So now your goal should be to find a way to get clinical experience. But there isn't just one way to get this experience. In fact, there are several different ways you can get your required clinical experience.
The first, and probably the most common way, is to shadow a physician. Shadowing a physician looks great on your application because you are truly observing a doctor and learning what happens daily as a physician. The only downside to this method is the fact that it can sometimes be time-consuming to find a physician to shadow. Here are a few tips to make the whole process easier:
- Consult your own doctor to see if he/she has any advice about finding someone to shadow.
- Ask your school's pre-medical adviser if he/she knows of any opportunities
- When all else fails, simply call local clinics and hospitals.
Another popular way to earn the required clinical experience is to become certified in another healthcare profession. It is pretty common to find pre-med students who are employed as EMTs, CNAs, or phlebotomists. These are usually the most common choices because it is relatively easy to get certified. (The certification necessary may vary depending on your state. Do research to figure out what, if any, experience is required for employment in your area.)
Phlebotomy is just one opportunity that can get you clinical experience while also earning you money!
The benefit of using this method is that you can gain clinical experience while also getting paid. For those of you working your way through college, this is a major plus because your time is extremely important and this allows you to both earn money and improve your medical school admission chances. The biggest downside to this method is that it can sometimes be costly and time-consuming to acquire the training necessary for a certain position. Typically the easiest certification to get would be as a certified nursing assistant, or CNA. However, the job requirements for phlebotomists is very lenient in some areas, allowing for on-the-job training (if you can find an employer willing to train you.)
No matter how you earn the experience, it is imperative that you expose yourself to the field of healthcare and interact with patients. Do whatever you can to show med schools you have the passion for helping people in a healthcare setting.