Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 19, 2004
Resident [Any Field]
It sounds to me like you are getting more out of the time you spend at the nursing home. That won't mean anything though unless you can articulate your experiences well in your essays/secondary applications/interviews. I don't believe that your typical adcom will care what type of building you got your experience in, as long as you can clearly demonstrate what you learned and what value you got out of it.

That said, who knows. Med school applications is an arbitrary process sometimes and I don't profess in any way to understand what these adcom folk are thinking.


10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 2, 2009
Jersey City, NJ
I have volunteered in hospitals before, and they basically stick me behind a desk and give me paperwork/filing which is not decent exposure to medicine. I started volunteering in a nursing home. I feel that this position is very helpful. I plan events, spend time with the residents and do various things for them like thicken their drinks if they cant swallow liquids, help with physical therapy, transport them. A lot of the residents have tremors, dementia and a number of health issues. I am wondering if medical schools/osteopathic schools will view this experience as a helpful clinical experience since it is a nursing home not a medical clinic and I work with physical therapy not doctors. Im from NYC where it is extremely difficult to obtain patient contact experience because of HIPAA laws and over crowding of medical workers in hospitals and medical clinics....they have no use for volunteers
I highly disagree with this statement, I volunteer in NYC and I admit it's difficult to obtain patient contact but not extremely difficult. HIPPA does limit us but that sure doesn't stop us. I feel without volunteers a lot of these hospitals in the city would collapse. I mean if you actually see how many people are volunteering I'm sure it would shock you. Maybe the department your in doesn't have many volunteers but I'm sure the rest of the hospital is full of them.

I'm sure if your persistent enough you will get recognition and a doctor will let you work on some patients. I've worked under doctors who let me examine patients and try to diagnosis them under their supervision of course. The physician would then tell me whether i was right or wrong. Then I would get background information on my answer and what i did right or what i did wrong.

Try going to a teaching hospital, i don't know what type of attitude you present at your hospital but I'm sure if you show dedication, a physician, physician assistant, or nurse will be glad to help up out.

Good luck
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10+ Year Member
May 28, 2007
Medical Student
It's a good experience, it's clinical, and you're way more passionate about it than the hospital stuff. All in all ... it's a good thing and should work well for you. One small, anal thing though ... 'osteopathic school' = medical school (in your post you made it seem like you can either go to medical school or 'osteopathic' school ... which isn't the case).


5+ Year Member
Aug 20, 2010
Medical Student
I assume you're working at a nursing home/rehabilitation center? In addition to PTs, there should be nurses, right? If so, you may want to ask them if you can shadow them, so that you can get more clinical exposure.

I think of this way.. You're making such a meaningful contribution to these peoples' lives. This is their last stop, they've given away most of their possessions.. They have the same routine day in and day out. You have a chance to hold their hand, comfort them, listen to them, and smile! Your time is actually improving their quality of life.

In case you're curious, I trained/volunteered in a nursing home, and now work as a CNA in assisted living.

Best of luck!