How (and why) to get clinical experience

Posted in: MCAT

by Alexis

Stand out from all of the other medical school applicants and experience life at the centre of medicine by getting clinical experience.

Working in medicine looks great on your resume. It will give you experiences to share in your interviews. It lets you speak knowingly about what you want to get out of being a doctor. Most importantly, it will allow you to determine that medicine is for you, and it can help you to prove that fact to committees.

Here are some ways to get clinical experience:


  • Work or volunteer in a hospice or assisted living facility. Working in either hospices or assisted living facilities can help you to develop your bedside manner, and can allow you to practice your communication skills. You’ll also have access to the world of medicine as you work with patients alongside their doctors. You’ll also get used to the sad side of the world of medicine, and develop strategies and coping mechanisms.


  • Volunteer in hospitals or associated family medical clinics. Many pre-med students volunteer in hospitals and gain invaluable insights into the working life of a hospital, and the administration that keeps everything going. To get even better medical experience, try volunteering in family medical clinics. Student volunteers typically get more hands-on experience and get to work more closely with doctors.


  • Look for internships at research hospitals or independent research facilities. You can also delve into the world of research. It will give you cutting edge knowledge of what’s happening in medicine. It will also teach you about the methodology of research, and expand your range as a candidate.


  • Train to be an emergency room scribe. Scribes help doctors by taking notes and documenting their interactions with patients. The training courses for emergency room scribes are not terribly lengthy or demanding, and the experience that you can get from scribing could be invaluable. You’ll learn to talk to patients, to evaluate as you listen, and to work in a hospital setting. You’ll also be able to genuinely help people as you prepare to be a doctor.


  • Check out your school’s volunteer EMT/volunteer ambulance service. You can also get hands-on experience working with patients by working as a volunteer EMT. You’ll learn to evaluate situations and work with other health-care practitioners.


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