Dismiss Notice

Interview Feedback: Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

Interviewing Masterclass: Free masterclass on interviewing from SDN and Medical College of Georgia

Dismiss Notice
Hey Texans—join us for a DFW meetup! Click here to learn more.

The importance of clinical experience!

Discussion in 'Re-Applicants [ MD / DO ]' started by GEFFENorBUST, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. GEFFENorBUST

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    I found out the hard way that no matter how good your stats and EC's are, it is virtually impossible to get into a top 15 med school with absolutely no hospital volunteering/shadowing. I have a near 4.0 GPA and a 39R MCAT with pretty good EC's, and ended the season 0/8 (2 waitlists). I'm gonna do massive amounts of volunteering this year and work as an EMT to beef up my application.

    So if anybody's wondering just how important clinical experience is...it's VERY important! Anybody who's reapplying should definitely try to get more clinical experience if they suspect that they might be lacking in this area.
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. am19

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2006
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    That sucks. With those score you should get in.
     
  4. Surf Rx

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Messages:
    551
    Likes Received:
    3
    Not cool dude. Not cool at all.
     
  5. kypdurron5

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    1,293
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    It really doesn't matter whether you're trying for top 15 med schools or not....clinical exposure really is that important. It does vary from school to school though; I was outright rejected from my unranked state school 2 years in a row citing not enough clinical experience, while I was waitlisted at Pitt. ::shrug:: I think EMT/CNA is definitely the way to go, especially if you don't have a lot of personal connections....I'm starting a class in a week to do this. Don't underestimate hospital volunteering either- even if you can't find a (paid) job in a "hot" area such as ER or surgery, you could still possibly volunteer in these areas where you'll have a chance to get some meaningful shadowing experience. It really will seem useless at times....but if you can net even one doctor who gives you a good shadowing experience and maybe an LOR it will be well worth your effort...and I've found that in general doctors WANT to write letters for pre-med students.

    PS- keep a journal each day of what you see/do. When you're on the spot in an interview and say "I worked as an EMT and saw some cool things" it isn't nearly as impressive as being able to list 5-10 meaningful experiences you had while doing that....and trust me, you'll forget if you don't write them down >).
     
    Emedd likes this.
  6. Garrison1

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Seriously, like the OP, I found out the hard way this cycle that high scores alone dont get you in and that you need to be able to convince them that you are dedicated to dealing with patients every day.
     
  7. Institute

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Why don't you cut the fat out and just try for a DO school or caribbean school?
    If you truly have a passion for medicine, you'll look for many paths to your goals, not just one.
     
  8. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Messages:
    3,513
    Likes Received:
    2,602
    Status:
    Attending Physician

    What are your talking about? This guy would be a fool not to to take advantage of his/her bangin scores.


    Anyway I'm surprised at these reports. As someone with loads of "clinical experience" I don't see what the big deal is. In fact there's nothing clinical about it at all. It's a just a bunch of bottom-feeding mindless labor. Give me someone who has got some useful skills in medicine and I would be much more likely to select them if I was on an adcom. Stuff like being multi-lingual, or having lots of computer or research training, or being well-versed in business or health policy...those are skills pertinent to medicine. I've been in healthcare for 4-5 years and all I can say with certainty is I know what bloody stool smells like and being a physician is the coolest job in the hospital, I could have figured that out by watching T.V. and 20 minutes volunteering in a hospital.

    I've never understood the layers of horse poop that cover every surface of this process. As if a semester abroad, or the obligatory volunteering, or the clinical experience indicate anything real about what a person would be like on the job as a physician, except for the physician seal of approval in terms of LOR's--I guess that says something but still.......
     
  9. Institute

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student


    I guess you didn't take advantage of your 'clinical experience.' Don't know about you, but for me, working in the ER has given me a wealth of knowledge about medicine that you won't find anywhere else. You easily learn the bureacratic issues with hospitals and insurance companies, you establish excellent networks with highly qualified individuals, you're able to understand the cause and effects of lab reports, radiology, you understand patient-staff interactions, etc... So yes, clinical experience does weigh heavily because it gives you firsthand exposure to a demanding field.
     
  10. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Messages:
    3,513
    Likes Received:
    2,602
    Status:
    Attending Physician

    Sure I understand the party line. Did my time hustling in the ED--2 and half years as a tech. I don't agree with an acquired knowledge of cause and effect unless you really understand how elevated ALT levels feed into your differential diagnoses--I'm not sure that I would be comfortable making that claim, but hey....?
    I agree in the sense that you become acclimated to the complex culture of healthcare and that you can authoritatively articulate your desire to be a physician. My argument is that who you are as an individual is much more important than any particular activity, given that the nature of the majority of your activities are useful and beneficial to others. I'm sure you met a lot of crappy colleagues as I have in your travels. Would you suggest that they be evaluated on the fact that they served in such and such a position for blank hours. It seems to me that such a measure is even perhaps more superficial than those that could quantify one's intellect to some degree. The LOR from a physician being the exception.

    Anyway your opinion is certainly shared by many. I'm just curious as to why enthusiasm, curiosity, a positive attitude, solid work ethic and beneficial skills that would be in addition to the ones you will learn in the first 2 weeks of 3rd year clerkship are not things that could be observed in numerous contexts besides the doldrums of the non-clinical aspects of healthcare.
     
  11. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic
    Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2004
    Messages:
    4,417
    Likes Received:
    295
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    While your scores sound impressive, you left out the rest of your application. What about research? Since the "top 15" schools are research powerhouses, they're generally looking for people who have some sort of experience. I mean good experience, not washing glassware---but being involved with a proposal and seeing a project through for 1-2 years. You also did not mention the rest of your extracurriculars. Sure, a 4.0 is nice, but what have you done to convince admissions committees that you're genuinely interested in medicine? Finally, unless you've personally read your rec letters, never say that the letters were good. I was surprised to find that mine were average---even from profs that I had known for several years.

    You could try contacting the schools you interviewed at and ask to speak with someone from the admissions committee about your application. Many schools are open to reviewing a student's application during the summer. That way, you'll have an idea of what to do for the next application cycle.
     
  12. GEFFENorBUST

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    In terms of my research and EC's...
    I've got one year's worth in one lab, and about six months in two other labs (no publications yet).
    I've also been working as a personal trainer for the last two years and been working with the athletic department of a high school as a strength coach/advisor.
    As far as the rec letters, I've seen two out of the four that I sent, and they were awesome. The other two I haven't seen, so they may be average compared to the first two.
    I'm pretty sure my problem is the lack of clinical experience though. It came up at 4 out of the 5 interviews that I had!
     
  13. t33sg1rl

    t33sg1rl Senior Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Messages:
    350
    Likes Received:
    1
    Every med school has a few smart, talented people that are superstars for two years... then they hit the clinical years and realize that they hate the day to day grind of doctoring. Look in the other forums, at all the posts of people desperately seeking non-doctor jobs that will allow them to pay back their loans because they've realized they hate treating patients. What makes you sure you won't be one of those guys? Sounds like you don't yet have an answer to that question... as soon as you find your answer, then I'm sure the Top 15 will be fighting over you.
     
  14. postbacker

    postbacker Membership Revoked
    Removed

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,208
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Non-Student
    How much was "not enough" in your case? What would have constituted "enough" to satisfy your state med school?
     
  15. kypdurron5

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    1,293
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Lol! If only! I would give anything for someone to tell me (even if only under the table) exactly what I must do to satisfy their ambiguous requirement. I don't completely fault them, I mean, if even half the things I've tried to do would have worked out I'd be in a much, much better position. Still, it's probably the worst reason to be rejected; if it were MCAT or GPA I would know exactly what I have to do. As it is, I've quit my $12.35/hr job (effective two days ago) to start a CNA class on Monday. Hopefully this will be the hands-on stuff they're looking for, since volunteering obviously wasn't enough. There's also an interesting position I've come across through a local hospital; it seems they have a limited number of "PCA" slots (3 or 4) for pre-med/nursing students where they assist in the OR with holding retractors and the like. It's a paid PRN position, and sounds like a great opportunity.
     
  16. GEFFENorBUST

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've started working as an EMT, and although the hours are tough, I find it really interesting. Obviously it's not the same as being a doctor, but it's as close as it can get. I'm pretty sure I'll be fine in my 3rd and 4th years as well. This time around I'll have an easier time convincing med schools of that.
     
  17. moto_za

    moto_za Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,585
    Likes Received:
    43
  18. gotmeds?

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Messages:
    993
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Good for you, GEFFEN! I think that if you throw in a little volunteering while you're at it, you should have your pick of med schools during the next cycle.
     
  19. peachnkeen519

    peachnkeen519 peachnkeen519

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    Can a lot of clinical experience compensate for a low GPA? My science GPA isnt great (about 3.4) but english/history/socy classes brought my cumulative gpa down even more. What else can count for clinical experience? I volunteer at planned parenthood but not sure if that counts, not really in the can "smell patients" category.
     
  20. Critical Mass

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,713
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Not in a significant way whatsoever. Only the MCAT can compensate for a middling GPA.
     
  21. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic
    Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2004
    Messages:
    4,417
    Likes Received:
    295
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    No, clinical experience cannot make up for anything, much less a sub-par GPA. Clinical experience fits into its own category that should be fulfilled as a separate requirement for med school admissions. I'm a little concerned about your grades. You said that liberal arts classes are bringing your GPA below a 3.4, meaning that you'll be well below average by the time you apply. Further, as you said, if you can't smell patients, you aren't doing clinical work. What do you do at Planned Parenthood? Are you counseling these patients? Volunteering is great; but if it isn't patient-focused, then it isn't clinical.
     
  22. ysk1

    ysk1 Membership Revoked
    Removed

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    What are some of the best ways of obtaining ER, EMT or other great clinical work/volunteering positions?
     
  23. RxnMan

    RxnMan Who, me? A doctor?
    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Messages:
    4,112
    Likes Received:
    15
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Check out my FAQ - Click the link in my signature, or go to the top of the forum. Or go here.
     
  24. bellajoy

    bellajoy A Joy
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2003
    Messages:
    1,587
    Likes Received:
    0
    Why does no one seem to consider RT as an undergrad major (along with pre-req courses)? Lots and lots of clinical experience during school, can usually work as a student doing general care, opportunity to work post graduation to gain additional experience.

    I think a lot of people have never really heard of it or know what we actually do sometimes....
     
  25. jon stewart

    jon stewart Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2005
    Messages:
    1,181
    Likes Received:
    9
    so does research have its own category that also must be meet with research experiences? What if i dont like being in lab all day and playing with fancy pippets and gels? Do you need some research, maybe not lab related but perhaps in some other area?

    or does research not have its own category? will it hurt your chances if you have very little or any?
     
  26. Not sure if that's even offered everywhere.
     
  27. RxnMan

    RxnMan Who, me? A doctor?
    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Messages:
    4,112
    Likes Received:
    15
    Status:
    Medical Student
    OK, so one at a time,

    Sort of. Some schools will look for it. These are generally the 'big name' schools with strong histories of research effort. To get an idea, you can look at the USNews rankings to get an idea of NIH dollars each school recieves. That will tell you, relative to other schools, how much emphasis that institution places on research.

    That's OK. Not everyone does. The idea is that you have an idea of what research is like, learn how to find answers to questions (using reference materials), and begin to develop critical thinking skills.

    This touches on the above - research topic isn't as important learning how to read technical articles and how to use a technical library. There are many fields where you can learn these skills without touching a test-tube. Clinical research often relies on patient surveys, chart reviews, and following docs in clinic.

    It is generally treated separately from employment, volunteering, and clinical experience.

    If you do some research as a volunteer (or employment), then I consider it both, and I would categorize it on your AMCAS however will help you the most. This is outlined in the FAQ, but if you've already got 10 volunteering experiences, then the volunteer-research work you did should be categorized as research experience to make you look more well-rounded.

    If you're applying to a big name research school (see above) then it might. For most of us mere mortals, it won't change anything.
     
  28. bellajoy

    bellajoy A Joy
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2003
    Messages:
    1,587
    Likes Received:
    0
    True, there's really not too many BS programs in every state. I went to the only one in Indiana. (I know there's one here in Columbus where I'm working now.) You just have to find them. They are out there. There's also lots of AS RT programs out there (which I don't necessarily agree with, but that's another discussion). Someone could always do that, and also get their bachelors while taking the pre-reqs.

    I still think not many people know about the profession. I know I didn't really before I got into school for it. I think people are out there trying to change that...it's just slow.

    I just think it would be a good opportunity, and an excellent way to get lots of clinical experience with a lot of patient contact.
     

Share This Page