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kronickm

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Let me set up the scenario for a sec.
I am a non-traditional student in a post-bac program at drexel college of medicine. (was a philosophy major at a fairly prominent liberal arts college)

Since I graduated in 2004, I worked for the Red Cross as a phlebotomist at blood drives for a year and a half.

I have since moved to philadelphia for the post-bac program, and been working full-time at a major hospital (Thomas Jefferson Univ. Hosp.) as a tech in the blood donor center there. I screen blood donors, preform health histories, take physical findings, draw blood from donors, and preform first line processing of blood. I also preform therapeutic phlebotomies and apheresis (plasma exchanges, platelet/WBC depletions, collect Stem Cells for transplant) on both inpatients and outpatients with the hospital. I also regularly attend rounds and get a great deal of experience with pathologists, hematologists and oncologists.

Basically my question is this; I have a year left in my post-bac program, should I continue with this job, or do I need to volunteer? In other words, is it the health care experience that allo med schools are looking for or is it the fact that you volunteer? Unfortunatly with full-time job and part-time school I don't have time for volunteering and I am wondering if I need to make time.

Any insight would be great.
 

Krisss17

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I, too, would love to hear some feedback. Working in the medical field for numerous years, what would I gain by volunteering in a hospital. Many of the volunteers in the hospital I work in, do not really have any patient involvement, although they will assist the families of patients in little ways.

Krisss17
 

Lshapley

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Well, to me, it looks like you have the health experience that they are looking for more than covered. If you wanted to augment this, I would suggest doing some shadowing (perhaps in a totally different area if possible?) to show that you have a clear idea of what happens on the doctor side as well.

As for the altruistic part, that is really up to you. It is certainly something that is good to have on your resume, but it wouldn't be required for your application since you already have the health experience through your job. If you do feel like you would like to volunteer, why don't you do some non-medical (Habitat for Humanity, for instance) over one of your breaks from school?

Good luck!
 
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droyd78

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Take this with a grain of salt, since we can only guess about what any particular adcom is looking for, but it seems to me if you have plenty of clinical experience through a job, why not volunteer doing something you would like to do, helping somewhere you feel is worthwhile? Sure, shadow some docs, but I don't see why volunteering has to be medically oriented since your full-time job is medically oriented.

Plus, it'll give you something interesting to talk about during an interview.
 

Johnny_D

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Volunteers do not get nearly the patient contact as an employee does. Also, they do not get to do procedures or sticks of any sort. I took a job as an ER technician to get the patient contact and also to get my hands dirty and show the adcoms that I am willing to do the work. If you are going to volunteer, do it because you want to, not because you think it will look good. Your best bet is to keep the job with the patient contact.
 

Pettie Baige

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Volunteers do not get nearly the patient contact as an employee does. Also, they do not get to do procedures or sticks of any sort. I took a job as an ER technician to get the patient contact and also to get my hands dirty and show the adcoms that I am willing to do the work. If you are going to volunteer, do it because you want to, not because you think it will look good. Your best bet is to keep the job with the patient contact.

I was wondering, how can you be qualified to work as an ER tech? I've always wanted to do that. but haven't seen much info around.. any info will be appreciated
 

SunshineNYC

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Definitely keep your job if you love doing it. I don't think you should do anything that you don't want to do, even for medical school. If you do what you love it will show in how you speak about it and how you write about it on your application. Stick with the job and if you can give a day on the weekend or just a few hours a week to some sort of volunteer thing, then go ahead and do that. It doesn't even have to be medically related, you could just give a little time to a soup kitchen or whatever just to show that you are a giving person... I think you have the clinical exposure down in your current job though. Don't worry about it.
 

Johnny_D

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I was wondering, how can you be qualified to work as an ER tech? I've always wanted to do that. but haven't seen much info around.. any info will be appreciated

It depends on the hospital. Some are willing to train you from square one, while others require prior experience/certifications. From what I have found, the smaller, less desirable hospitals in which to work are more willing to take someone with no previous experience because they are hurting for people. The turnover rate is high and the pay sucks. I did it for the experience. PM me if you need anything else.
 

MystA RavE

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Volunteers do not get nearly the patient contact as an employee does. Also, they do not get to do procedures or sticks of any sort. I took a job as an ER technician to get the patient contact and also to get my hands dirty and show the adcoms that I am willing to do the work. If you are going to volunteer, do it because you want to, not because you think it will look good. Your best bet is to keep the job with the patient contact.

That's not always true. I do volunteer EMS and my hands get quite dirty.
 
S

Scooby-Doo

you are so lucky that your city allows you to volunteer as an EMS. My state does not allow volunteers oppurtunity.
 

Johnny_D

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That's not always true. I do volunteer EMS and my hands get quite dirty.

I was strictly referring to the ER setting within the hospital. In my area, you can volunteer with the EMS. Thanks for clarifying
 

LizzyM

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OP, you've got the clinical exposure covered. Volunteering is often a way to get clinical exposure but obviously, in your case, it is not essential.

However, it might be useful to list a couple of activities (could be cultural, political, athletic, service to others, work experience) you took part in as an undergrad even if they don't seem to be medically related. It shows that you were doing something beyond just studying as an undergrad.
 

neurodoc

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See if they have a Free Clinic in your town. Here in the SF Bay Area we have two: the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic and the Berkeley Free Clinic. I volunteered at both before and after med school. It was a great experience with lots of patient contact, and it's work you can feel good about.:)

Nick
 

Pettie Baige

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for the ones who previously replied regarding working in ER.. which states do you live in where they allow you to do that.. or not?

I live in metro area in GA, and having difficulties finding volunteering opportunities in big hospital settings.
seems like they are strict about it or something..
any advice??
 

droyd78

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Where I live (Denver area) ER tech jobs are hard to come by. They are all EMT-B at least, and most of the techs I seem to meet are paramedics. As far as getting a hospital job or volunteer opportunity, I think the best thing by far is to get in the door somewhere, regardless of whether or not you start out doing the ideal job. Once you're in the system somewhere, it makes it so much easier to move around. Get to know people, ask if you can shadow them, learn their job and then you'll be in a great position to move into that when there's an opening. And by being on the inside you will already know who has the hiring power, which allows you to partially sidestep the labyrinth of HR.

Hope that helps some.
 

DropkickMurphy

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See if they have a Free Clinic in your town. Here in the SF Bay Area we have two: the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic and the Berkeley Free Clinic. I volunteered at both before and after med school. It was a great experience with lots of patient contact, and it's work you can feel good about.:)

Nick
Do you get to claim pediculicide as a business expense or other tax writeoff?
 

kronickm

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Thanks for some feedback. Just to update I found an opportunity within the hospital I currently work in as a volunteer research assistant for an acute chest pain study in the ER :D mucho patient/physician contact and research and the like. In addition to this I also went to the American Cancer Society and will be volunteering at all their special events doing whatever I can (occasional weekends only).

Basically the message that I have gotten from all the doctors and such that I have spoken to is that the more you can talk about in your interview the better; be it medical, research, or just plain altruism.
 

ViolinCello

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I am curious about this too. I'm a nurse, and i was told that I need to have medical volunteering by 2 of my state schools. I guess it depends on the school.
 

kronickm

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I am curious about this too. I'm a nurse, and i was told that I need to have medical volunteering by 2 of my state schools. I guess it depends on the school.

To be honest that sounds like excuses to on the part of the schools to me. From what I have come to understand, you need medical experience, and you need to volunteer. The two however need not be done concurrently.

It makes sense. The reason they want medical experience is so they know you know what medicine is about and that you may have some idea what your doing. The reason they want volunteer experience is to know that you are a good person, and you aren't becoming a doctor for the free drug-rep lunches/dinners and salary. The two seem to be mutually exclusive.
 
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