Pre-Medical Organizations, Experience, Community Service
UK has numerous pre health student organizations including three national pre-medical organizations: Pre-Medical AMSA (American Medical Student Association), Alpha Epsilon Delta (premed honorary) MAPS (Minority Association of Pre-Medicine Student), and Pre-Med Activities Council. For a complete list including contact information visit the Center for Student Involvement. Getting involved in pre-medical student organizations on campus can be of great benefit to you. You will be connected with other students who have similar interests and goals. Many of them are upperclassmen and can guide you as you prepare for professional school. The organizations bring in guest speakers like deans of admission at medical schools, physicians in various specialty areas, speakers on health care ethics, and the pre-professional advisors, all of whom provide useful information and raise important issues for you to consider. Involvement in the pre-professional organizations can also help you develop and use your leadership skills.
It is very important that you gain exposure in your intended career field to confirm your desire to enter the profession. Are you comfortable being around sick people? Do you understand the nature of the work on a daily basis? Do you have the "stomach" for it? Gaining this experience assures professional school admission committees that you do understand the pressure and demands of the work. Without this first-hand experience, how can you be sure that this is the career for you?
Pre-professional students should be regularly and consistently involved in health care. This is not something a student puts off until his junior year! Begin as a freshman, or at least a sophomore. Use some of your semester and spring breaks to augment your experience. Consistent involvement over a period of years demonstrates commitment to the goal of becoming a health care professional.
There are several ways to become involved. You may contact a health care professional you know and arrange a shadowing experience. Shadowing may be done for as little as one afternoon or, preferably, on a regular basis over a period of weeks. Being in the office with patients, or on rounds with her in the hospital allows you to experience some of the daily life of a health care professional.
You may choose to work in a hospital setting, either as a volunteer or in a paying job. Most volunteer assignments entail about 4-5 hours/week for the duration of a semester. The Pre-Professional Advising Office can give you a list of the volunteer coordinators at local hospitals.
In addition to these settings, please remember that any setting involving the care and treatment of patients can be a fruitful environment for you. Examples include a nursing home, health department, free clinic, etc.
The American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine (AACPM) is a national educational organization that represents the eight U.S. colleges of podiatric medicine as well as over 200 hospitals and organizations that conduct graduate training in podiatric medicine. The Association serves as a national forum for the exchange of ideas, issues information and concerns relating to podiatric medical education. The DPM Mentors Network is one of several programs administered by the AACPM, which matches interested students with practicing podiatrists and current podiatric students. In addition to the Mentors Network, the AACPM provides a list of area podiatrists who have shadowing opportunities available for interested students.
Health care is people-oriented and its professionals are community leaders. Therefore, it is important to develop your leadership skills in areas of service to others. You may involve yourself in student organizations where service work is a component, and/or you may choose to commit to a cause or project on your own.
The pre-professional student organizations on campus have a component of service work. Some students are members of social fraternities or sororities, and the membership has service projects each year. There are many other student organizations on campus as well. Many pre-professional students find that involvement with one or more of these groups considerably augments their understanding of and involvement in service work. For further information on student organizations, contact the Center for Student Involvement.
You may choose to involve yourself as an individual in service work of some sort. This is an area where "if it feels good, do it!" Some ideas are tutoring children; becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister; providing transportation for cancer patients to and from their treatments; adopting a "grandparent" in a nursing home; serving regularly at the Hope Center, a homeless shelter in Lexington; volunteering at God's Pantry; etc. For a list of areas of need, contact the Center for Community Outreach.