Hey folks!

I’m back with another new topic that may be a revisit to prior topics but wanted to see it at the top of the list.

I went to speak with the admissions chair at my school of choice about non-trad students and how he adjusts his evaluation criteria for a non-trad. He indicated first, “I think non-trads are at a huge asset to our school. Half of us think that, and the other half are polarly opposed.”

We tend to look less at your GPA and more at your BCPM, MCAT and especially the volunteer/shadowing you’ve done.

With that, I’d like to start a log of the various volunteer/shadow things that every is currently doing, or have done. For those who are already in/through everything…your input is especially appreciated!

I’ll start: I’m volunteering at a free health clinic. I have informed them of my intentions and what I seek (clinical experience) and they said that over time they’ll work me into some rotations with the docs. Currently, I stuff envelopes for capital campaigns but am soon to start getting trained to interview people (prelim) that come in for HIV testing! Looking forward to it.

I’ve been volunteering at the ER of the local hospital. It’s about all I can do with working so much lately. I plan on doing some shadowing before I decide to actually quit my job and go back to school.


Great! How’s the experience been? Has there been any challenges? Eye-openers?

So far the experience has been pretty good. I have a lot of patient contact, though not much in the medical sense. I restock rooms, bring the patients blankets and such if they desire, etc. Sometimes I act as a buffer between the patients and hospital staff in order to try and placate them when they become irate, mostly because they want diagnosis and treatment faster.

The hospital where I volunteer is not really a trauma center. All the big traumas go to one of the hospitals the next city over, one of which we’re affiliated with. The two things I would change if I could would be to volunteer at a bigger hospital so I could be exposed to more, and have more time to be able to talk with the actual doctors. The docs seem to be very busy most of the time, so I try not to bother them much.

Today when I came in they were running a code (which usually doesn’t happen in this hospital). Apparently the man coded about two blocks away from the hospital. The staff worked on him for at least an hour that I saw and were able to get him stable and transferred via heli to the trauma center. Before I left one of the nurses checked in on him and it seemed he was still doing okay, but not out of the woods yet. I think that that has been my most memorable experience thus far; seeing a patient in dire need of immediate intervention, and the team coming together and being successful at keeping him alive when he was at the cusp of non-living. It certainly reaffirmed my feelings that I want to be in medicine, in order to help someone in a direct, profound way when they are in need of help the most.

What about you? Any memorable experiences, regrets, or the like?


Just wondering, if it’s not impolite to ask…is your school of choice KUMBC? I met a fourth year from there last week, and she had many good things to say about it. Lots of non-trads, very comfortable place to learn, etc. I haven’t decided MD or DO yet, so I’m not sure how I feel about that school, especially the price.

Shadowing/experience…I was an HIV prevention counselor/educator for two years. And back in the day (15 years ago when I was an undergrad), I was a candy striper and did some shadowing in a children’s hospital. This summer, I hope to get some shadowing experience in an ER and a family practice office.

I hope that’s enough. When I talked to the dean of admissions at my (current) school of choice, she said that you need enough shadowing so that you feel confident that med school is what you want to do—and that you are able to articulate that conviction during your interview. She wasn’t attached to a specific number of hours for volunteering or shadowing, from what I could tell.

I’m looking for some experiences to keep me inspired when the going gets tough around my Physics final this fall—when I’m wondering why I’m doing this!

I haven’t had much shadowing experience so far…looking to remedy that soon. I have been a volunteer tutor for adult GED prep at my local community college for about two years, volunteered about 40 hours in an ER and I most recently started doing 1-2 days a month at a free clinic.

So far, I’ve volunteered 100 hours at the hospital in the city I used to live in over a period of about 7 or 8 months while I lived with my parents. Now that I live on my own, I haven’t volunteered that much because time available goes towards working to pay the bills. I just found out today about a volunteer Public Safety Diver team in Sacramento though, and it’s on call so it’s not a fixed amount of time per week, so I’m going to go to their meetings and look into joining. From the sounds of it, basically they respond to 911 response situations that EMS normally can’t handle such as missing people underwater (drowning accidents, etc.) and they also do body recovery, crime scene searches, etc. so it sounds pretty damn interesting.

As far as shadowing goes, haven’t done one minute of it. Good luck finding shadowing opportunities these days…physicians and hospitals are terrified of HIPPA. I’m personally not going to worry about it…I work as an EMT so I have a good idea about what physicians do, the sleep deprivation in healthcare, etc. and I also plan to just sit down with some physician friends of my step-dad and ask them about their jobs so I don’t miss anything. Also going to do a internship at UC Davis Medical Center through UC Davis, hopefully in the OR, so I can get to watch some surgeries but that’s mainly just for myself for fun since I think it’d be fun as hell to watch surgeries.

I volunteered with the local Hospice program. In fact it was the experience there that was a big player in my decision to go into medicine as a career in the first place.

I certain do recommend getting some medical volunteer and/ or shadowing experience, esp for non-medical people who think they want to make a switch. Yes, it will look good on the resume, but more important: You are making a HUGE commitment in time and resources. You want to be as sure as you can that it is what you want to do. It is hard to really say “I want to be a Doctor when I grow up” until you have peaked first hand into that world.

Well I have not shadowed a physician yet, but I have worked for 9 years as a PCT and unit clerk. I also have experience watching heart monitors. I have mostly worked on heart floors and ICU’s. I have walked into the middle of a code a couple of times. The first one I had to initiate CPR. I have not seen a bypass surgery, but I am trying to work my way in. I have also worked at a facility that performed heart transplants, liver, bone marrow transplants etc. I am currently working in a cardiovascular ICU. I am hoping to watch a bypass at some point. I am hoping this will be helpful because I am a lot older than most students. I am now 40 and I am hoping that I will be as competitive as anyone else.

I have worked as a paramedic for 9 years. I’m hoping that will overshadow my MCAT scores. Definetly have some MDs write recommedations. I’m applying this year to MD and DO schools. Every MD I work with tells me experience goes a long way…I wish they were on the admissions boards.