Is It Clinical Experience: Dispensing Medication

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OPM 293: Is It Clinical Experience: Dispensing Medication

Session 293

Today’s nontrad premed dispenses medication in a children’s home and wants to know whether or not it’s considered clinical experience.

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[01:31] The MCAT Minute

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[02:27] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“I work at a children’s home and one of the responsibilities I have is passing medication to the residents. Would this be considered clinical experience?”

[03:02] Clinical Experience Doesn’t Have to Be in a Clinical Setting

One of the biggest myths around clinical experience is that it has o be in a clinical setting. Because

'The interaction does not have to take place in a clinical setting for it to be a clinical experience.'Click To Tweet

Clinical experience does not have to take place in a clinical environment – whether’s that’s a hospital, an outpatient center, or a doctor’s office.

Clinical experiences can happen in a home. If you’re a caretaker of a loved one, or you’re getting paid as a CNA to take care of someone in a home, that’s clinical experience. And that’s not a clinical setting but it’s a clinical experience.

We have to change our view of what clinical experience is in terms of clinical settings. Because wherever interactions with patients are taking place makes that area a clinical setting. It doesn’t have to be this traditional idea of a hospital doctor’s office or outpatient center.

[04:43] Admin or Retail Experiences Aren’t Clinical

Working at the front desk is an admin experience, not clinical experience. Patient registration in the emergency department where you’re interacting with patients is analogous to working the front desk. It’s an admin experience.

Working a pharmacy tech job at Walgreens or CVS is a retail job. Again, you just happen to be interacting with these people who take medications. But they’re not patients, they’re customers. So you have to be very pragmatic around what you call clinical experience and what you don’t.

“If you're interacting with these people in some sort of clinical way, not from an admin perspective or a retail perspective, then you can call it clinical experience.”Click To Tweet

[05:53] What About a Children’s Home and Child Life?

Now, handing out medications at a children’s home is very analogous to handing out medications to residents of a nursing home. That is clinical experience. Just because we don’t typically think of nursing homes as clinical environments doesn’t mean clinical things aren’t happening in that environment.

Remember, the environment in itself does not define what it is. And so, handing out medications in a nursing home is a clinical experience. But that doesn’t mean being in a nursing home is clinical, where you’re working in the kitchen or serving food. You’re not interacting with the patient in some sort of clinical way.

Child Life is interacting with that patient in a clinical setting. I think it’s a clinical experience but there are some admissions committees out there that think it’s not.

Child Life is a department in hospital settings where someone comes to be with patients. It generally happens during pre-procedure or post-procedure, or around difficult conversations, to keep a child happy. It’s to distract them sometimes from what’s about to happen, or from what just happened, or from conversations that the doctors and parents are having.

[08:08] Looking at the Big Picture

Understand that there are people behind the admissions committees and there are people reviewing applications. And it’s up to those individuals, and how they potentially read your description to decide whether it’s clinical experience or not.

Like a lot of stuff in the application, there is a lot of discretion that is needed so use your own judgment. Think about what you do, not necessarily where you do it. But what you do and who you do it with. Then use your own discretion to call it clinical or not based on a lot of the things that we talked about.

Ultimately, if you’re in that situation, hopefully, it is clinical. If it’s not, that’s okay too. If you don’t like it, quit and go find something else that you’ll like more that will count as clinical and go enjoy yourself. But remember, you can enjoy stuff that’s not clinical too. But just make sure you get that clinical experience as well.


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