Cwc127

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 11, 2007
67
0
Status
I recently started volunteering at the local ER, and basically, they have me escorting / wheeling patients from the ER to other locales within the hospital, such as the treatment clinics, medical annexes, CCU's, etc.

I have read on numerous medical school websites that admissions committees value meaningful patient contact experiences, and state specifically, "which does not involve merely shadowing or simply transporting films to radiology." So...would my current position fit the mold of "valuable" patient contact? Or, does it need to be more that what I am doing?


Also, I have heard that a few of the secondaries for schools that I am interested in ask for any community service experience. Does volunteer work in the ER qualify as clinical experience and community service?
 

locus000

For my Viet peeps!
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2008
460
3
New Orleans
Status
Resident [Any Field]
ER will be clinical experience, you are working in a healthcare environment dealing with patients. So it is meaningful experience. I did the same thing transporting patient and I learned a lot from it.

Community service is non-medicine related volunteering like volunteering at a homeless shelter, salvation army, cleaning up a park, etc...
 

Poliscidoc

7+ Year Member
Jul 28, 2009
1,783
77
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Volunteering in the Hospital is what you make it out to be. On my application I wouldn't put I pushed person 1 from point A to B. Plus the more you volunteer and they see you in the setting the more they will let you do.
 
Aug 3, 2009
74
0
East Coast
Status
Medical Student
Wheeling patients around is a lot different from transporting films. That right there is your patient contact. My advice is to make it a meaningful experience. Be cheerful and talk with the patient. Ask them if you are the best "wheeler" in the world that they have ever seen. Smile. Try to make their unpleasant experience just a little more pleasant.

Adcoms are under no illusion that you won't be able to do much by way of procedures, practicing medicine, etc. (it would be illegal to say the least :) !) But you can talk to the patients and get their opinion on the care that they are receiving. Ask them what they think of doctors and then ask for their advice on how you can become a compassionate doctor one day.

The most meaningful clinical volunteer experiences I ever had were walking through the waiting room at the end of a shift and having to pass all the friends and family members. It was a great reminder of why I wanted to be a doctor.
 

rigel

"nontraditional"
10+ Year Member
Sep 9, 2008
86
1
MAKE PORTLAND NORMAL
Status
Medical Student
First piece of advice is, if you're currently in a private hospital ED, keep doing it but try to get a volunteer gig at a public hospital ED in the meantime (or even concurrently!), especially if there's a Trauma center there. it's my impression that public hospitals are more likely to be understaffed and under-funded, so consequently you're more likely to be filling a greater need there. If there's a Trauma Center, you're also more likely to have more opportunity to do stuff like watch (or participate in!) CPR, surgeries, the more gruesome stuff. it's more likely to challenge your comfort zone, basically. at the public hospital i did some hours at, they even had a progrram that was sort of a mini-rotations, where you got to go around to each of the different departments for a couple weeks each and see what it was like.

Second piece of advice is, maximize what you can get out of it. be proactive, if someone looks cold, ask if they'd like a blanket. people in the ED are not likely to want to be there in the first place, and it's the small, simple acts of kindness that can make their waiting times more tolerable. get to know the staff, pick their brains about medicine in your downtime, ask if you can watch procedures, but be careful of getting in people's way. basically, if you want to be a doctor and care for people, act like it!

good luck and enjoy it. the ED can be totally mindblowing sometimes.
 

TopSecret

Removed
Jul 14, 2009
1,095
4
949, 310
Status
Attending Physician
I recently started volunteering at the local ER, and basically, they have me escorting / wheeling patients from the ER to other locales within the hospital, such as the treatment clinics, medical annexes, CCU's, etc.

I have read on numerous medical school websites that admissions committees value meaningful patient contact experiences, and state specifically, "which does not involve merely shadowing or simply transporting films to radiology." So...would my current position fit the mold of "valuable" patient contact? Or, does it need to be more that what I am doing?


Also, I have heard that a few of the secondaries for schools that I am interested in ask for any community service experience. Does volunteer work in the ER qualify as clinical experience and community service?
If you transport enough patients and you're BLS certified, you could end up doing CPR on patients. That'd be considered meaningful.
 

FuturaDocta

Pop_Princess_MD
10+ Year Member
Jan 22, 2009
1,216
1
Off the charts
Status
I recently started volunteering at the local ER, and basically, they have me escorting / wheeling patients from the ER to other locales within the hospital, such as the treatment clinics, medical annexes, CCU's, etc.

I have read on numerous medical school websites that admissions committees value meaningful patient contact experiences, and state specifically, "which does not involve merely shadowing or simply transporting films to radiology." So...would my current position fit the mold of "valuable" patient contact? Or, does it need to be more that what I am doing?


Also, I have heard that a few of the secondaries for schools that I am interested in ask for any community service experience. Does volunteer work in the ER qualify as clinical experience and community service?
Haha, I actually just started doing the same thing at this one major rural hospital. I thought the ER was nice, but I could hardly talk to the patients. When I did, I could hardly get a coherent answer from any of them. So, our conversations just sounded like:

Patient: *mumble mumble mumble*

Me: Oh.. ok. Uh-huh. (smile and nod) [Proceed to aid as usual]

Patient: Thhahnck youplbbbb

The most I get out of the ER is how to be a tech and how to communicate with the patient through their body language. Not to mention, you can really get a work out from pushing 600+ lb patients everywhere (depends on the geography of course).

Then, I went to the surgical ICU. Now, that is what I was looking for. I was able to talk to patients one to one and the doctors and nurses are able to teach you stuff since conditions are a bit more stable than ER. If you really value details and patient contact, then see if you can go to the ICU:).
 

TopSecret

Removed
Jul 14, 2009
1,095
4
949, 310
Status
Attending Physician
Haha, I actually just started doing the same thing at this one major rural hospital. I thought the ER was nice, but I could hardly talk to the patients. When I did, I could hardly get a coherent answer from any of them. So, our conversations just sounded like:

Patient: *mumble mumble mumble*

Me: Oh.. ok. Uh-huh. (smile and nod) [Proceed to aid as usual]

Patient: Thhahnck youplbbbb

The most I get out of the ER is how to be a tech and how to communicate with the patient through their body language. Not to mention, you can really get a work out from pushing 600+ lb patients everywhere (depends on the geography of course).

Then, I went to the surgical ICU. Now, that is what I was looking for. I was able to talk to patients one to one and the doctors and nurses are able to teach you stuff since conditions are a bit more stable than ER. If you really value details and patient contact, then see if you can go to the ICU:).
A lot of ICU patients cannot talk because they're intubated.
 

Daran

10+ Year Member
Apr 5, 2009
36
0
a monotonous world
Status
Pre-Medical
Haha, I actually just started doing the same thing at this one major rural hospital. I thought the ER was nice, but I could hardly talk to the patients. When I did, I could hardly get a coherent answer from any of them. So, our conversations just sounded like:

Patient: *mumble mumble mumble*

Me: Oh.. ok. Uh-huh. (smile and nod) [Proceed to aid as usual]

Patient: Thhahnck youplbbbb
Oh man, I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who goes through this. I thought that I was starting to go insane due to all of the transporting, but patients really do just mumble alot more.
 

TopSecret

Removed
Jul 14, 2009
1,095
4
949, 310
Status
Attending Physician
Oh man, I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who goes through this. I thought that I was starting to go insane due to all of the transporting, but patients really do just mumble alot more.
Some patients also forget to wear their dentures or are missing a lot of their teeth.
 

fried rice

10+ Year Member
Feb 19, 2009
86
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I recently started volunteering at the local ER, and basically, they have me escorting / wheeling patients from the ER to other locales within the hospital, such as the treatment clinics, medical annexes, CCU's, etc.
I did the exact same thing in my volunteering gig. Through it, I wound up working as a scribe in the ER.