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What is the point of diminishing returns for shadowing, volunteering, etc?

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mitch8017

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Hello Everyone,

I am just wondering what the point of diminishing returns is for commitment to various activities such as shadowing, volunteering, clinical experience, etc?

Is 100-200+ shadowing hours really that much better than 40-60 as long as you view a primary care physician and a specialist or two?

Is 200-300+ volunteering hours that much better than 80-100? I have 20 with special olympics, 10 tutoring some underprivileged kids in an after school program, and 40 volunteering in our local EOD. I also volunteered as a little league baseball coach for my brother's team the summer after graduating high school and before starting college and I'm not sure if that qualifies as volunteer work or leadership? I know it was slightly before college but I've been told if I thought it was a significant enough of an experience to include it that I should, which I believe it is.

I have also done more than 800 patient care hours working at a skilled nursing home. I know this is already overkill, but I enjoy it so I think I'll continue on with it.

Any other examples I am leaving out I would appreciate people filling in. I know people hate the idea of box checking, but for an ADCOM reading through hundreds of Apps, at what point do they just consider the box "checked" and move on?
 

Lawpy

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    Activities are less about hours and more about the quality of experience. Someone with 50 hours of shadowing can have more useful experience to talk about than someone with 200. So the point of diminishing returns varies.

    However, Rush is the only medical school i know of that requires several hundred hours of volunteering and clinical exposure (somewhere 1000+ hours or so). Generally though, 50 hours of shadowing and 200 hours of clinical volunteering spread around a year should be fine (but again, quality >> quantity).
     

    mitch8017

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    Activities are less about hours and more about the quality of experience. Someone with 50 hours of shadowing can have more useful experience to talk about than someone with 200. So the point of diminishing returns varies.

    However, Rush is the only medical school i know of that requires several hundred hours of volunteering and clinical exposure (somewhere 1000+ hours or so). Generally though, 50 hours of shadowing and 200 hours of clinical volunteering spread around a year should be fine (but again, quality >> quantity).

    What is the relationship/difference between clinical volunteering/paid clinical work? I volunteered in our ER over a semester and all I was able to do was clean beds and I didn't get to do as much with patients. However, working at the nursing home, I was deeply involved in all cares and all activities of the residents life. I changed colostomy bags, catheters, performed peri cares and took basic stats among many other things that are far more personal and got me much more experience with patient care. I honestly think I would benefit much more working with the special olympics than I would dumping 100+ hours of my life into whatever crap the employees at the hospitals wanted me to do.
     
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    1) Is 100-200+ shadowing hours really that much better than 40-60 as long as you view a primary care physician and a specialist or two?

    2) Is 200-300+ volunteering hours that much better than 80-100?

    3) I also volunteered as a little league baseball coach for my brother's team the summer after graduating high school and before starting college and I'm not sure if that qualifies as volunteer work or leadership?

    4) I know it was slightly before college but I've been told if I thought it was a significant enough of an experience to include it that I should, which I believe it is.
    1) No, so long as you get out of it what you're meant to. I recall an applicant who claimed 300 hours of shadowing, but couldn't answer one question I asked about it.

    2) 80-100 is sparse for clinical (if that's all one's active clinical experience), but on par for nomedical.

    3) It isn't peer leadership, so the Teaching or Volunteer-Non-Medical tag is more appropriate.

    4) It's fine to include, as it happened after HS graduation.
     

    Chromium Surfer

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    1) No, so long as you get out of it what you're meant to. I recall an applicant who claimed 300 hours of shadowing, but couldn't answer one question I asked about it.

    2) 80-100 is sparse for clinical (if that's all one's active clinical experience), but on par for nomedical.

    3) It isn't peer leadership, so the Teaching or Volunteer-Non-Medical tag is more appropriate.

    4) It's fine to include, as it happened after HS graduation.
    When you say "active clinical experience" do you mean working with patients?
     

    The Knife & Gun Club

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    "If your close enough to smell a patient it's clinical" -lizzyM

    You just need to be able to articulate your understanding of what medicine and patient care entail. My completely not-an-ADCOM opinion is that 150 is a point after which you see significantly diminishing returns
     

    mitch8017

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    1) No, so long as you get out of it what you're meant to. I recall an applicant who claimed 300 hours of shadowing, but couldn't answer one question I asked about it.

    2) 80-100 is sparse for clinical (if that's all one's active clinical experience), but on par for nomedical.

    3) It isn't peer leadership, so the Teaching or Volunteer-Non-Medical tag is more appropriate.

    4) It's fine to include, as it happened after HS graduation.

    I guess one of the big questions I am trying to ask is how important is it to do more clinical volunteering if I already have the 800+ patient care hours and I've done an adequate amount of shadowing over primary care and a couple specialties? What more am I supposed to get out of the clinical volunteering? Most of that is like being handcuffed and is extremely passive, and if I'm going to do a passive activity I feel I would benefit a lot more from shadowing an actual physician than making beds or whipping up a pot of coffee for the waiting room. I actually enjoy some of the non-clinical volunteering I have done and will put more time into that than the clinical if only the 40 hours of clinical volunteering on top of my CNA work and shadowing won't create a deficiency in my application?
     
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    When you say "active clinical experience" do you mean working with patients?
    Yes, specifically, interacting with current patients in a helpful way (through work, volunteering, or research activities) .

    This contrasts with shadowing, which is a passive form of clinical activity .
     
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    I guess one of the big questions I am trying to ask is how important is it to do more clinical volunteering if I already have the 800+ patient care hours
    You don't "need" more active clinical experience. You've got that covered. I think it's good you diversified your experience to include some time as a volunteer in the ED.
     
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    mitch8017

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    You don't "need" more active clinical experience. You've got that covered. I think it's good you diversified your experience to include some time as a volunteer in the ED.
    Thank you very much for the help. People like you on these forums have been a big help as I try navigating the waters, so to speak.
     
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    1) I've done an adequate amount of shadowing over primary care and a couple specialties?

    2) I actually enjoy some of the non-clinical volunteering I have done and will put more time into that than the clinical if only the 40 hours of clinical volunteering on top of my CNA work and shadowing won't create a deficiency in my application?
    1) I didn't respond to this as you didn't specify hours you've accumulated, but more than ~50 hours isn't necessarily going to "look" better.

    2) I think that giving more emphasis to nonmedical community service is a fine idea. If it's something that helps those in need, you benefit your application more.
     

    Lawpy

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    What is the relationship/difference between clinical volunteering/paid clinical work? I volunteered in our ER over a semester and all I was able to do was clean beds and I didn't get to do as much with patients. However, working at the nursing home, I was deeply involved in all cares and all activities of the residents life. I changed colostomy bags, catheters, performed peri cares and took basic stats among many other things that are far more personal and got me much more experience with patient care. I honestly think I would benefit much more working with the special olympics than I would dumping 100+ hours of my life into whatever crap the employees at the hospitals wanted me to do.

    Both clinical volunteering and paid clinical work give you clinical exposure. It's just that the former has the volunteering aspect which some adcoms seemingly view that as altruistic. It's good to have both, but honestly, clinical volunteering can be gamed by racking up enough hours (like 200) and doing something else.
     

    7331poas

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    I do t think there is such a thing is diminishing returns when it comes to volunteering. The difference is when you volunteer you (hopefully) are actually doing something to affect others. When you are shadowing you are literally just standing there watching. What good is standing there watching hrs 200-250?


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
     
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    What is the relationship/difference between clinical volunteering/paid clinical work?
    Both clinical volunteering and paid clinical work give you clinical exposure.
    And either is sufficient, in and of itself alone, to provide the active patient experience adcomms want to see, for general application purposes. A few schools do prefer paid clinical experience and/or more abundant hours, like UColorado.
     
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    psychgirl37

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    I have heard that it’s about quality of experience rather than the quantity. I don’t think over 200 to 300 hours would help you much more. This video helped me really isolate what I should be getting out of the small amount of time I have.. It's very difficult to shadow that much along with all the extracurriculars and keeping grades!
     
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    7331poas

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    Its not even really what you get out of it. Do it for 40-50 hrs. Put it on the app. Call it a day.

    You can derive some deeper meaning from it if you want, but at the end of the day shadowing is the most box checky of all the box checks.
     

    Goro

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    The n's are small, but the feedback I get from SDNers who get into the really top schools have hundreds, and maybe 1000s of patient contact experience.

    The more evidence you can provide of your altruism, the better, I think.

    Hello Everyone,

    I am just wondering what the point of diminishing returns is for commitment to various activities such as shadowing, volunteering, clinical experience, etc?

    Is 100-200+ shadowing hours really that much better than 40-60 as long as you view a primary care physician and a specialist or two?

    Is 200-300+ volunteering hours that much better than 80-100? I have 20 with special olympics, 10 tutoring some underprivileged kids in an after school program, and 40 volunteering in our local EOD. I also volunteered as a little league baseball coach for my brother's team the summer after graduating high school and before starting college and I'm not sure if that qualifies as volunteer work or leadership? I know it was slightly before college but I've been told if I thought it was a significant enough of an experience to include it that I should, which I believe it is.

    I have also done more than 800 patient care hours working at a skilled nursing home. I know this is already overkill, but I enjoy it so I think I'll continue on with it.

    Any other examples I am leaving out I would appreciate people filling in. I know people hate the idea of box checking, but for an ADCOM reading through hundreds of Apps, at what point do they just consider the box "checked" and move on?
     
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