I am a former Air Force medic, I also had the occupation of public health technician while I was in the Air Force. I was in for a total of 8 years. I am now currently in college, working towards becoming a doctor. My main focus right now is earning a great GPA and studying for the MCAT. My question is…Because I have spent 8 years working in a hospital close to doctors and working with them one on one on multiple occasions, can I use this experience as my shadowing experience (I worked rotations in a hospital in medic training). By the time I apply for medical school in 2018, the last time I would have worked with a doctor would be Nov 2016. Is this bad? should I get more shadowing done? I don’t want to because I want to focus on school 100% as I currently have a 3.9 and I am about to take the serious sciences next semester. Any insight in to this would be of great help. Thank you all for your time.
Ps. I would love to hear about any others who have gotten out of the military and are working towards this goal. I am very sad today because I got my first B and I am looking for encouragement. Thank you all!
Great to see another military guy fighting the med school battle. I was an AF line officer for 11 years and currently an MS2. There are a handful of other military docs, applicants, students, and folks that have been accepted to start next year on this site.
I would recommend trying to shadow some. I think your prior experience obviously counts for a lot, but there’s a pretty good chance that you were still performing your primary duties while you were working with physicians rather than actually soaking in everything they were doing. I realize you probably have a good grasp on what docs do, but some schools (UW-Seattle specifically from my experience), require direct shadow time outside of any other work you might be doing. Lots of people think they know everything physicians do when they see them at the bedside, but I think there is a lot to gain from seeing the big picture of clinical leadership, paperwork pain, research for diagnosis/treatment, etc. This is partially “playing the game” of applying, which I hate, but I do see some value in focused shadowing. Just to finish the thought, UW required 40 hours at a minimum of shadowing (NOT volunteering), while some other schools i looked at didn’t mention any requirement at all or highly recommended it without minimums.
Plus, civilian docs have some additional concerns for their patients, such as insurance, access and cost control, that aren’t as apparent in the military system.
Ideally you could do it on the weekend or while on break. It doesn’t really require any work on your part, just time away from the books, which believe me, can be a great thing to help you refocus.
I’m so grateful for your reply. You gave me some great things to think about!
You’re right about the difference in military and Civilian doctors, I hadn’t though of that.
Great point about shadowing helping me refocus too! Motivation is always needed on this path.
Ill be calling many doctors office’s this winter break.
Thank you so much, and best of luck to you!
Answering this on tomorrow’s (12/21) OPM podcast!