Pursuing a degree in medicine is without a doubt one of the most challenging things to do. Though there’s a huge responsibility that comes with being a medical student, truth be told, earning a medical degree is more than just grades and test scores. It all comes down to who you are and what you do. If you open yourself to the world, your medical journey may be full of unforgettable experiences that will help you become the physician you strive to be.
Experience also demonstrates that you perform well outside the classroom. It’s evident that you’ve done well in your studies as a medical student to be where you are right now. However, it’s only your experiences that will provide you insight into what matters most to you and your contributions to the community, perhaps after graduation.
So, before you graduate, take the opportunity to acquire meaningful experiences in the medical field. Here are eight memorable experiences every medical student should get to try:
Shadow A Doctor
It’s most likely that this is the most essential experience you’ll ever have. Shadowing a doctor allows you to witness and experience the life of practicing medicine personally. This experience will provide you with a greater knowledge of what a regular day in the life of a doctor consists of, as well as a chance to discuss medical school. It’s also the best approach to becoming familiar with different specializations and medical environments which benefits students who are unclear about the areas of medicine they want to pursue When shadowing a doctor, you get to see the doctor’s interactions with patients, operations, conversations with staff, and even how they spend their lunch break. You won’t be expected to do much since you’re not a professional.
So, how do you find a physician to shadow? If you know any physicians, start by asking them. You can also ask your professors or academic advisers if they know any physicians that have shadowed students before. Explain why you wish to shadow the doctor. Tell them you’re a medical student, your medical experiences, or maybe your goals and aspirations. Many doctors welcome the opportunity to work with students.
Participate In An International Medical Program
Make time to travel overseas and participate in a medical program abroad. Summer is most likely the best time. Joining a medical program overseas might help you get better acquainted with health issues that differ greatly from those you’re accustomed to seeing. Not only that, but you’ll also acquire global medical experience, language skills, and perhaps even gain respect for people from different cultural backgrounds. Moreover, you’ll learn more about different healthcare systems and broaden your perspective about the world.
In a nutshell, international medical programs are challenging experiences that can help you develop real-life skills. While these opportunities come once in a blue moon, you can find one by looking up online. Places like Medical Aid offers medical internships overseas for aspiring physicians and doctors. The majority of medical programs available take place in Third World nations, where resources are scarce. Health workers working in these areas, on the other hand, have cleared the way to make the most of whatever resources they have at their disposal.
Join A Research Study
Aspiring physicians are already busy with school and everything. Should they also bother themselves with research? Yes, medical students should indeed do research as part of their education. When an aspiring physician pursues a post-graduate training position, research experience in medical school is an important factor. Such training opportunities are highly competitive, and having knowledge of research is an advantage. Also, research training may also be the first opportunity for medical students to write what they think in a logical and concise approach. This helps to develop habits that are essential in the medical field. Most importantly, this activity exhibits your curiosity, eagerness to do intensive study, critical analysis, interest in learning new knowledge, a sharp eye for discoveries, and most importantly, a commitment to work hard to pursue your passion, which are essential qualities of a physician.
Moreover, gaining hands-on practice testing hypotheses, analysing data, creating reports, and contributing to publications will also help you enhance your application and select which fields of research you want to pursue. Take this opportunity by contacting a professor in the research department of your school and inquire about working or volunteering in the lab.
Volunteer In The Community
As a doctor, you must be selfless – Working extra shifts, missing short breaks, and giving low-cost or free treatments are all part of the job when serving and overseeing the people’s health and well-being. This tendency to put others first before oneself and a desire to serve people is one of the reasons why many people choose to become physicians in the first place. By volunteering in the community, it allows medical students to become contributing members of society. Not only that, but it also allows medical students to broaden their views by allowing them to embrace old interests in the medical setting. Through community service, medical students take the opportunity to re-establish their purpose in applying to medical school. So, show your compassion for people in need while learning about the medical and economic difficulties that communities undergo.
There are a variety of responsibilities you might take in terms of community service. You might volunteer at community and government hospitals, clinical wards, retirement homes, and special care facilities to mention a few places. If you have a strong desire to assist underprivileged or needy communities, you may volunteer in shelters or adoption facilities. There are no right or wrong answers to the places you wish to volunteer. As long as you’re dedicated to the experience, it will benefit you in the long run.
Furthermore, working with communities demonstrates your dedication to providing access to medical treatment for all populations. You’ll have a deeper appreciation for the profession and for people. If you think this is your calling, notify the volunteer office at your local hospital about your aspirations.
Be A Medical Scribe
If you have an interest in medicine, becoming a medical scribe may give you a good idea of what it’s like in the medical industry and a thorough peek at the specialization of your preference, whether it’s in the emergency department, outpatient clinic, or other specialized clinics. A medical scribe is a growing profession that some medical school candidates undertake while still in college.
Becoming a medical scribe will allow you to acquire more experience in a medical setting, earn money to pay off student debts, save money for medical school, and shadow doctors while working closely alongside them. As a scribe, you’re in charge of taking notes during a clinical interview, documenting the encounter on a patient file, and facilitating patient flow through the emergency department.
Students benefit from working in a clinical learning setting in a variety of ways. A medical scribe’s knowledge aids them in their undergraduate studies, postgraduate examinations, and future interviews, as well as introducing them to certain subjects that they may choose to explore in greater depth in the future.
Volunteer At A Home For Children With Special Needs
Normal kids already struggle to blend in with their classmates, especially as they mature into teens. Think about how challenging it may be for one with special needs. As a result, they face the same levels of confusion, fear, shame, and loneliness, which no parent wants for their children. Every child needs love, inspiration, and care, and volunteering may help children with special needs develop a feeling of self-worth, confidence, and the drive to strive even when things are difficult. This way, spending time with children who have special needs allows you to grasp the level of tolerance and empathy required to cater to their needs. And, by catering to their needs, you’re creating a safe and healthy environment where they believe they’re accepted.
Plan your summer or school break, or even 1-3 hours per week helping out the local home for children with special needs. Not only do you gain first-hand insight into paediatric medicine and child psychology, but you’ll also build a good, enduring connection with children in the years to come. This will be an excellent opportunity for you to learn how to operate in the most difficult circumstances. In addition, you get to engage with physicians and nurses who have a better understanding of how things have evolved in that nation through the years.
Medicine, being a face-to-face profession, requires speaking abilities from individuals who work in the industry. For instance, when you begin working in a professional healthcare setting, you’ll be engaging with a large number of individuals on a daily basis, both clinically and in terms of patients. If you’re in charge of a ward or team, you’ll need effective communication and excellent leadership qualities. This level of expertise is critical in the medical field. If you have a hard time or you can’t communicate well with others, you might even harm someone’s life.
Tutoring or teaching others learn new skills can improve your ability to communicate effectively and lead others – these qualities will help you succeed in the medical field. The field of medicine is loaded with perplexing and intricate terminology. If you can assist a young kid in learning mathematics, it’ll be much simpler for you to communicate difficult medical diagnoses to your patients in a way that they can comprehend in the long run.
Take Part In Science Fairs And Competitions
Winning a science fair competition might be the most memorable achievement of a medical student. Students undertake experiments, actual research, and more as part of these contests, either alone or in groups, to demonstrate their technical expertise. Participating in major events, let alone winning awards, would undoubtedly catch the attention of grad schools – and may even result in cash prizes and grants. If you’ve earned recognition in one of the great science contests, admissions committees will notice that you’re succeeding and contributing to realistic situations rather than just merely acing your examinations.
Medical students that engage in science fairs will develop problem-solving and critical thinking abilities that will serve them well throughout their careers. It can help them advance their profession, develop speaking abilities, and broaden scientific knowledge.
Join Or Start An In-School Club
While in-school activities may not carry the same weight as contests or international internships, it’s good to be engaged in your school community. What matters most isn’t your membership in the club or your position as a leader, but the contribution you can make. If the club doesn’t do much, this may be a good chance for you to do more. Better still, form a club or a chapter at your school. This demonstrates leadership as well as a desire to take an initiative. Consider creating a chapter of a non-profit organization with a certain goal in mind. You can meet individuals who share your vision, appreciate your passion for it, and will motivate you to create something out of it.
Starting or joining a club you’re passionate about can help you develop skills such as leadership, analytical thinking, and even public speaking – which are qualities found in physicians. It may seem like a lot of responsibility but each step will teach you a new skill that you’ll be able to incorporate in the medical field in the long run.
Going to medical school is more than just grades and test scores. It all comes down to who you are and what you do. Your choices and your experiences help create the person that you are today and in the future. Great doctors aren’t only intellectually strong but also emotionally and socially competent. So, make an effort to gain memorable and valuable clinical experience. Show your concern and gain a greater understanding of the healthcare profession you’re pursuing. In addition, having such experiences improves important qualities in the healthcare system such as patience, empathy, communication, and leadership skills.