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Shadowing vs. Volunteering

bconstantbconstant Posts: 39Registered User Junior Member
edited February 2010 in Pre-Med Topics
I am a junior in college. I have very little volunteer experience but I shadow doctors a very lot and have a lot of clinical experience from a patient's perspective (if this matters). My GPA is high and I have not taken the MCAT yet. I also have a lot of research experience.

What I want to know is: do admission committees look just for clinical experience whether it be volunteer or shadowing or will not volunteering much and instead shadowing be a problem (red flag)?

Thanks!
Post edited by bconstant on

Replies to: Shadowing vs. Volunteering

  • nate763nate763 Posts: 199Registered User Junior Member
    Are you saying you have very little clincal-type volunteering or very little volunteering in general? Clinical experience doesn't have to be through volunteering, but having some sort of volunteer experience like community service would be good. Also, clinical experience doesn't necessarily mean you have to be in a doctor's office or hospital (which doesn't really matter since you have it already).
  • mmmcdowemmmcdowe Posts: 2,348Registered User Senior Member
    volunteering>>>shadowing
    letter of rec from a doctor that you volunteered with >>>>>>>> doc you shadowed.
  • MyOpinionMyOpinion Posts: 758Registered User Member
    That is ridiculous. Shadowing is a way of volunteering. There is really no major difference.
  • mmmcdowemmmcdowe Posts: 2,348Registered User Senior Member
    No, you don't volunteer to shadow. There aren't organizations that use shadowing as a way of improving the world (unless its to make sure there aren't illegal practices going on and they are part of a watch dog organization I suppose). It's ridiculous to think that standing behind a physician while they do work is at the same level as providing free labor to a given project or department.
  • bookiemombookiemom Posts: 1,879Registered User Senior Member
    I do not think that shadowing is considered volunteering by anyone in the med school application process. It helps the applicant, not the patients.

    Volunteering is reflective of the applicant's commitment to helping others and serving humanity in a broader sense. You need it. Find someplace to volunteer regularly (once a week at least) with patients. It doesn't have to be at a hospital. You could try a nursing home, day care program for the elderly, etc.

    Also try to volunteer in some other ways as your schedule allows: perhaps an alternative spring break program or any other volunteer events at your college.
  • ParAlumParAlum Posts: 439Registered User Member
    When we interview students for medical school, their shadowing experiences let us know how much they have explored the medical field-what do they actually know about being a doctor. This definitely is not viewed as volunteering.

    Volunteering lets us understand the extent of their focus commitment toward being in a career devoted to service
  • ZFanaticZFanatic Posts: 1,591Registered User Senior Member
    "When we interview students for medical school, their shadowing experiences let us know how much they have explored the medical field-what do they actually know about being a doctor. This definitely is not viewed as volunteering.

    Volunteering lets us understand the extent of their focus commitment toward being in a career devoted to service "

    This^

    People shouldn't get the idea that pushing patients around the hospital or cleaning dishes in the cafeteria is any better than any other worthwhile service simply because it's in a hospital.

    Heck, I'm sure significant volunteering outside of the hospital would be at least semi refreshing to adcoms.

    I personally won't even bother trying to volunteer at hospitals...
  • mmmcdowemmmcdowe Posts: 2,348Registered User Senior Member
    I don't know how you would end up cleaning dishes in the hospital cafe, but pushing patients around can be rewarding. You get to talk to them and learn a lot if you take the initiative. Volunteering outside of a hospital in a medical setting is also good, but ultimately what matters is that you put in the time and that you can honestly say you got something out of it (and prove it in essays/interviews). Most of my hospital volunteering consisted of me cleaning, filing papers, answering the phone, pushing around patients, etc. However, I still had some very moving moments in all of that, and I also had complete access to the healthcare staff.
  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP Posts: 13,844Registered User Senior Member
    Yes, there is a diff., the best is to experience both. If you shadow, you will not end up changing bed, diapers,...so forth.
  • ZFanaticZFanatic Posts: 1,591Registered User Senior Member
    "I don't know how you would end up cleaning dishes in the hospital cafe"

    I've heard from a lot of people I know here in Ithaca that at Cayuga Medical Center there are so many kids who wanna volunteer you usually end up doing something absolutely unrelated to patient care.

    At the point of volunteering there doing something totally unrelated to patient care simply because it's a hospital looks desperate to me, like you're only doing it because it's a hospital.
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