the shretiology

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As far as experience goes, what is the best hospital job a pre-med undergrad student could get to help them out to prepare them for life as a physician?
 

Pose

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Scribe. For sure. You work directly with physicians, observe, chart, and track patient labs/studies/metrics.

Second to that, I'd vote for ED tech. I did it, and it was tremendously enlightening.
 

MedMinded

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Scribe. For sure. You work directly with physicians, observe, chart, and track patient labs/studies/metrics.

Second to that, I'd vote for ED tech. I did it, and it was tremendously enlightening.
I was an ED Tech for 2 years of undergrad and I had a phenomenal experience as well. I'd highly recommend it to anyone that has the opportunity.
 

MedMinded

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I thought I should add that you may have to "work up the ranks" so to speak. I started off as a volunteer, then was a patient sitter somewhere else, and finally a tech at a 3rd hospital.

Basically, you may have to find a job that gets your foot in the door first and work your way up to better experiences. Just remember that any experience is better than no experience!
 

compstomper

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I would also say working as a scribe has helped tremendously. I learned so much about how everything works in medicine, and perhaps more importantly, my clinical experience was beyond reproach, and this certainly showed in interviews. I strongly suspect this helped me nab a few interviews that I may not have gotten otherwise, and I also got fantastic LORs from the physicians I worked with.
 

Jewels86

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ED Tech for sure!! Scribe is still good but the ED Tech gets the hands-on experience that the scribe does not. For instance, when the nurse needs help, the ED Tech is the one who goes in. Also, the ED Tech is part of the team whereas the scribe hangs with the docs. I LOVE my Techs; without them, my life would be much more difficult.

Oh...EMT-B?? It's a semester long and you're in the field doing pre-hospital assessments. Just a thought :)
 

Mad Jack

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I'm going to go with ED tech as well. I was a tech prior to my job as an RRT. I found the position really helped develop my clinical skills and my ability to interact with patients, and it gives you a perspective from the trenches that many future physicians will never have. Being a scribe shows you a lot of the paperwork and planning side of things, but doesn't really get you the sort of hands-on experience that develops you substantially as an applicant. Plus hands-on experience and direct patient care really looks great when you are applying to schools. Of the group of techs I work with, 4 have matriculated to medical school aside from myself (and one become a RRT, four others became RNs, and two became PAs- our ED is like a factory for success or something). EMT work is also a solid choice, as are PCA/CNA jobs. They show that you can work with patients in a clinical environment and that you are willing to do hands-on, difficult work.
 

LostinLift

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Scribe has my vote, though I'm obviously biased as a scribe. While techs get to do more hands on stuff, we stick to the docs like glue and get to see everything they do as well what's going on in their head. I don't think it's technically allowed but many scribes are able to do hands on things. I have taken several patient histories, went back to ask patients about updates or questions the doc didn't ask, and other basic things. Scribing also has minimal training or experience requirements, I'm not sure how techs get trained but I know it's more involved and difficult than scribing.

Some scribes probably don't get to be as involved as this, so being a tech is a great route as well, especially if you need/want more patient/people interaction.
 
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Scribe has my vote, though I'm obviously biased as a scribe. While techs get to do more hands on stuff, we stick to the docs like glue and get to see everything they do as well what's going on in their head. I don't think it's technically allowed but many scribes are able to do hands on things. I have taken several patient histories, went back to ask patients about updates or questions the doc didn't ask, and other basic things. Scribing also has minimal training or experience requirements, I'm not sure how techs get trained but I know it's more involved and difficult than scribing.

Some scribes probably don't get to be as involved as this, so being a tech is a great route as well, especially if you need/want more patient/people interaction.

How exactly does one go about becoming a tech? I'm guessing there is some class or certification you need to obtain first.
 

Pose

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How exactly does one go about becoming a tech? I'm guessing there is some class or certification you need to obtain first.
Really depends on the area. In Massachusetts you can be an EMT, CNA, medical assistant, or nursing student to land an ED tech job. Many places will just give you on-the-job training, so long as you have some type of baseline certification, training, or experience.
 
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I worked with the department of family medicine and community health at my state's medical school, as well as at their prevention research center. Great research experience, some patient contact, interaction with doctors, and I got 2 publications out of it.
 
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Though all solid as far as gaining experience for the individual goes, scribe, tech, and EMT-B are all nominal as far as improving one's application. The reason? They are all "vanilla," and solidly put you among the 80% of applicants. These are the most common roles pre-meds take so as to check the clinical volunteer box. Peruse the WAMC threads and see just how many applicants list one of these roles among their clinical volunteering; it's really quite astonishing how common they are.

If you want to stand out, get a role as a bedside hospice volunteer, work in a nursing home with people who have dementia, or go do some foot care management with a podiatrist (seriously) among the homeless or indigent diabetics.

Remember that the people interviewing you want to know what was meaningful about your clinical volunteering, not just that you did it.
 
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QofQuimica

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Though all solid as far as gaining experience for the individual goes, scribe, tech, and EMT-B are all nominal as far as improving one's application. The reason? They are all "vanilla," and solidly put you among the 80% of applicants. These are the most common roles pre-meds take so as to check the clinical volunteer box. Peruse the WAMC threads and see just how many applicants list one of these roles among their clinical volunteering; it's really quite astonishing how common they are.

If you want to stand out, get a role as a bedside hospice volunteer, work in a nursing home with people who have dementia, or go do some foot care management with a podiatrist (seriously) among the homeless or indigent diabetics.

Remember that the people interviewing you want to know what was meaningful about your clinical volunteering, not just that you did it.
You do realize, right, that your last sentence contradicts the rest of your post? And incidentally, it (the last sentence) is the only part I agree with. Unless you're wanting to be a podiatrist, in which case shadowing a podiatrist (probably?) makes sense.

OP, there is no hierarchy of paid clinical jobs that adcoms place you on to decide if your job is "worthier" than other jobs. You don't have to ever work in healthcare at all if you have exposure to what physicians do in some other context such as shadowing or volunteering. If you do want a healthcare area job, then pick something that you think you'll enjoy doing, and do it well. Because what most impressed me as an adcom was 1) that the applicant's employer waxed eloquently about what a responsible, enthusiastic, team player kind of person the applicant was in his/her LOR, and 2) that the applicant was able to articulate why medicine, giving specific examples from their clinical experience that helped inform their decision.

I should point out too that you should not be getting a job in healthcare with the idea that it will give you a leg up on being a physician. As I've said in other threads, if you want to develop a truly helpful skill for all physicians to have, then do some kind of customer service or sales work where you're dealing with difficult people. Because that's a pretty significant aspect of my job.
 
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You do realize, right, that your last sentence contradicts the rest of your post? And incidentally, it (the last sentence) is the only part I agree with. Unless you're wanting to be a podiatrist, in which case shadowing a podiatrist (probably?) makes sense.
I can see how the last sentence could be read as a contradiction, though I don't think it is inherently so; the thoughts I shared could actually be taken as complimentary if applied to the overall complexity of the application process. Maybe I could have worded it as, "You need to have meaningful experiences in your clinical volunteer work, but it doesn't do you much good to volunteer in the same capacity as the bulk of other applicants, since such can be viewed as naught more than an exercise in box-checking." Something along those lines.

Many people can wax poetic about being a medical scribe or EMT-B, as will all of the interviewees the rest of the day; whereas, doing something genuinely unique will help the individual stand out. As the dean of admissions at my state school informed me, 10% of the applicants are going to be automatically accepted, and 10% are going to be automatically rejected. The real work comes in sorting through the 80% of those applicants who look essentially the same.

I know Q is someone with a vast amount of personal experience in these matters, and, therefore, I will not suggest my advice is better than hers, because it isn't. That said, she knows what it's like to see applicant after applicant with such similar experiences, it has to be difficult at the end of the day to distinguish among them, remembering who was who. We all have to keep in mind as pre-meds that a heckuva lot of applicants are rejected with above average stats and experience. From what I've been told--and from what I've seen on SDN--often the influencing factors in choosing one applicant over another are subtle. I guess my advice to the OP was to do something "subtle" to make himself memorable come interview time. He will be following an entire morning of 3.6, 30, ER Tech interviewees, and there will be an afternoon chock-full of 3.7, 31, scribes after him. Not surprisingly, they all had life-changing experiences stocking shelves, or transcribing SOAP notes.

Also, the work one could do with a podiatrist has nothing to do with podiatry directly, yet it has everything to do with gaining honest-to-goodness, hands-on patient care with the underserved in an interesting setting. Plus, it is difficult to find a more humbling experience--save being a CNA in a nursing home--than working with people's feet. As with everything on SDN, one must sort through everything and apply it to his or her situation.

Q is among the top 5 best users for advice on here, having helped a great number of us through this process. That said, perhaps my suggestions will be helpful for a couple or three people reading this thread. Both have their place.
 
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Pose

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If you do the job well and seek out the additional opportunities it will allow you, you'll stand out. I was a tech, which was hardly ever outright discussed during my interviews. However, I spent a lot of time discussing the quality improvement committees I served on, the additional classes and responsibilities I took on (preceptor to new employees, HAZMAT team, CPR instructor, and so on). Just be awesome at your job, be dedicated, and make friends. And realize that patient satisfaction is going to be a major focus of your job, much like other service industries. It's all about managing expectations. All the other stuff, like learning technical skills, following doctors around, and having memorable/touching patient stories are just secondary perks of the job that probably won't help you get into school.
 
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the shretiology

the shretiology

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If you do the job well and seek out the additional opportunities it will allow you, you'll stand out. I was a tech, which was hardly ever outright discussed during my interviews. However, I spent a lot of time discussing the quality improvement committees I served on, the additional classes and responsibilities I took on (preceptor to new employees, HAZMAT team, CPR instructor, and so on). Just be awesome at your job, be dedicated, and make friends. And realize that patient satisfaction is going to be a major focus of your job, much like other service industries. It's all about managing expectations. All the other stuff, like learning technical skills, following doctors around, and having memorable/touching patient stories are just secondary perks of the job that probably won't help you get into school.

UPDATE: I have now been a scribe for over 1.5 years; lucky me! Oh, how much I learned. Thank you all!