Should You Volunteer in a Hospital Before You Apply to Medical School?
If you are a medical student or planning to study medicine, is it a good idea to volunteer in a hospital?
Many students don’t have the time to volunteer – they are too busy with their studies and part-time jobs to find the time. This is particularly true for medical students. Studying medicine takes longer and is more gruelling than many other courses and so it may be a good idea to do your hospital volunteering before you start your course.
In fact, if you haven’t decided on your career but are considering medicine or a related profession, volunteering in your final couple of years at school or during vacations can help you reach a decision. This will enable you to make a more realistic choice, based on your own experience and on talking to people already established in their medical careers.
Hospital volunteering is also a good idea if you are interested in medicine but don’t want to be a doctor or nurse. Spending time in a hospital will introduce you to some of the many other careers related to medicine and open your mind to additional possibilities.
Apart from helping you to make a career choice, why should you consider volunteering in a hospital setting? Medicalschoolhq.net gives the following 4 key reasons:
Key Reasons for Volunteering
- First, it demonstrates your commitment to helping people, a quality which is much better shown by time spent on a volunteer project rather than by a clichéd answer to the age-old question which comes up at medical school interviews – that being why do you want to be a doctor?
- Second, it can provide you with experience in an area of healthcare you may not otherwise be exposed to. Medical school applicants don’t have to have experience working in a hospital prior to matriculating as in other professional schools (business and architecture come to mind). Still, doing actual volunteer work in healthcare can give you a sense of what it’s like to work with patients. This experience can be extremely helpful when it comes to writing your personal statement in that you can actually draw on that experience as opposed to just a generic statement saying that you’re smart and like helping people. It can also be a great thing to talk about at your interviews for medical school.
- It makes you more well-rounded. Medical schools do not only look at your GPA and MCAT® scores; they look at everything that goes into your application including your extracurricular activities and prior work experience. (You do still need good GPA and MCAT® scores to get your application on the desk of the admissions committee though!) Doing volunteer work gives you experience and often perspective and shows that you can still succeed in school while doing other things with your time as well. A student who spent all his/her weekends in college tailgating may have had an awesome time, but when it comes to writing down all of your extracurricular activities on college applications, tailgating doesn’t really count.
- It’s a welcome break from your studies. Remember that while the journey to becoming a physician is long and filled with hard-work, it requires a sense of balance too! You need to have a life outside your studies and outside the hospital later on to stay sane and be healthy, so practice doing this in college….More at Hospital Volunteer vs Community Volunteer – Key Reasons for …
When considering volunteering, whether in a hospital or any other setting, you must remember that universities are not just looking for good grades. these days it isn’t enough to score well in exams, you have to show that you have been involved in many extra-curricular activities. And those activities should give you experience and skills which will be useful in your career.