Finding Clinical Experience as a Premedical Student
written by: Talia Beglarian
When applying to medical school, it is best to have some form of clinical experience under your belt, in order to show an admissions committees that you have an understanding of what it is like to have a career in healthcare. There are several different ways to gain clinical experience, rather than just taking one route.
There are paid and volunteer positions available for students that require different levels of training, so it depends on your schedule and what you feel comfortable doing. For those starting out with little to no clinical experience, a volunteer position to get acclimated to the clinical environment could be very helpful.
Look for programs in local clinics for volunteer positions. Many clinics actively look for volunteers and post applications on their websites. These are useful to get insight on patient care. There are also positions that allow for more direct medical care and interaction, but these require more training, such as Emergency Medical Technicians and Medical Scribes. For these positions, they will often require coursework to be completed, along with passing an exam before beginning.
An important rule of thumb to consider is that clinical experience is most useful if you are able to directly interact with patients. When looking for a position, consider how much you will be able to interact with patients and hospital staff. A saying to go by is: “If you’re close enough to smell the patients, it’s clinical experience.” These types of positions will help bring you one step closer to your career goals and will really help you shine as an applicant.