Rural FP/Primary Care Experience for Pre-Med?

Discussion in 'Family Medicine' started by milanrp, Feb 5, 2004.

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  1. milanrp

    milanrp Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 20, 2003
    This forum has been very informative and education for me - thanks for all your posts.

    I'm a post-bacc currently living in Long Island, taking MCAT's in April, applying this summer for 2005 admission. Most of the health care related experiences so far have been in EM and EM research at major hospitals in NY suburbs. While I intend to round them out with rotations in other areas of the hospital, I am very interested in some experience in rural FP/Primary care but just can't figure out how to go about it and what I would do.

    My thinking would be to move to the rural area for the summer, but don't know how I could contribute to the practice and/or how it would be worthwhile for the physician/practice? In addition, I would think most patients wouldn't want me "shadowing" the doc (if that's even an option).

    Rambling, but I guess the big question what is the best way for a post-bacc in my situation to explore this area of medicine...willing to relocate for short time if opportunity right.

    Thank you all very much in advance.

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  3. dr.smurf

    dr.smurf Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 4, 2004
    i dont know how rural you would want to go...but, if i were you i would just pick a rural locale and get on the phone with some local fps and tell them you want to shadow. im sure most of them would be very cool about it and welcome u. pts in those areas are usually more than welcome to have u in with the doc as well.

    try to observe a doc who does it all....ob, inpt, er, etc. that can be very rewarding. but, u may have to go pretty rural for that.

    good luck....
  4. lowbudget

    lowbudget Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 4, 2003
    Shadowing doctors is perhaps one of the most painful thing in the world... but I guess you need to do it if you want to see what doctors do for a living. (I never did it in undergrad)... It's just really boring because a lot of the medicine goes over your head (even as a med student sometimes).

    Here's my advice: If you're going to shadow someone, you might as well get something out of it. If I had to do it all over again, I would try to kill 5 birds with 1 stone. 5 BIRDS.

    You should sign up for a Medical Spanish class abroad in a Central/Latin American country. Majority of these programs have a shadowing component to it, and they're typically set in rural areas or at least urban 3rd world conditions. Simply look up "Medical Spanish" on Yahoo or Google and a crapload will pop up on your search (Costa Rica, Guatamala, Nicaragua, Mexico, you name it). The reason why I say this is because as a premed without any further qualifications (paramedic/nursing), they're not going to let you do much other than talk to the patient. If what you want to see is what do doctors in rural conditions do, sign up for a Med Spanish course and do some shadowing that way.

    Your 5 birds are:
    1) You shadow a rural doc, which was your main reason.
    2) You learn Spanish-which you may or may not already know, but regardless you will need in medicine or when you travel around the globe someday when you're rich.
    3) You get to travel to a foreign country and learn from other cultures.
    4) You get to put the experience on your med school application and if you had a positive experience, you can write about it on med school essay and admissions committees EAT THIS CRAP UP like they have the munchies.
    5) If you were really smart, you would apply for a scholarship at your university to pay for your trip and tuition, and then sign up for an INDEPENDENT STUDY class (politics, anthro, sociology, whatever) and write an essay about your experience when you get back like "Third World Health Care" or something like that... I would make sure I met with a faculty advisor BEFORE leaving for the language study program and ask them what they want in the essay and just talk to them about your aspirations, THEN ask them to write you a Letter of Recommendation when you get back home with your essay. And THEN take the pictures you took during your trip, and submit it into any photography contest. (Of course, slap it on your med school application that you won the photography contest...)
  5. fierce tiger

    fierce tiger Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    I don't know about NY but in Missouri there are only 2 counties that are not considered rural/underserved areas. If you want to do the spanish thing too, you don't have to leave the country. My hometown in southwest Kansas specifically has a clinic ran by the Mexican American Ministries, there you would get a ton of experience in rural medicine and also useful spanish. Yes you learn a lot of spanish traveling abroad, but it not very useful because you will still have to learn the spanish/english mix that is spoken by 1st, 2nt, ... 10th generation immigrants. I am sure there are a ton of opportunities in the other parts of the US, besides the Midwest, but it is not too bad here.
  6. milanrp

    milanrp Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 20, 2003
    Thanks so much for your thoughts! Very helpful.

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