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Clinical Volunteering/Volunteering/Shadowing

SincererLoveSincererLove 749 replies22 threadsRegistered User Member
It is a testament of our love to our kids that even though I am lounging on bed on this Mother’s Day, I am helping my D. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out here!

I am so confused after reading some of the class profiles for medical schools. Can you please help?

For Vandy medical school, they boast their incoming class of 2018 has 43k of clinical shadowing hours for just 96 students. That is average of 448 hours per student. Wow!!

https://medschool.vanderbilt.edu/md-admissions/incoming-class-of-2018-stats/

However, it seems not all students from U of Pittsburgh even had clinical volunteering or shadowing

https://www.medadmissions.pitt.edu/admissions/who-we-are/class-profile

D is an incoming CS premed junior at Vandy with home state of PA. She is more serious about med school now after she wrapped up her 2nd year of college. She has overall GPA of 3.92, and higher science GPA. A lot of volunteering, but not enough shadowing and clinical volunteering.

Thanks!!
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Replies to: Clinical Volunteering/Volunteering/Shadowing

  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2243 replies30 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Patient facing (clinical) experience is critical for med school applicants. Your D should strive for at least 300 (which would not even be competitive at Vandy). If you could only choose one EC, clinical experience should be prioritized over research. I don't really understand how one can know they want to become a physician having not worked significant hours with patients.

    Regarding the Pitt med student profile, there are three areas that contain clinical experience: Comm Svc volunteer (med/clin), physician shadowing/clin obs, and paid employment med/clin....I expect that 100% of students had significant hours across these three buckets.
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  • texaspgtexaspg 16506 replies340 threadsForum Champion Pre-Med & Medical Forum Champion
    edited May 12
    Depends on the schools she will be applying to and also what she is aiming for when she writes essays.

    Older D who will be applying for residencies this year didn't do a single clinical hour. She did shadow several doctors and had 3+ summers of research as well as during the regular years. Was interviewed by several top schools including Vandy.

    Younger one does not have much research to show but has volunteered at several clinics while in college. Will be applying this year.

    3.92 GPA from Vandy is a bit ridiculously high :smiley: As long as she has a good MCAT score to go with it, she should be good to go with or without those clinical hours.

    When I asked people a while ago as a neophyte what it takes to get into medical school, I was told that a 3.8 and 38 MCAT (519-520 equivalent) from a well known school opens doors for an interview at pretty much every medical school.
    edited May 12
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  • GoldenRockGoldenRock 1584 replies5 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @SincererLove Even now it is not too late, since there are 2 summers and 1 school year in between before applying.

    1. Target at least 60 hours (to 100 hours) of shadowing. Primary care and at least few specialists.
    2. Target at least 250+ hours of clinical / patient facing hours. Besides summers, find some thing in Vandy during the school year to continue, even if it is just few hours a week.
    3. Target more free clinic than big hospitals, where the reality and richness of experience gets in to students. That helps to validate if the career choice fits or not.
    4. Certainly apply to Vandy and UPitt. But the strategy should be to apply much broader and of different type of school and location to maximize the chance.

    GL.
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  • SincererLoveSincererLove 749 replies22 threadsRegistered User Member
    Thank you @Mwfan1921 ! Can I ask some follow up questions on the three areas you referred? D volunteers for an org which provides resources to people with HIV/AIDS, and there is some direct patient contact. Is this considered general volunteering or clinical volunteering?

    Or if she volunteers at a clinic and her role is to plan holiday parties for the patients there. Is that considered clinical?

    It seems that Vandy doesn’t care about the distinction between different volunteering anyway, but there might be other schools who do?

    In a lot of the hospital volunteering these days, the premed students are taking the positions of shelving, receptionist, admin asst etc where it is very difficult to truly learn much or have direct patient contact. At least that is our limited experience and what I have seen on SDN.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2243 replies30 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    D volunteers for an org which provides resources to people with HIV/AIDS, and there is some direct patient contact. Is this considered general volunteering or clinical volunteering?

    Is your D involved in the healthcare of the patients? If yes, then clinical.
    Or if she volunteers at a clinic and her role is to plan holiday parties for the patients there. Is that considered clinical?

    Not clinical, just community volunteerism
    It seems that Vandy doesn’t care about the distinction between different volunteering anyway, but there might be other schools who do?

    I would not assume this just because they did not report the various EC categories that students were involved in. Med schools typically detail what factors are important in their admission decisions.
    In a lot of the hospital volunteering these days, the premed students are taking the positions of shelving, receptionist, admin asst etc where it is very difficult to truly learn much or have direct patient contact.

    There are many premeds working part-time as CNAs/CNA assistants and EMTs. Might your D do one or both of these? How about shadowing a physician?
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  • SincererLoveSincererLove 749 replies22 threadsRegistered User Member
    Thank you @texaspg! D started research freshman spring semester and did the summer research freshman year. This summer, she is taking a highly paid CS internship in Charlotte. She is having a hard time finding any hospital to volunteer there as all the places require a year commitment, which she can’t for the summer.

    Thank you @GoldenRock , I will have D check out the free clinics. Thanks! Yes, she plans to increase her hospital volunteering when she goes back to Vandy.
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  • SincererLoveSincererLove 749 replies22 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited May 12
    She has about 50 hours of shadowing, including hours in clinical sitting at Vandy and with medical directors at a health plan.
    edited May 12
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  • texaspgtexaspg 16506 replies340 threadsForum Champion Pre-Med & Medical Forum Champion
    @SincererLove Check out also old people's homes, I do see Charlotte hospitals seem to think people need to commit for an year at a time which is not normal.I remember a nephew once told me he walked into a hospital and started volunteering in Houston while in a summer research program.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34123 replies377 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited May 12
    The notion is "healthcare delivery." That's not planning a party or admin. At an elderly home, it wouldn't be social activities. Is a med director at a health plan seeing patients? Or even located in a clinical setting?
    edited May 12
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  • SincererLoveSincererLove 749 replies22 threadsRegistered User Member
    @lookingforward , medical directors control whether healthcare will be delivered at all.

    Using the same criteria, most of the hospital volunteering will be disqualified as they don’t have anything to do with health care delivery. Our team volunteered at the Children’s hospital one time and we planned a party for the kids. One premed student was also there, I am sure she reported those 2 or 3 hours as clinical volunteering.
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10213 replies203 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yes, but I assume medical directors don't have direct patient contact--which is one of the criteria for an activity counting as a clinical activity. While I'm sure it's a valuable experience to see the insurance side of healthcare delivery, I'm not sure it passes the "sniff test" for shadowing.

    Sniff test-- LizzyM's descriptie of clinical experience: If you're close enough to smell the patient, it's clinical.


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  • srk2017srk2017 2264 replies8 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @WayOutWestMom - We are relying on LizzyM's sniff test for clinical hours :smile: my son is interacting with patients in different settings (teaching to inpatient kids at children's hospital, spanish interpretation, taking patients around etc..), interviewing them for a study. Do you see any issue?
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10213 replies203 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Those sound like pretty typical clinical activities for pre meds.
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  • SincererLoveSincererLove 749 replies22 threadsRegistered User Member
    A quick question on when to take MCAT. D, based on the health advisor advice, thought she could take the MCAT in next June. Some parents we ran into today said it is too late and she would need to take a GAP year if she took the test that late. She still needs to take biochem, bio 2 and physics 2. She could have taken it in January, but we have already scheduled a family vacation for two weeks, and she is taking bio 2 junior spring semester. Your thoughts?
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10213 replies203 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @SincererLove

    Your D should NOT take the MCAT until she has completed her pre-reqs, especially biochem. 30% (or more) of the questions on the bio section of the MCAT are on biochem.

    The most important point of MCAT scheduling is to take the MCAT ONLY when she is ready for it and is consistently scoring in her target range on FL MCAT practice exams. This is something she won't know until she is well into her MCAT prep next spring.

    RE: June MCAT date

    It depends when in June your D plans to schedule her MCAT--early-to-mid June is OK. Late June starts getting very iffy and may be too late for anyone but exceptional applicants.
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  • SincererLoveSincererLove 749 replies22 threadsRegistered User Member
    @WayOutWestMom , she says May 27, 2020.
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10213 replies203 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited May 30
    @SincererLove

    Not too late. She'll have her score back by late June. AMCAS doesn't even start transmitting applications to med schools until the last week of June.

    edited May 30
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  • texaspgtexaspg 16506 replies340 threadsForum Champion Pre-Med & Medical Forum Champion
    edited May 31
    The most important point of MCAT scheduling is to take the MCAT ONLY when she is ready for it and is consistently scoring in her target range on FL MCAT practice exams.

    For everyone asking about timing - This is the most important part. You can take it whenever - if you are doing well on practice tests.

    For most people, it takes real prep after completing the core classes since classes give you knowledge but not how to work through an 7 hour 30 minute exam. This is an endurance test.
    edited May 31
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  • SincererLoveSincererLove 749 replies22 threadsRegistered User Member
    Update...D volunteered for around 120 hours at various parts of a Charlotte hospital, including ICU, etc. She found that experience more rewarding than her highly paid CS internship. She is forging ahead with her premed classes this semester, biochem and physics II, math classes like LA and Stat, and programming class required by her CS major.

    She also hopes to get more shadowing at Vandy medical center this year. She did shadow on two specialists this summer.
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  • srk2017srk2017 2264 replies8 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @SincererLove - Ideally clinical volunteering should be spread out over the years but may not be feasible for everyone.
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