Caregiving as Clinical Hours

Hello: I am a freshman undergraduate student and I have been working during the summer as a caregiver for the elderly in my community. I go to their houses and help them with daily tasks, like medication, meals, shopping, bathing, etc. Most of the time the people I work with have memory loss conditions like Alheimer’s, and I just help them with daily activities. I had to complete a training that must be renewed every two years and I was wondering if this counts as clinical experience for medical school if I do it consistently every summer? I complete over 50 hours each summer I work. Thanks!

Hi Rachel. It’s great that your are working with the elderly, which are underserved in many communities. I don’t see why this work with seniors would not count toward patient hours, although, it could be argued that this work is not clinical because it occurs in the field (i.e. in the home) and not in a “clinic” or hospital. However, what medical school Ad Comms are really looking for is hand-son experience with patients, which may or may not be in a real clinical setting. But it appears that it still involves patients and caring for people.

Do you do direct care or do you go through an senior services or care agency, such as the one that gave you your training? If so, perhaps your employer or trainer can train you to expand the repertoire of skills that might make your work more “medical” as well as social service?

Like you, I also work as a caregiver/CNA/ HHA in the home with terminal cancer and dementia patients. My employer, a large nationwide non-profit hospital chain, classifies me as a clinical worker and they classify the work that I do as clinical work. I have other licenses and skills (e.g. phlebotomist, telemetry, etc.) which augments my CNA/HHA and lets me assist in other ways.