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Volunteering?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by IndieMed, Aug 1, 2015.

  1. IndieMed

    2+ Year Member

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    I know I need volunteer work in a medical setting, but what do medical schools think about volunteering in say a library (6-12 months) ? NY cares(2 years)? and internships non medical related? (helping immigrant youth learn about the US education and job system)? please help. Am I wasting my time with all of this? I like volunteering and giving my time where ever possible for the need of others. Thank you. I also need to build up my resume since I don't have much volunteer work.
     
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  3. partypantss

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    Doing a volunteer experience that you ENJOY is the important thing. If you found something you like and has meaning to you, then keep doing it throughout college. Volunteering and clinical exposure are separate requirements, you don't ever have to volunteer in a healthcare setting, just make sure you get clinical exposure through other means (most commonly shadowing.) Community service of any kind is definitely good for your application and is expected by many schools.
     
  4. Doctor Dream

    Doctor Dream Eating the 5 pancakes
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    Both the NY cares and working with immigrants sound like great volunteering gigs! What do you do in the library?

    Not relevant to OP's question but just wanted to point out it's probably more beneficial to get clinical exposure outside of shadowing. There's no way I could convince myself or anyone else I want to be around sick people all my life by sitting on the sidelines and observing.
     
  5. candbgirl

    candbgirl Junior Member
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    Wrong.
    OP your current volunteer activities sound wonderful and will be great additions to your application. But you absolutely have to have clinical exposure outside of shadowing. Shadowing is passive exposure- like what does a doctor do each day. Clinical volunteering exposes you to and allows you to interject with people in very unusual situations. Without this type of volunteering how do you know you want to be around and dealing with sick people for the next 40 years. It has been said many times on here by our illustrious and very generous Adcoms that the lack of clinical volunteering can sink an otherwise exemplary application. So you do need shadowing and you do need clinical work. Good luck!
     
  6. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Just want to make clear that clinical volunteering is not essential but clinical experience is. Paid clinical experience can substitute for clinical volunteering but volunteering of some kind is important and community service through education and social service agencies certainly does count and is slightly less common (making it more interesting for an interviewer to ask about) than some of the more common experiences.
     
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  7. partypantss

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    There are other ways to get clinical exposure besides clinical volunteering/ shadowing. Shadowing is just generally a good place to start, and if OP is already spending lots of time volunteering for all these other things that he or she enjoys, then there's no reason he or she should have to take on volunteering in a healthcare setting. I would recommend FIRST shadowing, then trying to become a scribe or become a phlebotemist or EMT or a bunch of other things. I did not say to ONLY get clinical exposure through shadowing, just that there's no reason he or she HAS to do more volunteering in healthcare in order to get clinical exposure. That could very well end up being the easiest way for OP to get clinical exposure, but I was just pointing out it's not required. "clinical volunteering" is not a requirement, just "volunteering" and "clinical exposure." They never have to overlap.
     
  8. Goro

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    Not all clinical experiences have to be in a hospital. Think clinics, nursing homes, hospice, Planned Parenthood, camps for sick children, Ronald McDonald House, or crisis hotlines.



     
  9. Goro

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    You heard wrong. Very wrong.
     
  10. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    I wouldn't count Ronald McDonald House as clinical experience. Most if not all of the people there are healthy but they have a loved one in the hospital. The work is more along the lines of hospitality for guests.

    Hotlines are good experience but I've seen some adcoms question them if the applicant has not had an "in-person" experience as well as the phone line is not face-to-face.

    I have mixed feelings about nursing homes as clinical experience. Most of the time the people are treated as residents, people who live in a place. Would you count volunteering in a senior center as "clinical"? Being engaged with clinical activities such pushing wheelchairs, helping people with PT or OT, and so forth would count but I would not count playing a piano in the nursing home as "clinical".
     
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  11. Goro

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    This is one of those rare times I disagree with my learned colleague. Part of the clinical volunteering experience is to show us that you can get along and interact with not only patients, but their family members as well.

    Being around a nursing home is uncomfortable for many people. We don't like being reminded of our mortality. This is why I pitch this and working in hospice. I suspect that SDNers might like playing piano for the elderly more than stocking supplies in the ER pantry, perhaps.

     
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  12. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    If the purpose of clinical experience is to see what it is like to be around patients, then you need to be close enough to smell patients, as I like to say. I might like to play the piano but if there are no patients present, then it is not a clinical experience.

    I think that nursing homes make people uncomfortable not due to fear of mortality but with a fear of older adults with physical and mental disabilities and poor hygiene.
     
  13. NotASerialKiller

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    Is mandatory clinical experience just as good? I was briefly in a Nursing program, and spent a semester in a long-term care facility where I helped feed/change residents as well as talking to them about their lives. I felt that that was a great experience, but maybe it looks almost reluctant because it was a mandatory placement for the program I was in?
     
  14. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Mandatory placements absolutely count. Just list it in the experience section. Feeding and changing nursing home residents is certainly an experience with patients.
     
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