer perspective that is the benchmark I tend to follow. Also a clinical experience should be largely informative. Although you aren't expected to "learn" anything medically related, you should be observing procedures and seeing test results, and listening to the interpretations, even though it is all over your head. Medicine is like getting into a lake in late may. You get your toes wet before diving in, just in case the water is still too cold for swimming. While I personally wouldn't think of the position you are describing as "clinical" I would think of it as worth while. And that is my $.02.

    Good luck to you! :)
     
  7. SarsMO

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    I volunteered at a nursing home but did NOT list it as clinical because I just was responsible for leading games and talking to residents. Now, if you followed around a nurse or doctor while they were cleaning bed sores, giving exams, etc, then I would list it as clinical. Hope that's helpful!
     
  8. TriathleticGirl

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    great question... I've always wondered the same thing. I volunteered in a nursing home as well
     
  9. senzen

    senzen Membership Revoked
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    I realize this is a super old thread but I have a few concerns.

    Why is it only clinical if you're mainly helping the health care professionals?

    I feel like leading games with the residents should count as a clinical experience…it fits LizzyM's definition of clinical experience perfectly. I'd be doubtful of considering nursing home volunteering as clinical experience if one's services were limited to working in the gift shop but that is not the case here.
     
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  10. cactusinmyhead

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    I agree with you!
     
  11. gonnif

    gonnif Only 695 Days Until Next Presidential Election
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    LizzeM's advice fits a nursing home to a tee:

    "If you can smell it, its clinical "
     
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  12. yellowbluegreen

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    would volunteering in a senior home be considered clinical? I tend to interact with the seniors and staff, but not really doctors.

    Thanks for the advice!
     
  13. gonnif

    gonnif Only 695 Days Until Next Presidential Election
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    It would fit volunteering well but you should add some sort of clinical exposure to show you have impression of what docs do.
     
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  14. sazerac

    sazerac rye sense of humor
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    Agree.

    OP, how smelly will these patients be? If everybody there keeps reasonably clean, then consider passing up this opportunity for another one where the patients are smellier.
     

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