volunteership frustration

I am going to school, running my butt off with schooling, I finally, after 2 months, get all my ducks in a row for volunteering at a homeless outreach clinic and everyone is nice, plus I’m learning alot about mental illness, how the system works, and getting experience in a clinic.

The only problem I was experiencing was that the nurse that needed me, is way too busy to spend the 10 seconds to tell me what she needs done, so often I’m running around like an idiot looking for things.

I can accept that with everything there’s growing pains, but I got a call today telling me that it was not working out. (a total surprise).

I’m frustrated because I dont think that I will have enough exposure so that someone can fairly write a letter for me by the time april runs around.

Does anyone else have this same drama with volunteering?

A letter for what? Were planning on using a letter from volunteering for your med school application? If so, don’t worry about it. Ideally, most of your letters should be academic letters reflecting your academic ability.

The point of healthcare experience is so that YOU can say you have a good idea of what working in healthcare is like, not necessarily so that you can get someone to write a LOR for you.

no worries, keen, you are not alone. i also just had a similar experience yesterday. i started shadowing at my cardiologist’s office a couple months ago observing the NP’s, PA’s, and nuclear medicine. i came in 2 hours/week and was only observing. i only asked questions when they asked “do you have any questions?”

the past two weeks, i went in and they said everyone was too busy for me to shadow. then the office manager called and said they couldn’t have me come in anymore. her official words were “we’ll call you once all our staff comes back from vacation and back up to full force.” so basically, “stop coming in” even though there were no patient complaints.

i don’t really understand this type of mentality. i have been in roles where i worked 75-80 hours/week and would not have considered myself so “busy” that someone couldn’t shadow me. if a person wants to observe me working then i don’t see any problems.

i vow that when i become a doctor, if i am approached by a student with the same drive as i currently have, i will to the best of my ability make sure they are able to shadow and have a fulfilling experience. at least i still have my hospital gig.

well i wrote a long response to you both, but apparently it didnt get transmitted.

i just was wondering if it were common for volunteers to be thrown around. i volunteered many years ago in another city and wasnt treated this way.

la has alot of premed kids out here, so there are waitlists for volunteering, it took 2 months to get this started, and i was cut so oddly. the other positions have 4 month waitlists.

i just dont know how much experience i need to be competitive. plus the lor from this would be really helpful since my profs are hard to get ahold of at that level so they could write a good letter.

dunno, there are just so many what ifs.

it’s a big game and you’ve got to be willing to play. i say don’t take it personally and keep trying. persistence is key. i have to believe there are empathetic doctors out there who remember what it was like to be in our shoes at one point.

so keep calling around to places. maybe see if your school has a list of suggestions or do cold calls. LA is a large city so there have to be plenty of opportunities. just have to keep working at it.

i lost my cardiologist volunteer position but gained a research position. i took a chance on asking and it paid off. so just go for it!