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Work During First Year?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by HunterJumper, May 13, 2008.

  1. HunterJumper

    HunterJumper 2+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2008
    Madison, WI
    I have worked with a dermatologist in his 50s for a few years now and he once told me that he worked one or two shifts a week in the Emergency Department during his first year in medical school. However, from what I have heard from my peers in school now, this would be impossible to manage. What do you all think?
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  3. geogil

    geogil Still training. 7+ Year Member

    May 1, 2006
    what do you mean by 'work'? If all you want to do is shadow, then sure, you can make time for that as a first year. If you want to be paid, i.e. as a cna or scribe, something like that, then no. Your job will expect you to be there when you can't because of class and studying. You'll be living off loans, just like everyone else, and that's ok.
  4. HunterJumper

    HunterJumper 2+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2008
    Madison, WI
    I guess by work I meant actually getting paid to do a job in the hospital or clinic, etc. I'm really not aware of other opportunites. How do you go about shadowing a physician? Is this set up with the school somehow?
  5. OncoCaP

    OncoCaP 2+ Year Member

    Aug 28, 2006
    Houston, Texas
    Unlikely. Don't plan on it but revaluate sometime later in case you find you have the time and right opportunity. You might be able to do something menial.
  6. geogil

    geogil Still training. 7+ Year Member

    May 1, 2006
    At my school you just call up the secretary of the department, eg. plastics or ENT and set it up with them. I wouldn't do it in July and August, that's when the new interns come. I think you'll find that for a while, just keeping up is work enough, and that any down time is pretty darn precious.
  7. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon 7+ Year Member

    May 1, 2006
    Down time is one issue, risk/reward is the other. If said job ever caused you to do poorly on an exam or struggle in a class it would be hard to justify. Debt is scary and working part time seems like a damn good option on the surface. However at the end of the day you are in medical school to get into residency and you want to do as well as you can to maximize those chances.

    In other words, don't fall into the trap of thinking that if you can just get by you are going to be able to do whatever you want whereever you want.
  8. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    Good advice here ^^^.

    This will undoubtedly turn into another of those threads where a minority will say "absolutely not! you can't possibly work!" and another minority will say "no problem! I worked two jobs full-time all through med school."

    The healthy majority will say "wait and see." I think that most medical students would not be capable of maintaining most part-time jobs that required responsibility and regular scheduling. It's just too much of a commitment for most. If you can do it, great, but if you sacrifice any part of med school for the sake of an extra shift or two, you're probably being penny-wise and pound-foolish.
  9. rodeoqueen

    rodeoqueen 2+ Year Member

    Jun 17, 2007
    I worked part-part-time through the first 1.5 years of medical school. It was a pretty sweet gig, where I had a lot of free time ( opportunity) with a few spurts of actual work.

    I think that notdeadyet has great advice. Get your feet wet first. Medical school requires such a huge commitment as far as time and energy are concerned that working and adding the extra stress my just be the straw (you know, the one that breaks the poor camel's back?)...

    Good luck, you can PM me if you have any questions (eg. what I did for my part-part-time gig).
  10. roja

    roja 7+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2003
    NYC--->San Francisco
    If you can get soemthing that doesn't interfere with your life/school, sure. I taught for princeton reviw. Had already done it for a year, so it didn't require as much prep work. I also tutored immunology at my school.
  11. geogil

    geogil Still training. 7+ Year Member

    May 1, 2006
    ??? I was referring to calling up the secretary to set up shadowing, not a job. That might not have been clear. I agree, don't work if it's going to hurt your academic performance. I could never work in medschool, that's for sure.
  12. Slide

    Slide Finally, no more "training" 10+ Year Member

    Oct 12, 2005
    I worked at Kaplan my entire M1 year, and although the money was nice and it was somewhat rewarding teaching premeds, it also made my life a lot more complicated and frustrating than necessary. There were some times I had to teach a 3 hour class with a huge anatomy or physiology test looming the next day or the day after. I still did well in all my classes, but it just made life a lot more difficult that it could've been. To be honest the best gig I would try to find would be a clinically-related research job with downtime or the freedom to work at home.
  13. Non-TradTulsa

    Non-TradTulsa Senior Member - Resident 7+ Year Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    EXCELLENT advice. Look at it this way... when you're going into debt to the tune of $50K a year or more, just how much do you think your piddly $8/hour is really going to help? Sorry, that's the truth.

    Don't underestimate just how stressful first year really is. Some day you'll look back at it and laugh, but you sure as h*ll won't be laughing during your first semester. When I started med school, I was 44 years old and had been a professional CPA for over 20 years. I had also been working full-time and going to night school for pre-reqs full-time for the previous two years. I had a Masters' degree and had already had the graduate school experience. I thought nothing could phase me.

    Boy, was I wrong. I lost over 30 pounds my first semester and very nearly had a small nervous breakdown. It takes time to learn how to process the vast amounts of material you will be expected to assimilate. Your days of studying a week or two before the test are over. You will spend several hours studying nearly every day, including weekends, if you really want to do well. It's a totally different lifestyle and it takes time to adjust. YOU NEED EVERY MINUTE OF DOWNTIME YOU GET DURING FIRST YEAR - FOR REST, AND TO KEEP FROM GOING CRAZY. Now, second year was actually more work, but I was much more experienced at how to handle it and I actually had a good time. My first semester of med school is a nightmare that I prefer never to remember.

    DO NOT WORK. No matter how good of a student you are, no matter how difficult your undergraduate work was.... trust me, medical school is going to blow your skirt over your head until you learn some new studying and coping skills. It's a big adjustment.
  14. alwaysaangel

    alwaysaangel 5+ Year Member

    Sep 4, 2006
    Orange, CA
    As others have said - it depends on you. You'll have to see how you handle med school and then decide. But you're probably better off with something that pays a lot for a few hours than something that you have to work a lot to make any significant money.

    I tutor for $35/hr and make about $500/month. So its not too much work and I get some good spending money out of it.
  15. GuzzyRon

    GuzzyRon Son of the Son of Man 10+ Year Member

    Before the first day of med school, I was determined I could handle work and med school. But just two weeks into med school, I realized working wouldn't work.
  16. sentrosi

    sentrosi INTARWEB USER 5+ Year Member

    Jun 28, 2004
    It's definitely doable. I did like 350 hours of ambulance staffing when I was a first year.

    The thing is: I enjoy doing it. So I used a lot of my free time toward it.

    (I did like 850 hours second year. Looking back (now that I'm studying for Step 1), that probably wasn't such a good idea.)
  17. kdburton

    kdburton Ulnar Deviant 5+ Year Member

    Sep 3, 2005
    I work maybe 6-12 hrs/wk and some of my peers work about the same (or do research). Some people in my class could probably work more than that because they don't need to study so much, but some probably can't afford to work at all because they need to study a lot. Obviously if hes a dermatologist he probably did well in school and maybe he was one of those former people who didn't need to study a lot to do well. It just comes down to the individual. There are people in my class who, besides attending classs or watching recorded lectures over the internet, ONLY study the weekend before an exam and consistently score over 90%. There are also people who study 80 hrs/wk and can't break 80%.

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