Sep 21, 2023

How to Master Your Clinical Experience for Med School

Clinical Clerkship

Clinical experience for med school is an important and competitive part of your application and whole medical journey. Also called clinical exposure, it is the active engagement with patient care to give you a sense of the daily demands of being a physician.  

Yes, having exceptional GPAT and MCAT scores is important. However, mastering your clinical experience for med school shows the institution that you can show initiative, effectively interact with patients, and work well with others – making you stand out from the rest.

Let’s explore clinical experience for med school further and how you can succeed along your journey.

Clinical Experience for Med School: Standing Out From the Crowd

1. Shadowing

This clinical experience introduces guided patient care in your specialty to learn first-hand physician responsibilities. It exposes you to different health issues, helps you develop networks and relationships with various medical professionals, and may even lead to a sparkling Letter of Recommendation.

Start by asking around to see who's open to shadowing. You can also consult with school-affiliated medical centers or speak to your professors. Some may need to cold call or email to show their intent to shadow a particular doctor.

Remember, selecting the right physician based on specialty and interest will be vital in the long run.

2. Scribing

Often a paid clinical experience for med school, scribing involves listening and recording a physician’s patient interaction. Some gather information and make important documentation, while others (who are assigned to the emergency department or in-patient department) may be required to dress wounds, monitor vitals, or take needed samples.

Working as a scribe is a great opportunity to hone your overall communication skills. It also shapes your understanding of medical terminology and processes while demonstrating your reliability as a team member.  

3. Volunteering

Volunteer positions can be at a hospice, in a clinic, or as an EMT in the community, showing your service-oriented capacity. These offer a wide range of opportunities – from assisting patients at end of life and managing community events to supporting patient intake at local clinics and helping local non-profits.

male doctor with arms crossed

When looking for volunteering experience, reach out to your advisors or school medical centers. Local clinics and hospitals as well as community centers are also great places to seek opportunities.

Master Your Clinical Experience for Med School

Clinical exposure gives you the opportunity to make a strong first impression while honing and applying your practical skills. Here’s how you can make the most of this experience:

  • Be proactive and show initiative. Be the first to volunteer to do something and keep trying. Respectfully offer solutions to your supervisors.
  • Be professional. Always be punctual, make sure your uniform is clean, and keep a can-do attitude.
  • Come prepared. Keep a notebook and pen so you’re ready to take notes. Learn ahead of time what your role is and what the expectations are.
  • Keep an open mind. Remember, no two patients are the same. Welcome tasks even if they’re outside your scope of work.
  • Learn from everyone you encounter. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or seek clarifications. If someone asks you a question you don’t know the answer to, politely say so and be sure to research it afterward.

If you need any guidance with your clinical experience, C.H.H.A is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.

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