How to get premed experience during COVID-19

December 21, 2020

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

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The challenges of the pandemic have impacted everyone, including pre-med and pre-health students who are looking to apply to medical schools this year. Most healthcare facilities have suspended their doctor shadowing and volunteer programs, leaving students wondering how to get premed experience during COVID-19.

But we can help. We have explored the options that are available to pre-med and pre-health students who are looking for healthcare experience. We take the education and health of the future generation of healthcare professionals seriously. 

Our programs have been fortified with more safety protocols so that we can help you get the doctor shadowing and global health experience you are looking for. At Global Pre-Meds, we pride ourselves on having strict ethical and safety procedures in place, including ensuring that our program is strictly observational and there is no physical contact with patients. This remains true, and we have added to our procedures to ensure your health and safety, even during the pandemic. 

Shadow a doctor online

If you are pre-health or premed during COVID, you may be struggling to fulfill your program’s requirements when it comes to hospital shadowing hours. Several virtual shadowing programs have been created to help students who are trying to find clinical experience.

You want to check with your program and school to make sure that they will accept online shadowing. Some schools are starting to add virtual shadowing modules to their websites, especially as more classes are forced to shift online. 

The independent virtual shadowing programs that are online are usually free. This gives you the option of trying out different ones to see what might fit your interests best and which one provides the best learning experience. You can find these programs simply by searching on the internet. Keep in mind that you are trying to get an understanding of what the day-to-day activities and responsibilities are for a healthcare professional, as well as what appropriate patient care looks like.

It’s hard to replicate shadowing a doctor in person with an online program. Just like many of your laboratory and medical school classes, students benefit the most from hands-on learning. 

While you won’t have physical contact with patients, with our Global Pre-Meds programs you will be observing a broad range of medical cases, taking vitals on each other, and perhaps practicing skills like sutures. Your mentor will be a medical doctor who has been selected by our team because they can provide an excellent shadowing experience. 

We can safely put students on the front lines of hospitals because we control every aspect of your program, including food preparation, transportation, and the people you will be interacting with. If you are afraid you won’t get enough out of online shadowing, consider one of our programs in Tanzania or the Dominican Republic. We appeal to students who are interested in becoming a doctor, nurse, physician assistant, or midwife.

Becoming a healthcare worker

If you have the time and are motivated to find a job in the healthcare field, there are options that can help if you aren’t sure how to get premed experience during COVID-19.

The challenge with finding a job in healthcare is that you will have to attend courses or training, and usually pay money to become certified to do the job. The next step is applying for jobs and getting accepted, which means it will take some time, and it’s not a decision to make lightly. 

You should also consider the risk of transmission if you are working locally and going home to loved ones. 

If you want to get clinical experience, but you don’t want to commit to a job in healthcare before finishing medical school, you can still find shadowing or volunteer opportunities. And with our program, you don’t have to worry about shadowing at a hospital and then returning home to friends and family, thus risking exposure. 

At Global Pre-Meds, you will stay at our guesthouse which is handled by our staff according to health and safety regulations. You will be in safe pods of our staff, your peers, and your mentors as you get your clinical shadowing experience. We host our two-week programs regularly throughout the year and during your school breaks so as not interfere with your schedule. 

Volunteer opportunities for premed students during COVID

Volunteering can be an option if you are wondering how to get premed experience during COVID-19. However, similar to shadowing programs, volunteer opportunities for premed students have been greatly limited due to the pandemic. Most hospitals and clinics do not want unnecessary personnel at their facilities and have suspended volunteer programs. 

There are still ways for premed students to volunteer, but many of the options available will likely not qualify as healthcare experience. They still hold value, even if they don’t fulfill those requirements. Medical schools often look to see if applicants have spent time giving back or volunteering, whether it is medically related or not. 

VolunteerMatch has a page specifically for COVID-19 related volunteering, where you can select local or virtual jobs.

Idealist allows you to search via location keyword/interest, and remote/on-site. 

DoSomething is a youth-led volunteer organization in which you can sign up and select causes such as mental health, physical health, and many more. 

We believe it’s important to give back, which is why you will have the chance to volunteer with local organizations during your two-week program. It helps you connect with the culture and the people in a different way. 

Volunteering is also an opportunity to show admission officers what your other interests are. You can show your love of animals by helping a shelter, or show how much you value education through tutoring. There are many options.

We understand why students are wondering how to get premed experience during COVID-19. It’s a challenging time to find the right experience, but it’s an important step to deciding if medicine is right for you. We can help you figure that out by giving you a safe experience on the front lines of international hospitals. Check out our program dates here!