5+ Year Member
- Dec 17, 2013
- Medical Student (Accepted)
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?
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.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.
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.
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.How exactly does one go about becoming a tech? I'm guessing there is some class or certification you need to obtain first.
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.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.
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.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.
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.