Volunteer Work

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by blike, Aug 27, 2002.

  1. blike

    blike Senior Member

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    Hey everyone!

    Just a few quick questions about volunteer work. How much should I be doing(hours/week)? The work is going to be hospital work, but I'm interested in doing some work with kids. Do adcoms specifically want medical volunteer work? Also, is there a professional way in which I should document all my work for records when it comes time to apply? Do the medical schools require signed paper's and such saying "John did such and such for x years"?

    Hmm, that post was all questions :oops:

    Have a wonderful day(or night) everyone!!!
     
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  3. lady bug

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    Med schools want to see that you have had patient contact....so that you know what you are getting into. Do as many hours as you want... the quality of it and the experience you get out of it are what's most important.....but don't do it simply to impress adcoms. Pursue experiences which you think you can learn from and which you will enjoy. Hope this helps. :) Good luck!
     
  4. Fenrezz

    Fenrezz AT Stills Worst Nightmare

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    My advice is to volunteer in the ER. That will give you a good idea of what you are getting into. I've had some interesting experiences there. You do a year in an ER and still want to be a doctor, you know you've made the right choice.

    Of course, there isnt a minimum amount of work you can do. You can volunteer with kids, and also volunteer in another part of the hospital on a different day. Or you can volunteer to work with sick kids. I think the main thing med schools want to see is if you've had experience with the kind of things you will see as a doctor. How will you know you really want to be a doctor until after you've seen an older person with their pants down right in front of you and their feces running down their leg. Sounds gross but it's probably something you'll have to deal with one day. That's the kind of things you can be exposed to if you volunteer or shadow a doctor.

    As far as documentation, that I know of, most schools go on the honor system. They aren't going to check to make sure you did the work, but you might get asked about it during an interview and if you lied about volunteering, they'll probably figure it out.
     
  5. NKMU

    NKMU Senior Member

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    there's some good advice above. i learned a lot volunteering in the local emergency department, and that was only three hours per week.

    my supervisor then told me this regarding whether med schools check out your volunteering hours: sometimes (she didn't say how often) med schools call her to check on the number of volunteer hours that applicants said they had. she also claimed that one time she was forced to tell a school that a student had grossly overstated the number of hours he/she had volunteered.
     
  6. Cricket

    Cricket Junior Member

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    I volunteered in 4 different departments in 2 different hospitals over the course of a few years - the best of all was the child life dept. You really get a lot of patient contact with kids - I got to play with them most of the time, just keeping them company and helping the child life staff w/ activities. I also volunteered in the ER, and hated it. The only thing they let the volunteers do there is stack the linen shelves and clean beds, and there was very little patient contact. I have heard of other people having good experiences in ER's, but mine was a horrible one. I also volunteered in the post-op ward, but again, all I could do was clean beds. The endoscopy dept was a little better, just because I got to talk to the nurses more than in the ER since they're not quite as busy, and they let me observe a colonoscopy, which was pretty cool. But again all I did was paperwork and bed cleaning. If you want good volunteer experience with kids and you don't want to feel like you're wasting your time, see if you can volunteer in child life (the pediatric floor). You'll have fun and actually feel like you're making a difference.

    As far as the adcoms go, neither of the schools I applied to asked for any documentation. They basically just want to know the dates and places of where you volunteered. As for how many hours, just go with what you want to do. I did between 4-8 hours per week. It's just up to you.
     
  7. Forensic Chick

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    Just do what you enjoy. I've logged over 5000 hrs of community service since 1995 - and only about 200 hrs were strictly medically related. I worked in a people and service oriented position -- and learning how to communicate with people and help them in other ways was much more worthwhile than the no-patient contact volunteering I could have done in the local ER.

    Don't get me wrong -- working in the ER is great!! I am an EMT and I work in an ER (and get paid -- added bonus) and the experiences are unparalleled. Just have fun at what you're doing -- you'll learn more that way. :)
     
  8. Fenrezz

    Fenrezz AT Stills Worst Nightmare

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    Wow! I did not know this. I never thought for a minute that schools would have time to actually verify your time. Good thing I didn't lie on my application, although I know someone who lied through their teeth about the amount of volunteering they did.

    How messed up would that be? All that time studying for the MCAT's, filling out applications, secondaries, essays, and you're eliminated from at least one school because you got busted lying about volunteer time.

    I wonder if someone caught lying has their name floated around on a list to other medical schools.
     
  9. blike

    blike Senior Member

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    Thanks for all your responses! :)

    ER would be great, however the local hospitals don't allow much patient contact. Most of it is filing and answering phones etc. At the VA hospital I'm probably going to be a feeder and transporter. I'm also working on a second position at a kids hospital and looking into big brother program.

    Again, thanks.
     

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