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Question About Non-Academic Stuff At U Of C Med.

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Hi Everyone, 


I've posted on this site a long time ago. Its great to have a resource like this available for older non-traditional people like myself who will be applying to medicine in the future.  I plan on applying to the U of C MD program in a few years after doing some academic upgrading.  I'm in my early 30's with a couple of B.Sc.'s in molecular bio and nursing.   I can only apply to the U of C due to the 10 year exclusion rule.  My GPA in my nursing degree was atrocious as I'm a science guy and nursing, when took it, was very fluffy/airy-fairy.  It didn't seem to matter how much I studied, my grades were always crappy.


I have a question regarding how the U of C views employment vs. volunteering experience. I've been an RN/coordinator for the past several years.  I have been fortunate to work in a wide variety of different areas including everything from ER to transplants to critical care.  I'm also a clinical instructor with the Faculty Nursing on a part time basis.   My jobs are awesome! They are rewarding and I really enjoy them.  To give you guys an idea, here are an approximate number of hours I have in various health care settings:


- Critical care (a variety of critical care settings): > 10 000 hours

- Transplant Coordinator(mostly liver) :  > 3000 hours   

- med/surge RN: 300-400 hours

- ER: 100-200 hours.

- Clinical instructor: 300-400 hours.


Since the majority of my non-academic stuff is healthcare based, should I try and volunteer in non-health care areas? I'm really interested in volunteering with palliative care.  Despite my experience, death/dying is an area that I still don't feel comfortable with.  This is especially true when it comes to dealing with family members of the deceased.   In your opinion would volunteering in palliative care make me too one-dimensional?  I have other volunteering experience from many years ago so I'm not sure if its still considered relevant or not.  I feel that with my skill set, knowledge and experience I could do the most good and help the most people by volunteering in health care-related areas. 


My other extra curricular stuff includes operating my own business doing commercial site maintenance, powerlifting, university clubs (back a LONG time ago!). I also have some 3 summers of research experience with AHFMR, and Canadian blood services, as well as a senior undergrad research project.  No publications though :( .  Research is very intellectually fulfilling for me and I plan on doing more during my academic upgrading years.   


Overall, I guess I am wondering whether I should volunteer in areas that I am interested in like in the hospice setting or should I do stuff that makes me more well rounded as a candidate?  


Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated. 

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U of C has stated that they know that not everyone has the luxury of volunteering, and they take that into account. Looks like you've got a excellent background; I'm sure palliative care volunteering would also be well-received. It is not necessary to volunteer in non-health-related things, as long as you have long-term commitments that showcase the canmeds attributes.

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You shouldn't plan to do something just for the sake of a medical school application.  I am sure through your life experiences you can write your top 10 so that it highlights the qualities the school is looking for.  All of my experiences were true to my interests and I was able to pull from them all to highlight those main qualities they are assessing, with many of them being healthcare related because of the nature of my current career, and I was invited for an interview.  There is no formula of what activities to partake in to get into medical school so just continue living your life and doing what you love.  

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