Medical student featured in Aspiring Docs series

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The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine has a reputation for welcoming nontraditional medical students onto the MCV Campus. One of them is the Class of 2017′s Clay Downey, whose inspiring story has been featured by the Association of American Medical Colleges in its Aspiring Docs series.

The AAMC website proclaims: “Clay had a business degree, no science prerequisites, and no experience in a health care setting, but he decided to pursue a career in medicine anyway.”

The feature got its start when the AAMC put out a call for nontraditional applicants to tell their stories. Downey saw it and volunteered.

“I thought it would be a great opportunity to share my thoughts about the process,” he said. “I wasn’t sure if my story could apply to others out there, so I went ahead and gave it a shot.”

The AAMC’s web feature takes the form of a Q&A in which Downey talks about what sparked his interest in medicine and how he took it “one step at a time” on the challenging path to prepare to apply and enter medical school.

“I think being a nontraditional pre-med applicant and waiting to take classes later turned out to be a huge advantage,” Downey told the AAMC. “I already had a degree in business administration, so I was able to schedule only the classes that interested me. I tried to put together classes that fed into each other (i.e., physiology and anatomy), and I think it gave me a much stronger foundation coming into medical school than if I needed to work other classes into my schedule.”

Downey’s process interested the AAMC so much that they worked with him on a second story about his experiences as a medical scribe.

“I worked as an emergency department scribe for two years before medical school,” Downey said. “This was the perfect job for me because it gave me incredible exposure to the day-to-day life of a physician and really reaffirmed my decision to go to medical school.”


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