The Truth Behind Resume Boosters & Experience Points

Updated: May 16, 2019

Getting into medical school is not easy. In fact, it is one of the hardest paths I have walked to this date. Not only do medical schools look for applicants with "through-the-roof" scores in every category, but they also look for applicants with real-world experiences.

With the recipe for a perfect medical school candidate becoming more specific with time, it's easy to get caught up in the game of "resume boosters". There's nothing wrong with that! However, the best resume boosters are the ones with "experience points". Here is a resume booster I personally pursued that was full of experience points: medical scribing.

As a medical scribe, my duties included scribing relevant information of patient encounters through electronic medical records to help optimize doctor-patient interactions. By taking the responsibility of medical records off of my doctor's hands, he could focus more on the patient’s narrative to formulate an appropriate plan of care. During my training, I was flooded with new information regarding electronic medical records and the field of urology.

At first, I struggled to keep up with my physician's pace, wondering how he only saw each patient for minutes before prescribing medications or scheduling procedures. However, I began to realize that his speed was due to a refined level of problem-solving. I realized that I needed to learn how to predict his plan of care to maintain the efficiency of his team. By studying his methods, I soon was able to review imaging, quickly research unfamiliar conditions, and create diagnoses based on my findings. I appreciated the constant flow of medical expertise and challenging demand to problem-solve. However, my work also showed me the harsh realities of sickness that medicine works to alleviate.

I have listened to a patient be cured of metastatic cancer, and I have listened to a patient decline surgical intervention so that he could live his last six months in peace. By hearing how a patient’s independence can be stolen by illness and recovered by medicine, I have developed a deeper sense of admiration for the healing power of medical care and compassion for the patients served by my doctor's team.

So are resume boosters a bad thing? Not necessarily. But are there better ones than others? Absolutely. Not only was my work as a medical scribe looked favorably upon by medical school admissions committees, but I also gained a wide variety of skills and medical knowledge that I will carry with me for years to come. Don't be afraid of scouting out resume boosters! Just do it with tact. Understand that some resume boosters are rich with experience points while others run dry. If you're worried the resume booster you found is not the right kind, ask yourself this simple question:

Five years from now, will the skills and knowledge you gained from this experience help you provide better care to your patients?

If not, keep looking. You'll find the right one soon enough.

- Varenya

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