capone2975

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Currently doing my MBA part time in the evenings and am thinking of doing post bacc starting in the fall. What EC's are a must for someone thinking of getting into med school?
 

jmugele

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capone2975 said:
Currently doing my MBA part time in the evenings and am thinking of doing post bacc starting in the fall. What EC's are a must for someone thinking of getting into med school?
I think the main thing, especially for a non-trad, is having the clinical experience. This show schools that you know what you're getting into. I was told this by a couple advisors -- even as I was doing volunteering at a free clinic. The volunteering wasn't good enough because there wasn't enough direct patient interaction. So, I had to go out and arrange to do more doctor shadowing.
 

Law2Doc

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capone2975 said:
Currently doing my MBA part time in the evenings and am thinking of doing post bacc starting in the fall. What EC's are a must for someone thinking of getting into med school?
I've had admissions people tell me that the "ideal candidate" will have both clinical and research experience. Clinical covers anything with some form of patient interaction and runs the gamut of hospital volunteering and shadowing. Research needn't be laboratory research -- it can also be clinical research studies (eg. statistical studies based on case files). But there are certainly people who get into med school without having both these forms of EC.
 

ntmed

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Good advice from jmugele and Law2Doc on the importance of clinical experience. But I want to emphasize that clinical experience is not optional.

All medical schools in the U.S. require that you have clinical experience. In addition, all osteopathic medical schools require that at some some of your clinical experience was with an osteopathic physician.

And in any other ECs you select, the important thing is that you demonstrate a spirit of excellence and compassion.
 
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capone2975

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Thank you everyone!!! It seems like the patient interaction is pretty important. How long does someone need to shadow a doc. I read one guy shadowed an ER doc for 60 hours and I see some other people say a day or two. Also, does anyone have any recommendations on how to approach doc's to do the shadowing?
 

ntmed

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capone2975 said:
How long does someone need to shadow a doc.
You should have enough hours in order to know that being a physician is the right choice for you. In practical terms, you should also volunteer long enough so that you have something intelligent to talk about during interviews (you may be asked about volunteer experiences). IMHO, I think 100-200 hours is a minimum, although many applicants have 500 hours or more.
 

efex101

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Most applicants have substantial shadowing/volunteering although we will hear about the ocassional oddball with minimal of either but this is not the norm. Competition is fierce and the more you have the better off you will be. Also, make sure that you are not exclusively doing this to pad your application but because you do have a genuine intereste in whatever you volunteer. Adcoms "can" read btw the lines and for the most part are aware of who is blowing smoke up their anal sphincter. The best for non-trads is to take your time in this process and not rush through it. It is best to apply *later* but get in via the first attempt than apply sooner and possibly not receive and acceptance. Take your pre-reqs and do extremely well, shadow some physicians, pick up a volunteer activity that you will enjoy and you will be set.
 

QofQuimica

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I would like to add that you should look into doing RECENT CLINICAL VOLUNTEERING, as opposed to just volunteering in non-clinical contexts or just shadowing. I have had pre-application interviews at a few schools, and in every case, I was told to start doing clinical volunteering, even though I was already doing nonclinical volunteering, was already doing shadowing, and had already done clinical volunteering in the past. So I started volunteering in the outpatient surgical unit as well, which satisfies this requirement.

I am not sure that the amount of time you spend per week matters as much as your consistency. The schools did not ever ask me how many hours per week I volunteered; rather, they wanted to know how many years or months I had been volunteering or shadowing consistently. So I think it is best to do an hour or two each week for several months or even a couple of years, rather than try to spend a month doing clinical volunteering or shadowing full time. Of course, if you don't have that much time, you won't be able to do as much, but if you start now and apply this year, you should be able to easily have six months or more of volunteering and shadowing by the time you go to interview.

Here's one more suggestion that might be useful to some of you: I also got involved with my school's pre-med honor society, and that has been very helpful in terms of getting more clinical and non-clinical volunteering opportunities, access to people and resources available to help pre-meds, advice for strengthening the application, etc. I am the only non-undergraduate member, but I have been very pleasantly surprised by the willingness of the younger members, some of whom are my former students, to include me. Plus it is just nice for the moral support, since my co-workers are not pre-med, and I have a unique shared comraderie with the pre-med college kids. Also they know way more than I do about just about everything related to applying to medical school. The teacher has become the student. :laugh:
 

efex101

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Absolutely agree with the above it is not about how much pwer week but how *long* you have been doing this.
 

Em&M

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capone2975 said:
Also, does anyone have any recommendations on how to approach doc's to do the shadowing?
I was in the same position as you about a year ago and since then I have been able to shadow a number of physicians.

First, I asked my own internist if I could shadow him. Then, since I actually work for a University research lab, I asked a couple of the Fellows if I could hang with them during their clinical rounds (It did require jumping through some hoops on my end though becuase the University's hospital has rules...) I also volunteer at a hospital ER so I just hung around in everybody's business until I was able to gather the courage to ask 2 of the ER docs if I could follow them around during my volunteer shift. I also called some underserved clinics in the area and asked if there would be any volunteer/shadowing opportunities for me. Many of them told me that they had enough volunteers but were happy to let me come in once and awhile and shadow the clinic docs (provided they were not actual students...) Last, but not least, I grew a set of b*&#s and started asking anybody that I knew who either was a physician or knew one personally. This was the hardest thing for me to do because I am normally quite reserved and this kind of "cold-calling" was far outside my comfort zone. But... I want to be a physician more than I want to save face!

That being said, it is very important to remember that when you are approaching a doctor about a shadowing possibility remember a few key rules:

Acknowledge that you know they are busy and ask them if they could squeeze you in for an hour or two. (Usually you will get a whole lot more than that but if you start small, it is harder for them to say,"no")

Go out of your way to find a time that is convenient for them. I have had to make some pretty ridiculous changes to my schedule, including missing key events/meetings in order to accomodate the doc's schedule but I always remember that I am using HIS/HER time, not my own...

Only after you have shadowed them and have a general feel to their level of comfort with the situation do you ask to shadow again. Do not ask for a firm time and date right then and there, just a verbal committment to let you come back. Go home, send a nice Thank You card and a week (or two) later, call or email and ask to come back...

These are the little etiquette rules that I have found to work very well. Every doctor that I have shadowed has seemed greatful for my respect and concern of his/her time and has been openly receptive to my flexibility with their busy schedules. Believe me, this is no easy feat for me with a full time job, a family, post-bacc. courses and volunteering but it is something that absolutely needs to be done.

Best of Luck to you!
 

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I was told by an med school advisor that clinical volunteering is absolutely critical. Med schools need to see that you have had exposure as to what medicine is all about. This is apparently particularly important for nontrads.

When I asked about research, I was asked, "Are you interested in research?" I admitted that I wasn't and was told that research is not important if you do not want to enter that as a field in medicine.

I agree with the post above re: adcoms being able to read between the lines. I was advised to spend a lot of time doing non-medical related volunteering for something that truly excited me. This will help seperate you from the folks who are obviously targeting all volunteering solely towards buffering their application.
 

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notdeadyet said:
I was told by an med school advisor that clinical volunteering is absolutely critical. Med schools need to see that you have had exposure as to what medicine is all about. This is apparently particularly important for nontrads.

When I asked about research, I was asked, "Are you interested in research?" I admitted that I wasn't and was told that research is not important if you do not want to enter that as a field in medicine.

I agree with the post above re: adcoms being able to read between the lines. I was advised to spend a lot of time doing non-medical related volunteering for something that truly excited me. This will help seperate you from the folks who are obviously targeting all volunteering solely towards buffering their application.
I read that you said clinical volunteering as an important thing so to have an idea re:medicine. I have worked a s a paramedic for 13 years;will this suffice?
I am going to do some volunteering, but just ot sure what type. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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FUTR_DR said:
I read that you said clinical volunteering as an important thing so to have an idea re:medicine. I have worked a s a paramedic for 13 years;will this suffice?
I am going to do some volunteering, but just ot sure what type. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I'm a former EMT and hoped that would be enough, but I've been told that you _need_ to have some experience working side by side with physicians so that you can really get a feel for what the job is like. I was told EMS wasn't enough, since you operate independently so much.

That said, I'm sure your years of EMS experience will be a huge asset on application.
 

Trismegistus4

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notdeadyet said:
I'm a former EMT and hoped that would be enough, but I've been told that you _need_ to have some experience working side by side with physicians so that you can really get a feel for what the job is like. I was told EMS wasn't enough, since you operate independently so much.

That said, I'm sure your years of EMS experience will be a huge asset on application.
Just curious: when you talk about being told these things by a "med school advisor", is that someone who actually works for a medical school, or is it a pre-med advisor?
 
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capone2975

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Thank you for all the info!!!! I also feel uncomfortable asking doc's to shadow, but it seems like it is a must so that is what I will do.

Are there certain types of doc's that are more receptive to shadowing than others?
 

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Trismegistus4 said:
Just curious: when you talk about being told these things by a "med school advisor", is that someone who actually works for a medical school, or is it a pre-med advisor?
My understanding is that a pre-med advisor is just that: a counsellor that works for your undergraduate university that advises pre-med students to help them with their med school applications.

A "med school advisor" is a person who someone can hire that is sort of a consultant who meets with you, looks over your resume/volunteer sheet/grades/etc. and makes recommendations on how to gear your application. They also usually do mock interview and whatnot if you want to pay for it.

The latter can be a bit expensive. Some of the good ones used to be on Admissions Committees for top med schools and their prices can be from $100-$200 per hour. A few hours of consulting is really helping me get ready since it's been <ahem> a long time since i was a college student.
 

notdeadyet

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capone2975 said:
Are there certain types of doc's that are more receptive to shadowing than others?
You might try contacting a local hospital and looking through volunteer opportunities there. This might be your best bet if you live in a metropolitan area...
 

Trismegistus4

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notdeadyet said:
My understanding is that a pre-med advisor is just that: a counsellor that works for your undergraduate university that advises pre-med students to help them with their med school applications.

A "med school advisor" is a person who someone can hire that is sort of a consultant who meets with you, looks over your resume/volunteer sheet/grades/etc. and makes recommendations on how to gear your application. They also usually do mock interview and whatnot if you want to pay for it.

The latter can be a bit expensive. Some of the good ones used to be on Admissions Committees for top med schools and their prices can be from $100-$200 per hour. A few hours of consulting is really helping me get ready since it's been <ahem> a long time since i was a college student.
Thanks for clearing that up.

Another question: you said something else that caught my eye.
I was told by an med school advisor that clinical volunteering is absolutely critical. Med schools need to see that you have had exposure as to what medicine is all about. This is apparently particularly important for nontrads.
I've seen this said before by others, too, and always been curious: why might nontrads be given more scrutiny than "trads"? Is it because there's still an entrenched idea that medicine is a unique "calling" which someone who's truly meant to be a doctor feels even from early childhood, and thus when someone can't claim to have felt it until they were an adult, med schools are skeptical of them?
 

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notdeadyet said:
I was told by an med school advisor that clinical volunteering is absolutely critical. Med schools need to see that you have had exposure as to what medicine is all about. This is apparently particularly important for nontrads.

When I asked about research, I was asked, "Are you interested in research?" I admitted that I wasn't and was told that research is not important if you do not want to enter that as a field in medicine.

I agree with the post above re: adcoms being able to read between the lines. I was advised to spend a lot of time doing non-medical related volunteering for something that truly excited me. This will help seperate you from the folks who are obviously targeting all volunteering solely towards buffering their application.
While I agree that if you are not interested in research there are other ECs of equal import you can do, I do note that some of the more competitive schools looked fondly on my research experience and considered it a very definite plus. Other schools I've spoken to, which considered themselves to be primary care powerhouses, couldn't seem to care less.
 

notdeadyet

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Trismegistus4 said:
I've seen this said before by others, too, and always been curious: why might nontrads be given more scrutiny than "trads"? Is it because there's still an entrenched idea that medicine is a unique "calling" which someone who's truly meant to be a doctor feels even from early childhood, and thus when someone can't claim to have felt it until they were an adult, med schools are skeptical of them?
Oh god, I hope not. I'm not sure that non-trads are given that much more scrutiny than trads. But if you're applying at the age of 22 right out of college, there's only so much life experience you're capable of (this is not an insult, by the way, just math).

When you're applying some years after college, you have a lot more life for them to look at. And if you don't have any demonstratable interest in medicine, I'd say that would raise redflags. We've had a lot of opportunity to do a lot of interesting things. If we haven't...
 

notdeadyet

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Law2Doc said:
While I agree that if you are not interested in research there are other ECs of equal import you can do, I do note that some of the more competitive schools looked fondly on my research experience and considered it a very definite plus. Other schools I've spoken to, which considered themselves to be primary care powerhouses, couldn't seem to care less.
Absolutely. If anyone has a sincere interest in research, I would personally tell them to do as much as they can as med school prep. My point was if you don't have the drive, faking it probably won't do you as much good.

If I could push a button and give me a thirst that only research could quench, I would.
 

Em&M

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capone2975 said:
Are there certain types of doc's that are more receptive to shadowing than others?
It has been my experience (and everyone has a different story) but I have shadowed an internist, 3 FP's, 2 ER docs a nephrologist and a pediatric oncologist. The FP docs were all very receptive to the idea of my shadowing them, the internist maybe only so because he is MY doctor and we already had a rapport but he was so busy that I could barely keep up (and many of the appointments, I was not allowed to observe) The others mearly let me follow them around as long as I kept quiet and just watched. It was still a neat experience but I definately learned more when I was able to interact with the doc during the patient visits and was comfortable asking questions following the exams to clarify various things. It seems to me that FPers have a little less intense of a working environment and may have more time to actually explain things.

My suggestion of looking at free/sliding fee clinics was because that is where you will probably find docs that are FP's or internists and are used to unconventional, low-intensity working environments and would probably be more available for question/answer and teaching while they were working.

Aside from that, literally, ask around to all of your friends and family. People know physicians everywhere. Get their names and call them up, apologize for intruding but explain how you got their name and number (if you don't know them personally), explain what you would like to do but don't put them in the uncomfortable position of having to give you a definitive time and date right there. You will find that most doctors are going to be really receptive to this. Although, let's not kid ourselves, I have run into a few along the way that were not only NOT receptive, they were downright rude and it can be a little disinheartening.

Just remember why you want to do what you want to do and start stalking every lead you have...

Sorry these get so long, I feel that this is an area in which I have a good base of recent experience to draw from!

Bye. GL!