Does Being a School Nurse Count as Clinical Experience?

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OPM 235: Does Being a School Nurse Count as Clinical Experience?

Session 235

You work with children as a school nurse, but now you’re considering med school. There’s only one question-does it count as clinical experience?

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[02:18] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

'Is a school nurse considered clinical experience for the purpose of a medical school admission?'Click To Tweet

Being a school nurse is usually considered a clinical experience. But based on the title alone, it would depend because you may only be doing administrative work as a school nurse. You were not taking temperatures or rinsing out wounds or doing first aid stuff. Therefore, what you did is the key to whether it is clinical or not. 

“If you're talking to students and you're providing first aid, then that is 1,000% clinical experience.”Click To Tweet

[03:33] How Do You Time Such Experience?

For instance, you’re at school eight hours a day, and only three students come in and it only takes two hours of your time. Just time it like normal. If you were there for eight hours, then it’s an eight-hour day and that’s eight hours of clinical experience.

It’s very similar to being an EMT. You’re not expected to stop and start your clinical experience time only when you’re out on the ambulance actually doing EMT calls. 

This is very much different from, say, going on a mission trip to Guatemala. You’re not counting the time that you’re sleeping as part of your total hours. So this is a little bit different because being a school nurse is a very on-again-off-again type of experience.

[04:53] Paid vs Volunteer Clinical Experience

Again, whether being a school nurse is considered a clinical experience depends on what you’re doing. But whether it’s paid or volunteered clinical experience is still going to be clinical experience, regardless.

'Remember, from a clinical experience standpoint, you don't have to have volunteer clinical experience.'Click To Tweet

When we make the distinction between volunteer experience and paid experience, it’s not a distinction of clinical experience.

If you’ve been a nurse for eight years, and now all of a sudden you want to go to medical school, you don’t need to then go get volunteer clinical experience. Because all you have is paid clinical experience from being a nurse. That’s not something you have to do.

Again, if you have plenty of paid clinical experience, you don’t need volunteer clinical experience. 

The volunteer side of it is if medical schools would also like to see volunteer experience, not specifically volunteer clinical experience, but just volunteer experience. Then look at getting volunteer experience, whether that’s Habitat for Humanity or working in a soup kitchen, whatever that may be.

A lot of schools like to see that you are selfless in your time and that you have allotted throughout your day, and you’re volunteering at that time.

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