You block off an entire Sunday afternoon to tackle the beast that is the AMCAS—the centralized medical school application. You’re clicking through the online form, filling in the boxes until you get to the page titled “Volunteering and Shadowing.” You stop there. Do you feel like you have enough exposure to the medical field for this section? Are you looking to gain more first-hand insight into the workings of the career to which you’ve pledged your life?
One of the most important parts of your med school application is the proof that you have some experience in the field, that you know what it takes to work in medicine, and that you’re someone who is going to make it to the other side ready to practice—not full of cynicism because you didn’t know what you were getting into.
Completing volunteer work and shadowing to gain clinical experience in the medical field is a crucial part of your medical school application, and students tend to worry that they haven’t done enough of either. It can be difficult to find avenues for gaining this experience, especially in a way that sets your volunteer work apart from that of your fellow applicants.
Here are options for shadowing or volunteer experience that will enhance your medical school application and give you a head start on practicing medicine.
VOLUNTEER AT A MEDICALLY-FOCUSED CAMP FOR CHILDREN
VOLUNTEER AT AN ASSISTED LIVING CENTER
RAISE FUNDS FOR A MEDICALLY-RELATED CAUSE
There are many jobs available in the healthcare field, but due to time constraints and limited training, medical school applicants often restrict themselves to a smaller pool of opportunities. Today, we’ll focus on clinical opportunities that require more time and training, and are therefore ideal for a pre-med who is taking a gap year or is looking for a medically-focused summer job.
Regardless of which type of clinical experience you pursue, remember that the most important factor is that you are able to work with patients and providers in a professional, standardized healthcare setting. Check out the following pre-med positions that you can pursue with just a little extra time and training:
EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIAN (EMT)
EMERGENCY ROOM SCRIBE
CERTIFIED NURSING ASSISTANT (CNA)
Get out there and start immersing yourself in the medical field. Only through hands-on clinical experience can you be sure you’re pursuing a career in medicine for the right reasons.