Pre-Med Learning Experiences Offer Unexpected Long Term Benefits

February 4, 2015

Gathered round observing a surgical procedure Students who wish to apply to medical schools are always advised to try and get as much clinical experience as possible. There are two reasons for this:

1. Med schools favour students who have obtained first hand clinical experience. It is an indication that the applicant knows what they are getting into and they are passionate enough about medicine to want to pursue a career in this field despite knowing all the odds.

2. It gives students more clarity as to whether medicine is really the right career choice for them. It also helps in narrowing down the shortlist of specialties.

While these two are compelling enough reasons for pre-med students to get as much firsthand clinical exposure, these learning experiences also offer several long term benefits.

 Long Term Benefits Of Shadowing And Mentorship

Shadowing a doctor during your pre-med stage will give you access to the world of medicine long before you are qualified enough to practice. There is a lot to learn from an experienced doctor and it is a great opportunity to gain an insight into their lives. Maintaining regular contact with these doctors as mentors will also benefit you in the long run. It is very helpful to have a mentor who you can look up to. It will also help to get a letter of recommendation for them for your medical school application as well as after medical school. If you maintain a good relationship with the doctor, you may have a chance to work with them later in life or you could ask them for help choosing a specialisation or for references to get into good residency programs.

Premedical students in the hospital laboratory

Long Term Benefits Of Volunteering & Medical Placements

Volunteering and doing medical placements in settings that have limited resources are eye opening experiences. They take learning out of the classroom and into the real world. Doing a medical placement in a developing country teaches you crucial lessons about serving the poor using limited resources. These exposures and experiences will serve you well, long into your career as a physician.   


Long Term Benefits Of Working in a Research Field

Even if you are not planning on working in research, experience in biomedical research can help you better understand what a life in medicine entails. In order to provide your patients with cutting edge care as a physician, it is important that you should be able to critically assess different types of research findings as presented in scientific presentations and articles. Working on research projects as a premed student will help you get familiar with the individual components of research, from the methodology and presentation to statistics and various other aspects. Working in the research field as a premed will also put you in touch with a number of highly qualified and respected people in the medical field who could be a great source of inspiration to you right from the start of your career.