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Expanding UVM Patient Care Opportunities to Help Students Prepare for Med School

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Gaining patient care experience is critical when applying to medical school.

Admissions officers will examine your patient care experiences as a key component of your application.  Those experiences typically include shadowing a medical practitioner, volunteering, or working in a paid position.

Program advisors at UVM guide students toward gaining patient care experiences that suit their interests and provide a competitive edge on their medical school application.

“We’ll analyze with a student the things they need to be focused on,” says Beth Taylor Nolan, director of the UVM post-bacc premed program and associate dean of UVM Continuing and Distance Education. “Do they need more patient care? Do they need more experience in research? Perhaps they’ve never had an opportunity to do some type of scientific inquiry.”

UVM’s Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program is aligned with the University’s top-ranked Larner College of Medicine—an award-winning academic medical center focused on outstanding patient care. That connection gives post-bacc pre-med students better access to patient care experiences and community service opportunities.

Traditionally, UVM students have volunteered with clinical practitioners at the UVM Medical Center or filled volunteer research roles at the UVM Larner College of Medicine.

UVM Patient Care Opportunities Shift to Community Care 

In the era of COVID—when in-person volunteering or shadowing was off-limits to students—Taylor-Nolan says UVM expanded the parameters of patient care opportunities to help students gain experience.

“We expanded the notion of patient care to community care. Students were volunteering through the Red Cross, after-school programs, and non-profit organizations distributing food or helping folks get resources,” she says. “Our students have been very creative and resilient in the past year of finding ways to satisfy those extra-curricular activities.”

As the pandemic expanded the program’s definition of patient care opportunities, Taylor-Nolan says more students sought out paid positions at the UVM Medical Center or at an organization in the local health care community.

“Students gained experience working in teams as EMTs, or on the front lines with COVID testing and contact tracing,” Taylor-Nolan says. “We put our students to work, and I think they ended up having a very good experience.”

Watch a recent Info Session about UVM’s Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program

Post-bacc premed student Gina Demilt jumped at the opportunity to be a medical assistant at the UVM Medical Center for the COVID-19 vaccine trials in October 2020. She says that experience has been invaluable to her pursuit for a career in medicine.

“This job is everything I could have asked for. I’m learning so many different things like data entry and how to take vitals,” she shared in a recent blog post. “I’m wearing so many hats, which is great because it’s just showing me all the things that can happen in research.”

uvm post bacc premed
UVM Post Bacc Premed Student Gina Demilt

UVM’s Post-Bacc Premedical Program has eight tracks for students wanting to move onto a career in healthcare. From MD to the newly launched Occupational Therapy Track, UVM offers specialized tracks to help students gain the education they need to be successful in their field of interest.

For Demilt, working as a medical assistant at UVM and as a patient rehab technician at Central Vermont Medical Center on the weekends, has solidified her decision and given her the patient care experience to apply to PA school.

Learn more about UVM’s Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program