Jul 31, 2009
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I am facing a dilemma as whether to continue volunteering...

I am currently volunteering at the teaching hospital of the medical school that I really want to go to in the future. it's about a 40 min drive from my house, and I am planning to stay here for this summer only, since I have to get back to school in fall.

However, the volunteer program is really crappy. It's horribly organized and volunteers have no set duties. I don't get to see any patients at all. My job is just to help the nursing secretaries making copies, filing documents, and running errands. Most of the time I have nothing to do and just sit there until my shift is up. The only thing I've learned is how crappy a nursing secretary's job is, and how the hospital hierarchy works.

What do you guys think? Should I stay at this place? Will this medical school even be impressed by the fact that I volunteered at their teaching hospital even though I didn't attend their undergrad institution?

I am going to be a second year in fall, and haven't had any hospital volunteering experience. I wanted to volunteer in the summer so I won't be so tied up in the school year, but I didn't expect things to turn out like this. Any input would help, thanks :)
 

Appless

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Apr 5, 2009
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I am facing a dilemma as whether to continue volunteering...

I am currently volunteering at the teaching hospital of the medical school that I really want to go to in the future. it's about a 40 min drive from my house, and I am planning to stay here for this summer only, since I have to get back to school in fall.

However, the volunteer program is really crappy. It's horribly organized and volunteers have no set duties. I don't get to see any patients at all. My job is just to help the nursing secretaries making copies, filing documents, and running errands. Most of the time I have nothing to do and just sit there until my shift is up. The only thing I've learned is how crappy a nursing secretary's job is, and how the hospital hierarchy works.

What do you guys think? Should I stay at this place? Will this medical school even be impressed by the fact that I volunteered at their teaching hospital even though I didn't attend their undergrad institution?

I am going to be a second year in fall, and haven't had any hospital volunteering experience. I wanted to volunteer in the summer so I won't be so tied up in the school year, but I didn't expect things to turn out like this. Any input would help, thanks :)
GET OUT now serious. I was in the same situation, except that i stayed stupidly on the advice of my counselor, and now i spent 1.5 years there and havnt had any experience other then runing **** to the lab or falling asleep...it was such a waste of time and i pray to god no one asks mewhat I did there at an interview as i have nothingto say, they will reject me off my response probably alone ahah...point being leave, find something better. Often times volunteering in the ER or such can be the worst way to get expereince because of what you stated above. Theres always a counter example, which im sure someone will quote me and say i dont know what im talking about since their ER is awesome...but if thats the way it is where you are at just leave asap...i wish i did 2 years ago.
 

Poliscidoc

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Jul 28, 2009
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I am facing a dilemma as whether to continue volunteering...

I am currently volunteering at the teaching hospital of the medical school that I really want to go to in the future. it's about a 40 min drive from my house, and I am planning to stay here for this summer only, since I have to get back to school in fall.

However, the volunteer program is really crappy. It's horribly organized and volunteers have no set duties. I don't get to see any patients at all. My job is just to help the nursing secretaries making copies, filing documents, and running errands. Most of the time I have nothing to do and just sit there until my shift is up. The only thing I've learned is how crappy a nursing secretary's job is, and how the hospital hierarchy works.

What do you guys think? Should I stay at this place? Will this medical school even be impressed by the fact that I volunteered at their teaching hospital even though I didn't attend their undergrad institution?

I am going to be a second year in fall, and haven't had any hospital volunteering experience. I wanted to volunteer in the summer so I won't be so tied up in the school year, but I didn't expect things to turn out like this. Any input would help, thanks :)
I have the same problem and what I did is talk to a few of the discharge nurses and also take a few classes at the hospital. I know it sounds crappy but I can wheelchair patients from point A to B and I can also push them into surgery w/ the Dr.... So I get to scrub in and all that cool stuff.. Also talk to who ever the volunteer cord. is and tell him or her your situation.. Also see if you can volunteer in different parts of the hosputal, i.e.- The emergency room is awesome never a dull moment and you will be able to see how emergency emergency works
 

TopSecret

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Jul 14, 2009
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I am facing a dilemma as whether to continue volunteering...

I am currently volunteering at the teaching hospital of the medical school that I really want to go to in the future. it's about a 40 min drive from my house, and I am planning to stay here for this summer only, since I have to get back to school in fall.

However, the volunteer program is really crappy. It's horribly organized and volunteers have no set duties. I don't get to see any patients at all. My job is just to help the nursing secretaries making copies, filing documents, and running errands. Most of the time I have nothing to do and just sit there until my shift is up. The only thing I've learned is how crappy a nursing secretary's job is, and how the hospital hierarchy works.

What do you guys think? Should I stay at this place? Will this medical school even be impressed by the fact that I volunteered at their teaching hospital even though I didn't attend their undergrad institution?

I am going to be a second year in fall, and haven't had any hospital volunteering experience. I wanted to volunteer in the summer so I won't be so tied up in the school year, but I didn't expect things to turn out like this. Any input would help, thanks :)
When you're off work, hang out in the hospital cafeteria or at the library. Find a medical student, intern, or resident to hang out with and you'll have a lot of your questions answered. They may even show you around the hospital. Make something of your time there but don't spend too much of it in the office.
 

k7i5t3n

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I think I would be concerned about the fact that you're not getting any contact with the patients, so I don't know if it would really count as clinical experience. And if you're not getting any satisfaction out of it, then it's not going to be a very interesting community service activity to discuss. That said, if you just committed for the summer, I would stick it out to the end instead of throwing in the towel since it's a short-term activity anyways. You're better off showing commitment 'til you're done, then afterwards look for something more satisfying with clinical experience.

You could talk to the volunteer office and see if they have any other positions available in the hospital that are more in tune with your interests.
 

Poliscidoc

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GET OUT now serious. I was in the same situation, except that i stayed stupidly on the advice of my counselor, and now i spent 1.5 years there and havnt had any experience other then runing **** to the lab or falling asleep...it was such a waste of time and i pray to god no one asks mewhat I did there at an interview as i have nothingto say, they will reject me off my response probably alone ahah...point being leave, find something better. Often times volunteering in the ER or such can be the worst way to get expereince because of what you stated above. Theres always a counter example, which im sure someone will quote me and say i dont know what im talking about since their ER is awesome...but if thats the way it is where you are at just leave asap...i wish i did 2 years ago.

Haha we posted at the same time and I didn't even see your point about the ER
 

TraumaMed

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Don't worry you are not the only one, most volunteer programs are very similar. I know how you feel I was in a very similar situation when I volunteered. I would say at this point stick it out. The best advice I can give you is always ask "is there anything interesting you can show me" to any clinical worker. Be bold and ask questions. If there is an interesting procedure going on ask the doc if you can watch. Or use this as a networking experience and ask doctors if you could shadow them another day. Many times volunteering to gain clinical experience is what you make of it.

For next time get you should get your CNA or your EMT it only takes a semester and you can actually take care of people. Hope that helps!
 

zayka

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I don't think that volunteering at their teaching hospital specifically would impress them - you are better off doing something more enjoyable at another hospital. You will be able to talk about the experience more and that you liked it, and I think that will impress them far more. Experience > name!
 

MedicineMike

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come to atlanta and i can get you the best volunteering experience you will ever have! Hands down..:)
 

red10

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a lot of volunteering in hospitals is stocking, filing etc. Its volunteer work so you do what THEY need. They aren't there to cater to you.

Yes some places are more understanding of why their volunteers are there and will let them shadow, but in the end you are there to help out the hospital staff and that means doing the b*tch work.

If you want clinical experience you need to get a job drawing blood or being an EMT. Or find a shadowing program.
 

YouNeverKnow22

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hospital volunteering is awful everywhere, IMO........go shadow, volunteer somewhere meaningful, pick a research project and have fun in college.
 
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...it was such a waste of time and i pray to god no one asks mewhat I did there at an interview as i have nothingto say, they will reject me off my response probably alone ahah...point being leave, find something better.
:laugh:

Elijah, but really, what will you say if you get asked during the interview (since its truly possible)? I'm kinda in a similar situation and wondering what to make of my hospital experience sans the patient interaction.:confused:
 

red10

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:laugh:

Elijah, but really, what will you say if you get asked during the interview (since its truly possible)? I'm kinda in a similar situation and wondering what to make of my hospital experience sans the patient interaction.:confused:
say you saw how the hospital runs, how doctors and nurses and other staff interact and work together for the betterment of the patient, how the paperwork is handled etc. Just because you aren't watching the doc slice someone open doesn't mean you didn't learn anything about medicine.
 

Poliscidoc

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say you saw how the hospital runs, how doctors and nurses and other staff interact and work together for the betterment of the patient, how the paperwork is handled etc. Just because you aren't watching the doc slice someone open doesn't mean you didn't learn anything about medicine.
agreed
 
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Haha, seeing this makes me think I have just really lucked out with my hospital volunteering. I didn't realize that it was hard to get a hospital volunteering position that actually worked with patients. I've been volunteering at a children's hospital for 2 years, and all I do is patient contact, it's great! I also volunteered at a hospice, which again, was patient contact. I have very very very little shadowing though, so hopefully the volunteering will make up for that.
 
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say you saw how the hospital runs, how doctors and nurses and other staff interact and work together for the betterment of the patient, how the paperwork is handled etc. Just because you aren't watching the doc slice someone open doesn't mean you didn't learn anything about medicine.
The thing is there seems to be this emphasis on patient interaction specifically.
 

erskine

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does anyone know if volunteering at a hospice is better? I figured that there would probably be less volunteers there, so hopefully I'd be able to get some clinical experience rather than get stuck with paperwork
 

Poliscidoc

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does anyone know if volunteering at a hospice is better? I figured that there would probably be less volunteers there, so hopefully I'd be able to get some clinical experience rather than get stuck with paperwork
I looked into Hospice and I am wondering the same question.. Also have you looked at volunteering at clinics around you? I had a lot interaction with patients and the doctors normally help a lot since its a clinic
 

Appless

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:laugh:

Elijah, but really, what will you say if you get asked during the interview (since its truly possible)? I'm kinda in a similar situation and wondering what to make of my hospital experience sans the patient interaction.:confused:
Well ive had like 2 experiences where ive had minimal interaction, and I can just talk about those and make it more then what it really was, talk about how i got to see interaction between doc and patient. At most interviews ive been told you can sort steer the conversation wherever you want. I will just say a few blurbs about the ER i volunteered at then, try to move onto my more meaningful and enjoyable activities. Im going to make some sort of essay type response and commit it to memory, becuase I wont be able to make up smething decent on the spot for the huge waste of time my 1.5 years in the ER was...

I didnt do much of this but, I mean if you are doing anything even pushing patients in wheelchairs, helping them walk back and forth to the restroom or w/e that still counts as interaction. Often times they are looking for the non-medical or humanisitic aspects that you got out of an activity. They dont give **** if you saw a thoracotomy or w/e cool surgery, they care that you understand the profession and humanistic aspects. The medical side you will learn in med school.
 

red10

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The thing is there seems to be this emphasis on patient interaction specifically.
well of course, but unless you have a really understanding volunteer program, volunteering is not where you are going to get patient contact. You gotta do something else.

If it were easy, everyone would do it.
 

MedicineMike

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hospital volunteering is awful everywhere, IMO........go shadow, volunteer somewhere meaningful, pick a research project and have fun in college.
false! I loooove volunteering at my hospital. Busiest level 1 trauma center in the nation...Every 4hr shift i work i see some of the CRAZIEST traumas ever! And yes, we get to do/see pretty much everything :)...We even get to go up to the helipad and get life-flight patients coming in. It is awesome!
 

YouNeverKnow22

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false! I loooove volunteering at my hospital. Busiest level 1 trauma center in the nation...Every 4hr shift i work i see some of the CRAZIEST traumas ever! And yes, we get to do/see pretty much everything :)...We even get to go up to the helipad and get life-flight patients coming in. It is awesome!
I'm done hospital volunteering after this summer, It might be fun for you but I think in general most people get stuck with crappy jobs and volunteers are the scum of the hospital easily
 

MedicineMike

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I'm done hospital volunteering after this summer, It might be fun for you but I think in general most people get stuck with crappy jobs and volunteers are the scum of the hospital easily
yah i can definitely see that. The other hospitals in the area have volunteers that do crappy jobs like work in a gift shop. Since our hospital sees 450-500 patients in the ER daily, we get to do a lot more bc they dont have enough hands working! Granted, our main job is to clean beds and prepare them, but if a trauma comes in, we just go into the trauma bay and stand in the corner and watch everything! It is amazing. We kinda just do what we want bc afterall, we are volunteers! Nobody can really boss us around bc we arent getting paid haha.
 

Poliscidoc

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yah i can definitely see that. The other hospitals in the area have volunteers that do crappy jobs like work in a gift shop. Since our hospital sees 450-500 patients in the ER daily, we get to do a lot more bc they dont have enough hands working! Granted, our main job is to clean beds and prepare them, but if a trauma comes in, we just go into the trauma bay and stand in the corner and watch everything! It is amazing. We kinda just do what we want bc afterall, we are volunteers! Nobody can really boss us around bc we arent getting paid haha.
The best part of being a volunteer...
 

MedicineMike

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The best part of being a volunteer...
haha exactly!! I come and go as i please, if im hungry i go get food, its the best job ever! (minus the lack of pay of course haha) you win some you lose some...
 

red10

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haha exactly!! I come and go as i please, if im hungry i go get food, its the best job ever! (minus the lack of pay of course haha) you win some you lose some...
Thats kinda the way it is when I volunteer. i've never been told who i report to or who i go to for questions. In all honesty, since starting volunteering in may, I think 3 ER staff members have spoken to me without me asking them a question first. It's almost depressing
 

Poliscidoc

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Thats kinda the way it is when I volunteer. i've never been told who i report to or who i go to for questions. In all honesty, since starting volunteering in may, I think 3 ER staff members have spoken to me without me asking them a question first. It's almost depressing
I have a Nazis for a volunteer director.. I still do what I want be its like a hawk is watching me..
 

RavensGal

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yah i can definitely see that. The other hospitals in the area have volunteers that do crappy jobs like work in a gift shop. Since our hospital sees 450-500 patients in the ER daily, we get to do a lot more bc they dont have enough hands working! Granted, our main job is to clean beds and prepare them, but if a trauma comes in, we just go into the trauma bay and stand in the corner and watch everything! It is amazing. We kinda just do what we want bc afterall, we are volunteers! Nobody can really boss us around bc we arent getting paid haha.
Which trauma center do you volunteer at? I volunteered in a shock trauma center and it was the same deal. Make beds but when a trauma comes in you can go up to the helipad get them and come back down and watch. so much fun!
 

futile

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When I talked to my advisor (also an adcom at UIC), she said that if I really didn't feel like I was getting anything useful out of volunteering at the hospital, I should try other volunteer work with more interaction with people, especially URMs. I started working at the Crisis Nursery and it was awesome!

Other options: Homeless shelters, women's shelters, food kitchen, etc.

Also, finding an experience at a different hospital which is more engaging seems more valuable. You need something to talk about on your applications!
 

ashunka

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I am facing a dilemma as whether to continue volunteering...

I am currently volunteering at the teaching hospital of the medical school that I really want to go to in the future. it's about a 40 min drive from my house, and I am planning to stay here for this summer only, since I have to get back to school in fall.

However, the volunteer program is really crappy. It's horribly organized and volunteers have no set duties. I don't get to see any patients at all. My job is just to help the nursing secretaries making copies, filing documents, and running errands. Most of the time I have nothing to do and just sit there until my shift is up. The only thing I've learned is how crappy a nursing secretary's job is, and how the hospital hierarchy works.

What do you guys think? Should I stay at this place? Will this medical school even be impressed by the fact that I volunteered at their teaching hospital even though I didn't attend their undergrad institution?

I am going to be a second year in fall, and haven't had any hospital volunteering experience. I wanted to volunteer in the summer so I won't be so tied up in the school year, but I didn't expect things to turn out like this. Any input would help, thanks :)
Stop volunteering there, its not worth ur time. I havent read all the posts, so pardon me if this is redundant. Contact a bunch of doctors at that schools teaching hospital, and set up a long term shadowing program with one of them. Shadowing in an academic hospital is worth it, its a great experience. But, dont just stand around like a pole while shadowing, get the doctor to know u. join medstudents/doctors in diagnosis process, thats really interesting. see what the med student and residents life is like. academic hospitals are especially good for shadowing. All the better to shadow a doc who is well connected.
 

ashunka

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u don't need to "find a shadowing program" if it';s, there, great. if not, just call or e mail a bunch of docs. some of em will be welcoming.
 

surftheiop

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Nobody can really boss us around bc we arent getting paid haha.
Truest thing ever, everyone smiles and says hello and will forgive most anything. Ironic thing is in 4 years the same people might be spitting on me as a MS3. (mostly joking about the spitting, everyone ive meet seems really friendly to everyone)


Also Children's Hospital Volunteering > Adult.

In the children's hospital you can play with patients and keep them company when parents are gone, etc. What your doing is actually extremely helpful to the patients and its pretty much 100% direct patient contact.
 

Poliscidoc

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To show how worthless my volunteering is. Last night me and 5 other pre-med's shadowed a ER doc (young guy-Fresh out of Resd) played xbox 360 in his office... Yea that lasted about 5 hours until something happened..

Looks like my EC will read- Expert at Call of Duty
 
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To show how worthless my volunteering is. Last night me and 5 other pre-med's shadowed a ER doc (young guy-Fresh out of Resd) played xbox 360 in his office... Yea that lasted about 5 hours until something happened..

Looks like my EC will read- Expert at Call of Duty
Haha, he had a 360 in his office!
 

Poliscidoc

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Haha, he had a 360 in his office!
Yea, we all thought he had it for his kid. But he didn't have any children, so we asked him about it. It turns out he is a rock bank junkie and loves call of duty...
 

locus000

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I'm volunteering at a local ER. its the most boring thing in the world (i guess since its not a trauma center). Me another volunteer are done with our work in the first hour, leaving the other 4 hours to go to do absolutely nothing. We usually leave early (after 2 hrs) and nobody has notice so far.

If you want real volunteering, do it at a nursing home. there are plenty of old people there willing to talk to you.
 

Poliscidoc

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I'm volunteering at a local ER. its the most boring thing in the world (i guess since its not a trauma center). Me another volunteer are done with our work in the first hour, leaving the other 4 hours to go to do absolutely nothing. We usually leave early (after 2 hrs) and nobody has notice so far.

If you want real volunteering, do it at a nursing home. there are plenty of old people there willing to talk to you.


Haha, when I was reading nursing home I thought you were going to say you get to see a lot of death and reviving..
 
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I also worked in a non-trauma ER as a volunteer. Most volunteers didn't even take care of our minute responsibilities and instead used it as an excuse to shadow docs and PA's. In 40 hours, I definitely got plenty enough experience to know what a real ER is like and observe the chain of command structure, etc.
 

SoftwareKevin

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Your volunteer experience is going to be what you make it. My volunteer gig in a local ER is also horribly organized, but that just means it's up to me to find things to do. Take the time to get to know the staff and make friends with them. You're going to get the opportunity to do a lot more if people know who you are. Don't be afraid to ask to watch a procedure, I think most ERs are pretty cool with that, especially if it's a teaching hospital. One of my best experiences so far was hanging out with a surgical intern while he sutured up someone. I find the students/interns/residents are usually more than willing to chat with you.
 

brahms11

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does anyone know if volunteering at a hospice is better? I figured that there would probably be less volunteers there, so hopefully I'd be able to get some clinical experience rather than get stuck with paperwork
I'm starting my third year at a hospice and absolutely love it. The one I volunteer at allows direct patient contact and you serve basically as the next-in-line to a CNA. IMHO once you've dealt with poop and urine you can really say you have clinical experience. :laugh:

It's also great just talking to patients and has given me a new perspective on my life by talking to patients about what their life and dying process has meant to them.

In short, go for a hospice position if you can! I feel it's the most direct impact you can have on patients without an EMT license
 

MedicineMike

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Which trauma center do you volunteer at? I volunteered in a shock trauma center and it was the same deal. Make beds but when a trauma comes in you can go up to the helipad get them and come back down and watch. so much fun!
I volunteer at the level-1 in atlanta. It is a ton of fun.

Also, to the person who said they are next in line to the CNA...That is basically what we are here. Except, it is soo busy, and there is sooo many bodily fluids all over the place all the time, the they call the environmental unit ALL the time. They def earn their paycheck!:smuggrin::D
 
May 31, 2009
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I am facing a dilemma as whether to continue volunteering...

I am currently volunteering at the teaching hospital of the medical school that I really want to go to in the future. it's about a 40 min drive from my house, and I am planning to stay here for this summer only, since I have to get back to school in fall.

However, the volunteer program is really crappy. It's horribly organized and volunteers have no set duties. I don't get to see any patients at all. My job is just to help the nursing secretaries making copies, filing documents, and running errands. Most of the time I have nothing to do and just sit there until my shift is up. The only thing I've learned is how crappy a nursing secretary's job is, and how the hospital hierarchy works.

What do you guys think? Should I stay at this place? Will this medical school even be impressed by the fact that I volunteered at their teaching hospital even though I didn't attend their undergrad institution?

I am going to be a second year in fall, and haven't had any hospital volunteering experience. I wanted to volunteer in the summer so I won't be so tied up in the school year, but I didn't expect things to turn out like this. Any input would help, thanks :)
I thought the key in med skule app was to pick the good points from your experience and magnify them thousand times to make them sound ecstatic.

Isn't that everyone else does? Including schools themselves (even the low-tier school website boasts about random stuff, they will never say anything negative). You need to sell yourself in anyway you can.