Q's on courses, research/clinical experience and volunteering opportunities

Dear Dr. Gray,

I just wanted to preface that I recently found your podcasts from a classmate’s recommendation. It was great advice because I have found the facebook community to be truly supportive to members. I also commend you on being available to so many students who are in need or advice and guidance on this route. I know for me, family and others have generally come first before my own goals. I am just recently figuring out how much I have let the priorities of others’, no matter how important they may be, overtake the need to prioritize my own goals. So Thank you for being available especially to non-traditional students.

I have compiled a few questions for you. I would really appreciate any guidance you may be able to provide. Thank you in advance!

  1. I worked in clinical research for 6-7 years (on clinical trials). Would that count towards clinical experience or research experience? How would that be broken down? For three and an half years I approached patients in the ED for an observational study for enrollment and follow-up. We also completed Cognitive assessments on patients with potential delirium, and scored them on the CAM. I managed staff and three studies at this role as well as managing the paperwork to the IRB. I then joined another hospital where I worked for the department GI cancers and approached all new patients for consent into our sample and data collection study for GI cancers. I would see the patients and collect the samples, and transport them for storage aside from managing the administrative tasks associated with this. I also worked on a study where we approached patients for consent who have pancreatic diseases including pancreatitis, pancreas cysts and cancers. I took part in consenting, sample collection, processing, managing study documents and staff. I also took part in meeting with the sponsors and quarterly joint steering committee meetings where I had to come up with slides or present.

  2. I started retaking chemistry this semester but I do not know if I should continue with chemistry or just take upper level biology courses. I have been listening to your podcast for old premeds and the premed podcast. I understand that it may be that I am on an upward trend since finishing college but am concerned because I took my premed courses over 10 years ago. Of the classes after college, 2 of the 5 have been at a community college. Otherwise, they have been night classes at a 4 yr institution. Now, my overall GPA is: 3.17 and a science GPA of 3.14. During college, I had difficulty deciding on English vs biology for a major. I decided on biology my junior year and then had to double/ triple on sciences with lab. That didn’t do my gpa any good but I was worried at the time because my high school did not have very rigorous science prep available. I graduated with an overall GPA of 2.99 and science GPA of 2.75 (excluding math courses). When I took chemistry, I got a B-, now, my grade is an A. I don’t know how it will look to admissions for retaking it though? Should I be doubling up with an upper level biology course along with my full time job? I took a few classes in the past but had gotten B and B+ in them because I had prioritized my work.

  3. I have not had time with the clinical research jobs to do volunteering the past years. The jobs have generally required a 50-60 he work week because I was an exempt employee. This year, I am in industry and now have regular hours. But I have had a family issue to deal with early in the year and now, I am back to taking classes. Will it be hard to explain why I haven’t been volunteering since I started the clinical research jobs?

Thank you, and Happy Holidays.

Best regards,

Hi Elisabeth! Thank you for your question! Dr. Gray covered your questions during OPM Session 167! If you have any other questions please feel free to post in the forum again!

Thank you,