Preparing for medical school can be time-consuming. You’ll need to complete the required prerequisite courses while maintaining a good GPA and studying for the MCAT. Furthermore, pre-med students with clinical experience are preferred by Doctor of Medicine (MD) programs.
Participating in these activities helps aspiring physicians cement their desire to practice medicine and demonstrate their dedication to becoming a provider. But what constitutes clinical experience for medical school? And where can you find these chances?
We look at a few options for gaining pre-medical clinical experience.
6 Different Types of Medical School Clinical Experience to Consider
When medical school admissions committees emphasize clinical experience as a requirement, they do more than check a box. When a student has firsthand experience in a clinical setting, the admissions committee learns several things about the applicant:
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They understand what they are getting themselves into by studying medicine.
They’ve started to learn about direct patient care and how to treat people from various backgrounds.
They are prepared to work in hospital and clinical settings as part of a dynamic medical team.
They are dedicated to the process of becoming a doctor.
A pre-med student who is shadowing a physician explains medical charts to him.
1. Observe a doctor
Shadowing a licensed doctor is one of the most common ways to gain clinical experience for medical school. Physician shadowing allows students to observe direct patient care firsthand, giving them a realistic picture of what it’s like to work as a provider.
Working with a practicing physician in this capacity will provide you with more than just valuable clinical experience; you will also have the opportunity to gain a professional mentor who will continue to offer guidance as you advance in your medical career.
You can leverage your college network by meeting with a pre-med advisor if you are still in school or have recently graduated. They may have information on various local opportunities that you can pursue. You could also talk to your physician; if they don’t have any opportunities, they might be willing to reach out to their network and refer you to someone who does.
2. Volunteer at a hospice
Another option for gaining med school clinical experience is to work as a hospice volunteer. Hospice care is primarily concerned with maintaining the quality of life for people suffering from terminal illnesses.
Volunteer roles within hospice facilities will vary, according to the Hospice Foundation of America (HFA). You can learn more about becoming a hospice volunteer and explore local opportunities through their organization. Most hospice volunteers can expect to assist patients, provide respite for family members or caregivers, and collaborate closely with the hospice’s bereavement staff.
The experience of volunteering in a hospice environment helps many pre-med students better understand the toll of caring for a dying patient. Volunteers can learn valuable skills by observing how healthcare providers interact with patients and their families firsthand. These skills will serve them well wherever they eventually practice medicine.
In the back of an ambulance, an emergency medical technician cares for a patient.
3. Become an EMT volunteer.
A volunteer Emergency Medical Technician is another hands-on, entry-level care provider position to consider (EMT). The fast pace and unpredictability of working on an ambulance responding to 911 calls expose pre-med students to various medical conditions and scenarios.
The nature of emergency calls can range from life-threatening situations such as car accidents or cardiac arrests to minor complaints such as sprained ankles. As a volunteer EMT, you would work closely with firefighters and police officers, allowing you to become more familiar with your community’s specific healthcare needs.
To become a Basic EMT (EMT-B), you must first obtain certification, which requires at least 154 hours of classroom and practical training—this is where you will learn the skills and knowledge necessary to provide proper pre-hospital care. You’ll usually be paired with a higher-level provider, such as an Intermediate EMT (EMT-I) or a Paramedic, as an EMT-B. (EMT-P). The number of shifts required will vary depending on where you work, but part-time jobs typically require two to four 12-hour shifts per month.
4. Train to be a CNA
If you want to supplement your income while gaining clinical experience, consider becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). CNA training programs are typically four to sixteen weeks long and can be found at local community colleges, vocational schools, or even the Red Cross.
Nursing assistants work in hospitals, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities. They provide basic care and help patients with daily tasks. Working as a CNA may be ideal if you are still in school or plan to work another job. These positions typically offer flexible hours. You may be able to work evening or weekend shifts while still completing your classes and other weekday responsibilities.
5. Get a job as a medical scribe.
Working as a medical scribe, also known as a hospital scribe, is another paid position you could pursue. They are frequently found in the Emergency Department, assisting the on-call physician with information gathering and documentation.
Medical scribes are responsible for taking notes during a patient interview and documenting the details of the encounter in a medical chart. Other administrative tasks may also be completed, such as calling to confirm consultations and obtaining medical records from other facilities.
The training process will differ depending on where you work. Still, you can expect a lengthy onboarding session in which you’ll learn how to access and use the hospital’s electronic medical record (EMR) system and other job-related details. This is usually followed by a period of training with or shadowing a more senior scribe before you are allowed to complete the job on your own.
Working as a hospital scribe would demonstrate your strong written and oral communication skills to medical school admissions teams and provide exposure to various medical conditions—qualities that are important when practicing medicine.
Working as a medical scribe allows a pre-med student to gain clinical experience.
Sixth, take part in the Summer Health Professions Program.
The Summer Health Professions Program (SHPEP) is a national program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that aims to improve academic performance and career development for underrepresented students in the health professions. This free six-week enrichment program aims to improve undergraduate students access to information and resources related to medical careers.
Students who participate in SHPEP gain academic and professional experiences that prepare them to work in clinical care. Prerequisite course material in the basic sciences and quantitative topics is reviewed, including clinical skills labs, health policy seminars, career development classes, assistance with medical school application materials, and small group clinical rotations.
Participants must be high school graduates currently enrolled in college as first- or second-year students with a minimum GPA of 2.5. You will also need to gather application materials such as transcripts, an essay, and a letter of recommendation.
Begin thinking about your clinical experience for medical school.
Medical school admissions committees are looking for pre-med students who have demonstrated a commitment to a career in medicine. Now that you’ve seen some examples of clinical experience for med school, you can start planning your next steps.
Internships are a rite of passage for nearly all professionals outside of healthcare on their way to a higher education degree or post-graduation employment. However, for nurses, the traditional “internship” takes on a new meaning: clinical experience. Clinical experience is what an internship is to business students, and clinical experiences for nurses provide important insight and practice that may improve patient care in the future.
Patient and nurse at the hospital counter
Higher Education necessitates clinical experience.
While an internship is highly recommended for non-healthcare positions, clinical experience is required for nurses. Clinical experience is required for graduation in accredited nursing programs across the United States, at both the bachelor’s and master’s levels.
Hands-on job experience, according to a white paper published by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), prepares nursing students for a diverse patient-care environment in various settings. This is due to the vastness of the nursing profession – there are numerous specialties, care settings, positions, and so on – and no two days are alike. Nursing students benefit greatly from clinical experience before entering the professional world.
A separate paper from the AACN highlighted several clinical experience goals for master’s nursing students. Students at this level are expected to:
Participate in quality-of-care initiatives.
Participate in or lead multidisciplinary care teams.
Collaborate in the delivery of care across multiple healthcare departments.
Incorporate newly acquired knowledge and behaviors into real-world scenarios.
Nursing students can practice their skills and hone key traits with real patients in supervised learning environments but under the watchful eye of tenured professionals. This safety net allows them to master their skills more quickly than they could without sacrificing quality patient outcomes.
Clinical Learning Has Many Advantages for Nurses and Employers
Furthermore, one study published in BioMed Central Nursing that surveyed over 450 nursing students discovered significant support for clinical learning in an educational setting.
According to the study’s authors, the clinical learning environment was “highly satisfactory” to the surveyed nursing students. The types of management and leadership, as well as the presence of mentors, all impacted satisfaction. The more mentorship students received, the more satisfied they were with their clinical learning experience.
A professional network is another advantage of clinical experience for nurses. Hands-on learning will introduce students to supervisors, professors, and coworkers who can help with job searches. During their clinical experience, students, for example, may work directly with an experienced nurse leader, who may serve as a mentor and provide a written recommendation or introduce the student to a job opening.
This effort is even more important for nursing students as health organizations look for candidates to provide quality patient care. Employers want to ensure that new hires can work independently without constant supervision, and clinical experience is a great way to learn how to be more independent on the job while still having supervision from a preceptor to ensure that all of the proper steps for quality patient care are taken.
Students with ‘Internships’ are more satisfied with their jobs.
Clinical experience can help students transition from student to professional, working nurses. Before committing to a specific nursing focus or clinical setting, students will get a taste of what it’s like on the job and see if it aligns with their interests.
Several healthcare organizations are providing programs to compensate for regional and national nurse shortages while allowing for a smooth transition into clinical practice. Seton Healthcare Family in Texas, for example, established a residency program in 2007 to assist in the recruitment and retention of nurse practitioners.
The residency program included the following components:
An 18-week course
Clinical experience under the supervision
Evaluation and assessment of students
This effort reduced the facility’s new hire turnover rate and assisted students in adjusting to their new surroundings. This experience may help nurses better understand what is expected of them and achieve greater satisfaction with their career outcomes.
Nursing Students Will Discover How to Work Efficiently
There is a sense of excitement and surprise at every turn when starting a new job. Unexpected challenges will arise, and it is up to professionals to overcome them and use what they have learned to shape themselves as nurses. Nursing students benefit from clinical experience by becoming accustomed to high-stress situations. This experience will allow them to hone their preparation and reflexes, ensuring they are prepared for anything.
Although no two days as a nurse are the same, nurses frequently develop routines. Responsibilities may revolve around repeat actions, such as visiting patients and providing necessary care. Clinical learning is essential for teaching nurses how to handle both routine and high-stress aspects of their jobs without negatively impacting patient outcomes.
Bedside Manners can be Improved Significantly.
A large part of a nurse’s job is to communicate with and care for patients. As an “intern” in a clinical learning setting, students should try to get to know the patient as much as possible, according to Medical School HQ. This will allow them to provide relevant information during daily and weekly conferences and consult on care plans.
According to a Vanguard Communications study, most patients were satisfied with their health care level. Communication, wait time, and bedside manner were the most common complaints. Bedside manner was listed as the biggest complaint by 40% of the study group of patients who were most satisfied with their medical experience, ahead of all other options.
Nurses must understand the patient’s condition, planned procedures, and the reasons for these strategies. Medical errors can occur if this information is not available. The patient should always come first, and clinical interactions will provide valuable learning opportunities.
Home>Nursing homework help
Describe the assessment of a patient, detailing the signs and symptoms (S&S), assessment, plan of care, and at least 3 possible differential diagnosis with rationales.
Mention the health promotion intervention for this patient.
What did you learn from this week’s clinical experience that can beneficial for you as an advanced practice nurse?
Support your plan of care with the current peer-reviewed research guideline.
Post should be at least 500 words, formatted and cited in current APA style with support from at least 2 academic sources.