Oct 6, 2019
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Do any of you have advice for pursuing volunteer and shadowing opportunities while working full time in a non-clinical career?

I'm mostly curious as to how you approach doctors for shadowing opportunities if you don't know any doctors personally. (Obviously after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted)

Also, what is the best way to build up volunteer hours? Little-by-little? Big push?

I live alone and work full time (plus overtime) so I'm not sure whether stretching out my days with a couple volunteer hours tacked on to my work day or a 3-5 hour volunteer day on a day off would be best. I have two dogs that are basically my only commitment, but with the overtime I'm working I could afford to send them to doggy daycare on days when I volunteer.

I'm thinking about studying for and taking the MCAT first, then jumping into volunteer/shadow experience, just because MCAT studying doesn't conflict with COVID restrictions.
 

stayathomemom

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Do any of you have advice for pursuing volunteer and shadowing opportunities while working full time in a non-clinical career?

I'm mostly curious as to how you approach doctors for shadowing opportunities if you don't know any doctors personally. (Obviously after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted)

Also, what is the best way to build up volunteer hours? Little-by-little? Big push?

I live alone and work full time (plus overtime) so I'm not sure whether stretching out my days with a couple volunteer hours tacked on to my work day or a 3-5 hour volunteer day on a day off would be best. I have two dogs that are basically my only commitment, but with the overtime I'm working I could afford to send them to doggy daycare on days when I volunteer.

I'm thinking about studying for and taking the MCAT first, then jumping into volunteer/shadow experience, just because MCAT studying doesn't conflict with COVID restrictions.
A lot of clinical volunteering programs and shadowing opportunities are on hold right now due to covid.

If covid weren't a thing, for volunteering, I would find a good program where you will be actually working with patients (not sitting behind an info desk or in a gift shop). Then look into their scheduling. For my volunteering role, there are set shifts (9am-1pm, 1pm-5pm, in a few departments there are also evening shifts). I would recommend doing a long-term commitment to chip away little by little. Schools like long-term commitments.

Shadowing is hard even without covid. I wish I could give you advice but I'm in need of some as well.

If you can't find clinical volunteering or shadowing right now, definitely study for MCAT. It's never too early to review. Just keep reviewing.
 

jhmmd

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Apr 28, 2020
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katmandoo said:
Do any of you have advice for pursuing volunteer and shadowing opportunities while working full time in a non-clinical career?

I'm mostly curious as to how you approach doctors for shadowing opportunities if you don't know any doctors personally. (Obviously after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted)

Also, what is the best way to build up volunteer hours? Little-by-little? Big push?

I live alone and work full time (plus overtime) so I'm not sure whether stretching out my days with a couple volunteer hours tacked on to my work day or a 3-5 hour volunteer day on a day off would be best. I have two dogs that are basically my only commitment, but with the overtime I'm working I could afford to send them to doggy daycare on days when I volunteer.

I'm thinking about studying for and taking the MCAT first, then jumping into volunteer/shadow experience, just because MCAT studying doesn't conflict with COVID restrictions.
Agree w/your idea about taking the MCAT first. What is your GPA like?
 
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Osteosaur

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Not sure what things are like with COVID.

For clinical volunteering you could try the ED. They at least have people staffing it at night.

For non-clinical you might have to find a day or an afternoon off, or look for something on the weekend. Maybe some kind of mentoring or volunteer service with kids?
 

Meridian32

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I'm mostly curious as to how you approach doctors for shadowing opportunities if you don't know any doctors personally. (Obviously after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted)

In addition to samc's good advice above to ask your PCP, here's what I would recommend:

1) Your undergrad institution may have an alumni website where you can search for and e-mail alumni who are doctors. Back when I was premed, I set up several informational interviews this way (~1 hour meetings or phone calls to talk to doctors and learn more about their work, what they like/dislike, etc.), which were very helpful. I found two premed shadowing opportunities this way.

2) Your state has state medical specialty organizations - e.g., the Washington Academy of Family Physicians for family medicine in WA state. These organizations sometimes have shadowing programs for premed students. If they don't, you can still e-mail them to ask if they have members who would be open to informational interviews and/or shadowing. I found another two premed shadowing opportunities this way.

3) Having just finished a two year stint as an attending at an academic hospital, I think it is also completely fair game to look up and e-mail attendings at your local academic hospital, if there is one, to ask for an informational interview and/or shadowing. As an attending, I really enjoyed having premed folks shadow, and wish more people had contacted me! Also, most people in academic medicine really enjoy teaching learners.

As you said, in-person shadowing will not be happening for some time due to the pandemic, but informational interviews over phone or video are still an option these days.
 
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jhmmd

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I used the D.O. mentor website to find shadowing opportunities (it may no longer be around), and sent out emails that way. Also sent out similar emails to find research opportunities. Remember research is no longer the "icing on the cake" for most med schools; it's a requirement.
 
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