Every pre-med has probably heard that medical schools value clinical experience. What is clinical experience? Basically clinical experience is any capacity in which you have interaction with patients. Working as an accountant in a hospital is not clinical experience; bringing juice to patients as I described in my volunteer diary, is clinical experience. With that in mind, every pre-med should seek some form of clinical experience, not to pad your résume, but in order to better understand the field of medicine. Speaking from my experience as a medical scribe and a hospital volunteer, clinical experiences do alter your understanding of medicine for the better.
Before I began filling out my AMCAS application, I did not know how admissions committees would view my work experience and activities. I wish I had known that you can only enter 15 work and activity entries and that they are categorized as shown below.
Notice that medical/clinical volunteer work is a separate category? Medical schools admit persons who have the capacity to become future doctors not only because they possess the intellect to handle medical education but also because they are compassionate and caring. Doing community service is the perfect way to discover your own passion for serving others; volunteering in a medical setting will teach you about the role of a physician as well as the needs of disadvantaged communities.
Here are some places you can find volunteer opportunities that incorporate clinical/medical experience.
- Planned Parenthood
- Your local hospital
- HIV clinic
- free clinic
You can also find paid employment in a clinical setting; this form of clinical experience generally involves more patient interaction and elicits a better understanding of medicine than a volunteer position does, simply because of HIPAA.
Recommendations for paid employment
- Emergency Room Scribe
- Emergency Medical Technician
- Certified Nursing Assistant
- EKG Technician
If you have any questions about clinical experience or if you need help finding some, comment below!