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Question about experience

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by sunfire1, Dec 9, 2002.

  1. sunfire1

    sunfire1 Junior Member

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    I was wondering where any of you volunteer at or have jobs at that are helping you prepare for your career. I took a look at my town's hospital and they do not have any positions unless you have a degree and as far a volunteering, you have to pay to do it and it mostly involves working in the gift shop. Any ideas? I live in a rather small and boring town and I have no idea what places would be willing to give me some insight in to what is involved in the medical field.

    Thanks
     
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  3. BobbyDylanFan

    BobbyDylanFan Senior Member
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    I'd also like to ask anyone that has done something a little different than just volunteering in a hospital to post their experiences here. I am looking for volunteering but would like to do something a bit unique. Maybe their are national programs or regional ones, but just give us something a lil' different!
     
  4. Rapid Decomposition

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    I got hired as a medical assistant/extern in a private office over the summer. It put my volunteer experience to absolute shame in every way. It was hands-on, there was plenty of interaction with patients, lots of shadowing, the doctors let me assist with ultrasounds and biopsies, taught me some stuff, etc. The specialty of the office (endocrine) is what I think I want to go into, also, so I loved the science of it as well as the people. And I got paid!!

    I admit I was totally lucky to find something like this, but if you are interested in being a clinician, I would definitely recommend being a medical assistant for a summer or if you have a year before you are applying (though I think licensing requirements are different in each state - in my state you don't have to be licensed as long as the doctor designates you as his/her assistant, but I'm not sure for others).
     
  5. tkim

    tkim 10 cc's cordrazine
    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Anyone have a reasonably friendly dog that has or can pass the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen (AKC CGC) exam?

    How about forming or joining a pet therapy/visiting program for your local hospital, nursing home, children's burn unit?

    The hospital that I work at just started one, and they bring dogs, cats, rabbits to the children's psych unit. Seems to work well, and is a bit different than the usual hospital volunteer thingy.

    Just a suggestion.

    - Tae
     
  6. Med Seeker

    Med Seeker Junior Member

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    There are so many opportunities out there, I think it basically comes down to what you want. I decided I wanted to do something meaningful in my life and I started writing to anyone I could(this was before I decided to go to medical school-I'm a little older). I wound up with a two year volunteer position in Scotland being a foster care parent for ei kids-this was my selection out of 40-50 options. When I decided to go to med school, the university I was considering asked(in a pre-applying meeting) what I was doing for volunteering, I told them I spent time with the young kids on my street who's parents aren't around much. Schools are looking for someone who has set some of there own priorities, not just 'doing as they are told.' In your small town, can you work at a retirement home?, or doing Habitate for Humanity?, or volunteer at the Local Fire dept?, or find a family Dr. who needs assistance with things(all viable volunteer experiences). Make yourself marketable and find something you like to do.
     
  7. BobbyDylanFan

    BobbyDylanFan Senior Member
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    thanks for the suggestions guys, they are great. i also ask for anyone that has done something a little different in the boston area to please post here as thats where i'm currently located.

    RD, I actually worked as a medical assistant (M.A.) for six months on an AmeriCorps stint. I spent most of my time in the family medicine / women's health dept but was also able to see a lot of peds and internal medicine. The best thing about this was the patient interaction I received. It was great to talk with them for a few minutes/take their vitals/find out what they were coming for/etc and actually form a small relationship with them. However the docs were not as willing as I would of liked about letting join in with them... I have no idea why but I think this group of doctors just believed that to help out you had to be a medical student (because a lot of other docs i've worked with had NO problem with me helping) and actually one of them sorted hinted this to me. Anyways, you win some you lose some.
     
  8. megeliz

    megeliz New Member

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    a lot of childrens hospitals let students come in and entertain the kids, and a lot of nursing homes and things like that LOVE for students to come spend time with the people there. unfortunately, it has been my experience that most hospitals do not offer many volunteer positions involving patient care. however, where i work now (a pediatric practice), they hire people with little to no experience to work in the front office, and sometimes as nursing assistants. even though you may not spend a lot of time dealing with the patients in the front office, you will likely get to know the doctors that work there VERY well (think of the LORs). plus--you get paid!
     
  9. Rapid Decomposition

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    Dylan, you're definitely right - unfortunately it really depends on the docs you work for. I had three incredible doctors who were very supportive of me hanging around, even though I wasn't a medical student. I did call around to other offices, and most others, like you said, will only let you do something similar if you are already a med student.

     
  10. tufts02

    tufts02 Member
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    the summer after my junior year i was looking for a more clinical experience as opposed to lab research and i looked at a bunch of hospitals in the boston area. i actually found a lot of positions on websites and the one that intrigued me most was one at children's hospital, boston in the orthopedics dept. i worked there all last year PT and i am FT while i do my apps. such a great experience, ive been published, get to work in the clinic and interact w/ patients and their families, and i get to watch surgeries all the time. in sum, i guess just take the initiative and look for what you want or even try and create what you want. since this job was new, i was able to tell them exactly what i was looking for in the job and they were able to accomodate.

    good luck w/ everything
     
  11. Mistress S

    Mistress S Don't mess with the S
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    Sunfire1, I have no idea what your political views are, but my work (Planned Parenthood) frequently takes volunteers to work directly in the clinics, usually doing front office work with opportunities to observe and, over time if you become a trusted long-term volunteer, assist with some procedures. It is a great job and a good way to learn about providing healthcare to disadvantaged populations, as most of the people we see are low income and/or uninsured. If you are passsionate about women's healthcare and reproductive rights, it is also great to know that you are helping to further those things in your community. Of course, I get paid to be there, which makes it easier; but I started out as a HS volunteer. Most non-profit community clinics like mine are more open to allowing volunteers to help out than large hospitals are, since they (the hospitals) often have plenty of volunteers and enough staff to handle their patient care needs. So even if you're not down with the pro-choice scene, you might look into county health clinics or free clinics, if there are any near you, as they will probably welcome volunteers and be more open to accomodating your interest in meaningful patient interaction. Or, if you are a member of the dark side;) , you could always volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center type place, although you should be aware that these are generally not medical facilities despite their appearance and are usually church-based organizations run by religious volunteers (but if that's your bag, go for it).
     
  12. sunfire1

    sunfire1 Junior Member

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    Thank you very much Mistress S. I really like your idea about Planned Parenthood. We actually have one in my dinky town. I think I might just stop by there some time in the next few days.
     
  13. carmenrosie

    carmenrosie Junior Member
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    I think you should look into other opportunities for medical assistants. I work at a clinic that does disability evaluations for the state as a medical assistant. Because this clinic does not have the liability issues of a hospital (for example..doctors can't be sued for malpractice) I am able to perform all kinds of tests/functions in the office (i.e. phlebotomy, dopplers, treadmill stress tests, pft's, and x-rays (once i took the licensing exam)) So maybe see if there is a clinic by you that does these type of disability evaluations and see if they have any openings for medical assistants?
     
  14. manicmaven

    manicmaven all aboard the nerd train
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    I agree with Mistress S about Planned Parenthood. I've had some great experiences both clinically and educationally working in the community. In fact, we may have worked at the same clinic. I'm wondering if I've met you.

    As far as hospital jobs go, I kind of fell into sleep medicine. Right now, sleep technicians do not need a degree and are trained in-house. It's a great job with tons of clinical contact...but you do have to work nights. I did it and went to school. It sucked, but really has made me stand out as a candidate. Most sleep clinics are in desperate need of technicians. It's a growing field.
     
  15. GoodMonkey

    GoodMonkey sproutmobile
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    i did the hospital stint for about 4 weeks and ran far far away. it was just not a rewarding experience and the place was huge and swarming w/premeds who wanted to volunteer.

    what did i do instead? i kept my eyes open and bugged people i knew. some of my opportunities: i tracked people in nursing homes w/age-related late-stage dementia working (yes paid!) on a research project about the large # of residents who die as a result of wandering outdoors in the middle of a michigan winter. i followed around a neurologist (friend of a friend's mom) who, after some time, let me give some of the basic reflex and diagnostic tests (with his supervision) in exams. i started in a front-desk position checking patients into a free clinic, and after i'd logged some volunteer hours there, i was trained as an exam assistant and health counselor (v. similar to an MA, but being a volunteer run clinic, they didn't hire MAs).

    there are lots of unique opportunities out there... look in newspapers, talk to people, make phone calls. the first step is networking.

    best of luck! :)
     
  16. sarah_viola

    sarah_viola Member
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    I agree that all of my hospital volunteer experience (transfer dept and ER) was worthless and a waste of time. I did remedial tasks like filing (ugh) that the medical assitants didn't want to do, although I did get to see some cool stuff.

    I think my most valuable experience came with summer jobs, etc, which provide direct patient care and often leadership roles, which I thinkwould be more impressive than, "yeah, i found that i loved wheeling people from their rooms to x-ray, it was so nice to talk to them and get to know them on the elevator ride down and back..."

    I was able to take an EMT course during winter break, and ran with my school's EMS team. I bet your loal FD is dying for some volunteer EMTs.

    It may be a little harder to become a CNA, but look into your state's regulations regarding assisted living facilities. I was able to take a 2 week course and pass meds on an alzheimers/dementia unit of a residential home (not a nursing home), which I felt was great experience, and put me a notch above the responsiblities of a CNA. Or see if the activities director at a nursing home needs any help - in high school I played checkers with old men, and painted cute littlle-old-ladies' fingernails. They love the attention-half of them are dying for someone to talk to, and I found it more meaningfull than the aforementione filing (ugh).

    I also worked as a surgical tech one summer, and got to see a ton of surgeries. Look up job positions on your local hospital's website, there may be summer openings for all kinds of techs.

    I also volunteer at a women's homeless shelter, and while it isn't medically related, it is fun, engaging, and makes me feel as though I'm actually making a difference in someone's life. I'm sure there's a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or habitat-for-humanity project in your area.

    In short, follow your interests. There is much more to medicine than hospitals, if you just look hard enough, and most of it will provide more patient care and responsibility, and won't feel like a waste of your time. But then again, I haven't even applied yet, so what do I know. I would have done the stuff I did even if I wasn't applying to med school, and I think that matters more than anything. (see the former disclaimer).
     
  17. desertscholar

    desertscholar Math Rocks
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    I live in a small town so our hospital is not swarmin with pre-meds. In January I begin volunteering in the neo-natal unit. I am a mother of two teenagers, so between school and work my time is limited, some of what I count as volunteering is supporting my children in their various volunteer activities, such as the theater group my daughter works with that goes around to various schools and performs skits concering subjects important to teenagers.
    My college had not had a literature club in 30 years. Long story. Yes literature clubs can get in trouble. So I started one up. Its been lots fun and since most of my classes our science related leaving little time for literature classes, it provides a great outlet for something that I am interested in. This summer one of my professors has offered to let me help him finish a blood pathogen research project.
    One thing I would like to do is volunteer with hospice. But haven't put that together yet. I know that is predictable. But when an important loved one passed away, it was hospice that created an environment where I was able to come to grips with death and actually find peace in the moment.
     

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