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Volunteering all clinical?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Evisju7, Sep 21, 2014.

  1. Evisju7

    Evisju7 2+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2014
    Is it okay if all your volunteering is medical related?

    Working at med clinics= fun.
    Working at homeless shelter= sketchy.

    I want to stick with clinical volunteering. Is that a problem?

    If non-clinical is needed, where do you recommend? Does anyone have any places they really enjoyed?
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  3. donatello7457

    donatello7457 Pharmacist 5+ Year Member

    Aug 16, 2010
    I volunteered for a hospice organization and really enjoyed it. I would visit a patient or two once or twice a month to just chat or read to them. You could look into something like that.
  4. Evisju7

    Evisju7 2+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2014
    I was thinking about hospice. Wouldn't that still be a little on the med side, though? I've heard people either really enjoy it, or find it really depressing.
  5. CLE216

    CLE216 2+ Year Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    What is sketchy about volunteering at a homeless shelter?
    freemontie, G_Marker, ciestar and 2 others like this.
  6. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Thank You for Smoking Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    May 22, 2008
    Deep in the heart of Texas
    Agreed - don't get it.

    Where your volunteering comes from is pretty irrelevant. What matters is that the experience was meaningful and it's something you can talk about and sound excited about. If it's clinical, great. If not, great. Most people do seem to have volunteering in multiple "realms" so to speak, but that's by no means a requirement and does not intrinsically offer any benefit IMO.
    Lucca and allenlchs like this.
  7. Strudel19

    Strudel19 5+ Year Member

    Jul 14, 2011
    hSDN Member
    hSDN Alumni
    If you're trying to get into some non-patient contact volunteering, just volunteer for an organization that is involved in something that you enjoy. I started volunteering at the science center downtown. I'm just an extra eye to watch stingrays and to make sure kids don't touch anything they're not supposed to, but hey, it's fun.
  8. DokterMom

    DokterMom 2+ Year Member

    Mar 1, 2013
    If all your volunteering is clinical and easily relatable to medical school, you risk creating the impression that the only reason you're volunteering is to improve your application.

    If a good chunk of your volunteering is in no way related to medicine, then you're sending the message that you're volunteering because you're a caring, compassionate person who wants to make their community a better place.

    You need to have clinical exposure, but volunteering is only one way to get it -- a particularly time-efficient strategy that minimizes the time you need to devote.
  9. Evisju7

    Evisju7 2+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2014
    Where I was volunteering it was pretty bad. The area was notorious for crime. Many of the "homeless" are really just gang affiliates.

    I had a conversation with one of the guys there, just trying to be friendly. He ended up telling me about his guns, and how he was dating some underage girl, and how he almost killed his ex-wife.

    After that, I decided not to go back.
  10. Evisju7

    Evisju7 2+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2014
    That sounds pretty cool. I love my city's museum!
  11. Gauss44

    Gauss44 5+ Year Member

    Oct 28, 2012
    I'd hate to be homeless in that city.
  12. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist 5+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2012
    hSDN Member
    hSDN Alumni
    What cause are you passionate about? What need do you see in your community that you think NEEDS to be improved and that you can make a difference by donating your time and efforts?
  13. Evisju7

    Evisju7 2+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2014
    Truthfully, it would be all medical. Starting college, I was set on becoming a psychologist, not a medical doctor. One of my professors required volunteer hours of our choice, and I decided to work at a medical clinic. No other reason than I liked it.

    So, that's why I ask. If I had my choice and didn't care who was looking, I would volunteer in medical settings. But I *think* well-rounded looks better? Maybe I'm wrong.
  14. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist 5+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2012
    hSDN Member
    hSDN Alumni
    What roles do you have in your medical volunteering?
  15. ciestar

    ciestar 2+ Year Member

    Sep 18, 2013
    I volunteer with an animal rescue. Do you like animals? Go to a local shelter. There's volunteering.
  16. wmtpcantuat


    Sep 22, 2014
    I would visit a patient or two once or twice a month to just chat or read to them.[​IMG]
  17. G_Marker


    Jun 26, 2014

    I am not sure I agree with this reasoning... You're still doing the non-clinical community service to get volunteer hours for med school, and it seems like something adcoms could see through. I've heard that it's important to have volunteer hours that are both clinical/non-clinical, but this reasoning behind it seems a little weak (even if it is true).

    I'm not saying you can't be a caring, compassionate person who volunteers so they can get into medical school (let's face it, it's definitely an unwritten prereq these days). I'm just a bit confused by the reasoning behind having both clinical and non-clinical volunteer hours.

    What if you have volunteer clinical work but paid community work (ie, teaching ESL, gardening, organizing a non-profit, etc)? Does this look better than volunteer community work but paid clinical work? Or should we just be supermen/superwomen and find a way to finagle our limited time into meaningful volunteer experiences for both?

    These requirements just seem really restrictive. Not only that, I feel like the requirements are making applicants increasingly similar...
    Planes2Doc likes this.
  18. Planes2Doc

    Planes2Doc Residency is ruff! Physician 5+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2012
    The South
    Very well said, and unfortunately, this is true. Whenever I see pre-med volunteers, I instantly assume that they are doing it solely for their medical school applications. Over the years, pre-meds have ruined the special meaning of volunteering. :( It's interesting... When you are talking to someone who isn't pre-med and they tell you about their extensive volunteer work ("average" by SDN definition), you can't help but to feel very impressed by their work! Now, if a pre-med tells you about the same level of volunteer work or even more, then you just brush it off because you assume that every pre-med will have extensive volunteering under their belt. If anything, I'd be shocked to see a pre-med WITHOUT volunteering.

    Here's a story I've posted a few times but have never gotten a response. Meet the Route 29 Batman: This is a wonderful read, and you can't help but to be impressed by his work. But would you see him differently if he were pre-med? Honestly, I would lose respect for him because I would solely see it as a very elaborate plan to get into medical school, kind of like rich kids going on exotic mission trips (not that it looks good).

    Sadly, this is where volunteering has gone thanks to pre-meds. It has lost its meaning. All we see now is conformity, not altruistic people that are doing it because they want to.

    And to answer the OP's question, it's usually a good idea to do non-clinical volunteering to have your bases covered. If other pre-meds are doing it, then so should you. But ultimately, like @DokterMom said, it's important to look genuine. The best way to do this is through longevity (because doing a variety of volunteer work of both clinical and non-clinical nature within a year of applying will NOT look good). This is where I came up with the term "ZERO to Mother Teresa" applicant. It's someone who goes from never having volunteered to suddenly having a laundry-list of volunteer work virtually overnight, which by chance coincides with becoming pre-med. Since the application starts at college, ADCOMs can't really dig in to things that happened before starting college. Thus, they will have to give the benefit of doubt and assume everyone who started freshman or sophomore year to be doing it out of genuine interest, and not simply for their applications. But in order to keep up this facade, you must continue volunteering past AMCAS. You see volunteers drop like flies once acceptances start coming in. Sad, but true.

    Volunteering is a great thing. It's a shame that the meaning has been ruined by pre-meds. I have yet to see someone on SDN asking how they can help more people through their ECs... Because all they ever ask about is how they can help themselves.
    G_Marker, DokterMom, BubbleT and 2 others like this.
  19. chillinillinkillin007


    Jan 6, 2014
    If anyone has 5 or more volunteering activities on AMCAS they did it for the sake of their application. If you truly care about volunteering, you volunteer for 1 or 2 organizations and that's it.

    Also, who says you have to volunteer to get into medical school? Did you every think the reason the MSAR volunteer percentage is so high is because practically EVERYONE volunteers? ADCOMS are not stupid. They just want to make sure your a normal kind altruistic person knowing what your signing up for. They don't give a flying crap about how many hours you logged in a hospital playing with your phone. SDN just tries to create the impression you need volunteering which is BS.

    I agree with all of your posts man but I'm starting to think its the other way around. In reality the only reason premeds have all these volunteer hours is because they are competing with one another. In reality ADCOMs do not care as much as we would like to think.
    Planes2Doc likes this.
  20. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist 5+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2012
    hSDN Member
    hSDN Alumni
    Not necessarily true. Volunteering certainly doesn't take a lot of time out of one's week. If you identify multiple organizations that could use your help, why not help them? I would say that I care about volunteering, but I'm helping more than 1 organization.

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