In recent years, a new opportunity has emerged in the healthcare industry. Pre-medical students have trended toward taking a “gap year” between college and medical school. As of 2015, 60% of entering medical students took a gap year between undergraduate graduation and medical school matriculation. In the past, students who have chosen to take time off have pursued research opportunities or unpaid internships. However, many students require patient-centered experience and would rather spend their year(s) in a clinical setting. These future physicians represent a highly qualified and motivated, but underutilized workforce. Here at Virginia Eye Consultants, we hope to reimagine gap years for students by offering an opportunity to join our world-class practice and work “hands-on” from day one.
The success of this gap year program depends on the willingness of the applicant to learn and adapt while simultaneously applying, or preparing to apply to medical school. We work closely with the career centers and pre-health advising teams of high-ranking undergraduate institutions to procure the most qualified candidates. Recruiting primarily relies on undergraduate health careers offices from selected schools. After application review, online first-round video interviews are extended to suitable applicants. Soon after first-round interviews are conducted, VEC gap year committee members hand-pick fitting applicants for a final round of in-person/video interviews.
Once an applicant is selected, he or she is expected to join the practice soon after graduation. During the first 6-8 weeks, the gap year student will complete the required training under the guidance of certified ophthalmic technicians and scribes. Students within the program are able to participate in unique experiences such as learning from advanced peer mentors and given the opportunity to further education by completing certification training.
Clinical (5-Star) Experience
This patient engagement opportunity is designed to be of high educational value for pre-medical students committed to providing exceptional patient care. Future physicians are able to experience unique opportunities such as attending learning from advanced peer mentors; establishing strong mentor relationships with clinicians and providers, and an opportunity to continue education with furthering education courses taught by VEC staff. As a concierge practice, students will learn how a patient-centered practice operates. The environment of a private practice encourages a unique and steep learning curve that is facilitated by lateral support provided by gap year opportunity liaisons.
1. *No previous ophthalmic or clinical experience necessary to apply
2. Bachelor’s Degree prior to the start of the opportunity
3. Pre-medical requirements satisfied
4. Intention to matriculate in an MD/DO/PA program
5. Housing and travel expenses/arrangements are the responsibility of the applicant/student - no housing or travel arrangements provided by VEC
6. Proficiency with typing (prefer typing speed of 60-80 words a minute)
7. Strong ability to listen and interpret medical information
8. Assist with setting up and preparing procedures in the exam lane
9. Maintains physical environment of exam and procedure rooms. Cleans and stocks rooms daily and maintains an appropriate supply of sample drug medications as needed
10. Under the direction of a physician, may initiate prescription refills and records prescriptions in patients chart
11. Ability to interact with patients, visitors, and all personnel in a courteous manner
12. Conflict resolution, positive attitude, communication, organization, and leadership skills required.
13. Maintains confidentiality of information regarding patients and co-workers; demonstrates respect for individual, cultural, and social differences
14. Participate in own professional development by maintaining required competencies, identifying learning needs, and seeking appropriate assistance or educational offerings
15. Able to teach patients and families in accordance with the plan of care
16. Able to record activities, document assessments, plan of care, interventions, evaluation, and re-evaluation of patient status
17. Able to use a computer and learn new software programs
18. Working knowledge of infection control procedures and safety precautions
19. Perform other related duties incidental to the work described herein, or asked of, by a supervisor
How to Apply
Interested applicants may complete the VEC Gap Year Opportunity application found *HERE* and email firstname.lastname@example.org for further questions. We are so pleased that you are considering joining us during this important bridge year!