Will Being a Dispatcher Count As Clinical Experience?

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Session 87

Session 87

Our poster this week wants to know if working as a volunteer dispatcher for EMS will count towards clinical experience for his applications to medical school.

Check out everything we do on the MedEd Media Network. Our newest podcast is called Ask Dr. Gray Premed Q&A. It’s very similar to this podcast where I take questions from the OldPreMeds.org forums. On the Ask Dr. Gray show, I actually live stream Facebook, take the audio from that, and turn it into a podcast. Most are my thoughts coming out throughout the day as I work with students on their personal statements, essays, mock interviews, etc. If you’re interested in working with me just go to the Services menu on OldPreMeds.org.

A couple of quick announcements – On August 21, I will be in Anaheim doing a meetup. Go to our Premed Hangout Group to find out more about it. On August 23, The Premed Years Podcast has been nominated for a science and medicine award for the Academy of Podcasters. The award ceremony that night is free for everybody. I’ll be in town for the conference so if you would like to go to the award ceremony, shoot me an email at ryan@medicalschoolhq.net.

November 4-5, 2017 is AMSA PremedFest in Tampa, Florida at USF. I will be there and speak about the interview process. I’ll have a table set up. Come by and say hi. Use the promo code MSHQ17 to save some money off the registration.

[02:50] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:

“I am an old premed, got all my prereqs and currently working on preparing for the MCAT. But one of my biggest gaps is not having clinical or patient contact experience. I have done plenty of basic lab research but not in a clinical setting. I work full-time and therefore finding experience could be challenging. I recently came across this organization that runs a volunteer ambulance site and they need volunteers. The entry level volunteer is a dispatcher which requires four to six weeks of training. I would like to volunteer because obviously I’m counting this as “clinical patient experience” for my application.

But my question is would this type of experience being a dispatcher at a volunteer ambulance organization count at all? The website also says that once dispatcher training is completed, the person may ride in the ambulance as an EMS attendant and also get CPR and first aid training which I would definitely do. Of course, I would do this during the weekends since I work full-time. Any thoughts or anyone with similar experience? I don’t want to submit an application without being sure this will count for clinical or patient experience.”

[03:59] Does Dispatching Count as Clinical Experience?

I’m glad you’re looking into this because not having any clinical experience or any patient exposure is not good for the application. The fact that you’re thinking about it now is great.

There’s a saying in the premed advising world and the medical school admissions world that you have to be close enough to smell the patient for clinical experience. As a dispatcher, it would not be clinical experience. You’re not interacting with the patients in any way other than the phone call. You’re just gathering information and dispatching people.

Once you get through your training, the ability to do a ride along and CPR and first aid and all of that other stuff is great. That’s great experience.

Being strapped for time and working full-time, is not an excuse to not get anything done. I’ve worked with plenty of students who work multiple jobs and they’re still preparing for the MCAT. They’re still getting clinical experience and doing other things. Life can get busy. But if you plan and schedule things at night, maybe get one hour less of sleep, and you don’t play video games or watch TV, there’s plenty of time in the day to do that.

[06:14] Call Your Local Hospice

I highly recommend calling your local hospice organization. Get involved with them. It doesn’t need any long term training or certifications. Introduce yourself as a premed student. Tell them you’ve heard amazing things about hospice so you want to get involved, contribute, and help patients. Hospice is an amazing organization with an amazing mission. The ability to care for patients as they transition out of this life is phenomenal and great clinical experience. Hospice is what I typically recommend to students looking for clinical experience who can’t find it anywhere else. So go check out a hospice in your area.

[07:05] Final Quick Announcements

November 4-5, 2017 – The AMSA PremedFest in Tampa at USF. Use the promo code MSHQ17 to save some money off your registration by October 25, 2017.

August 21 –  Dinner meetup at Anaheim

August 23 – Academy of Podcasters Awards Ceremony (If you want to attend that, shoot me an email at ryan@medicalschoolhq.net)


The MCAT Podcast

The Premed Years Podcast

Specialty Stories



AMSA PremedFest (Use the promo code MSHQ17 to save some money off the registration)


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