Clinical experience is a crucial aspect of the medical school application process. It's important to understand the difference between clinical experience and shadowing. Shadowing involves following a physician and observing their day-to-day work, while clinical experience refers to any time that you are working hands-on with a patient. This can include being a phlebotomist, a scribe, an EMT, a medical assistant or even as a volunteer in a hospital or nursing home.
Before applying to medical school, it's important to have some clinical experience under your belt. You need to know if you want to be a doctor, and one of the best ways to figure that out is by working with patients. Admissions committees want to see that you have put in the time and effort to prove to yourself and to them that you are passionate about this profession and want to work with patients.
It's important to note that you don't need a ridiculous number of hours of clinical experience. However, you do need to have something that is consistent and demonstrates that you are serious about pursuing a career in medicine. The last thing admissions committees want is to accept students who aren't truly committed to this profession.
Clinical experience can also help you determine if medicine is the right field for you. Not all clinical experiences are the same, and some may be more enjoyable than others. So if you don’t like one experience it doesn’t mean you won’t like another. However, the core question you should ask yourself is, do you like working with patients. Next is to figure out if you see yourself as the role of the physician. This is why shadowing is also important. THis will give you a better understanding if you want to take on all the duties of a physician and you learn about both the good and the bad. It's important to use clinical and shadowing experiences as a way to explore your interests and figure out if medicine, and specifically being a doctor, is the right path for you.
If you're a pre-med student, it's also important to start thinking about clinical experience early on. The earlier you start, the more time you'll have to explore different options and find something that you truly enjoy. Keep in mind that clinical experience is just one aspect of the medical school application process. You'll also need to have strong grades and MCAT scores, as well as other extracurricular activities that demonstrate your commitment to the field.
In conclusion, clinical experience is a critical component of the medical school application process. It demonstrates your commitment to the field and helps you determine if medicine is the right career path for you. Whether you choose to be a phlebotomist, scribe, EMT, or volunteer, make sure to find something that you enjoy and that allows you to work with patients. Start early, be consistent, and use clinical experience as a way to explore your interests and passions.
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Adam Nessim, MD