*Application CLOSED – available summer 2016*
About Cedars Sinai:
Cedars-Sinai is known for providing the highest quality patient care. Our dedication to excellence, compassion and innovation is rooted in the Judaic tradition and its devotion to the art and science of healing, which informs every aspect of our four-fold mission:
- Leadership and excellence in delivering quality healthcare services
- Expanding the horizons of medical knowledge through biomedical research
- Educating and training physicians and other healthcare professionals
- Striving to improve the health status of our community
We live this mission every day through the contributions of more than 2,000 physicians in every clinical specialty, 10,000 employees, 2,000 volunteers and 15,000 fundraising support group members. Together we provide world-class medicine to our patients, our community, and patients from across the United States and around the world.
Accepts: Juniors, Seniors, Post-bacc
Length of commitment: 1 academic year
Shifts Available: M-F Only
TB Testing: Yes – more information given upon acceptance
Cedar Sinai Medical Volunteer program does not entail actually volunteering and helping out the medical staff, rather it is a shadowing program where you get to shadow and follow physicians/residents around the hospital on their rounds or in the OR. I currently enjoy going to the hospital to shadow the physicians. The problem I have with this program is the scheduling. Instead of the volunteer office helping you contact the physician you are to shadow, you contact the physician yourself and sometimes they are hard to get hold of. In addition the hours of shadowing is also quite strict. You can only shadow during the weekdays before 5pm, according to the volunteer office. But besides the two problems listed here, I like going to Cedars to shadow. You also get the opportunity to sit in on many of the conferences the hospital holds to update the doctors on what kind of groundbreaking research each doctor is working on to better the future.
3rd Semester Student
Without a doubt, Cedars-Sinai is the best clinical experience out there. All of the physicians volunteer to be part of the program, so you know your attending actually wants to teach. For my rotation (palliative care), I shadowed the attending physician 1-on-1 while he did rounds. My physician was very receptive to questions and tried to show me his best cases and took the time to explain the patient’s history before we went into the room. We were all over the hospital from peds to oncology to ICU to long-term intubation. I saw a variety of cases from a patient on a Bi-VAD (Biventricular Assist Device) to a woman who pretended to seize uncontrollably to get pain medication. Some cases took only a couple minutes while others took an hour.
From what I’ve heard, getting into the OR and seeing surgeries isn’t that difficult if you have the right rotation and free on the days surgeries are performed. There are a lot of surgical rotations available (anesthesiology, bariatric, cardiothoracic, neurosurgical, orthopedics, pediatrics, pediatric orthopedics, plastic, pulmonary thoracic, surgical oncology). My advice is to apply as early as possible since rotations are first come, first serve.
The volunteer coordinators are also the nicest people who actually remember your name. They are very flexible and accommodating to your needs. A weekly journal is required but I don’t think it’s strictly enforced.
The only con is that commute is an absolute nightmare since you have to battle through LA peak traffic to get to Cedars. A car is mandatory and you can’t volunteer on weekends.
I did hear that internal med rotation is boring since you are with a bunch of residents/interns who are following an attending, so you don’t get lots of personal attention.
3rd Semester Student
The Med Volunteer Program at Cedars Sinai is an invaluable opportunity for anyone serious about wanting to get to know and shadow doctors. In my experience so far, the program has, first of all, been highly personal. I have a surgical oncologist who I shadow for 4 hours every week, who knows my name and with whom I’ve exchanged phone numbers to allow me to come in whenever I want during the week.
Second, it’s been surprisingly diverse. While I usually do get to watch at least one surgery per week (standing in the OR looking over my doctor’s shoulder, no less), I also get to experience a wide range of other medical interactions, from visiting patients with him during clinic hours to learning how to read a CT scan to checking up on post-op patients. While there are several health clearance checks and an orientation that must all be completed before you begin the program, for me they have been well worth the meaningful experience I’ve had so far at Cedars Sinai. I’m currently finishing up my first of three rotations in the program (with one of the coolest doctors I’ve ever met), and I can’t wait to find out what other surgeons I will get to shadow in the upcoming year.
3rd Semester Student