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What extracurriculars/volunteer programs should I be doing for college (medical field)?

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#college #medical #medicine #doctor #premed
I am going to be a junior in high school this coming school year, and i was planning on trying to volunteer at several hospitals nearby. However, with COVID-19, hospitals are no longer accepting volunteers, so I am unsure of what extracurriculars or ways that I can volunteer that would be related to the medical field.

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9 answers

John’s Answer

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Ideally Charlotte, you should have a combination of shadowing and volunteering. Shadowing is usually short term but you'll able to see many different facets of medicine through different shadowing experiences. Volunteering allows you to demonstrate a commitment to service over time. It's usually a more active experience than shadowing, which tends to be more observation.

VOLUNTEERING AND SHADOWING

Remember to begin looking for clinical experience early. Some locations have wait-lists or extensive volunteer application/training processes, and it may take some time before you're able to begin your clinical experience. As you're contacting doctors to shadow or sites for potential clinical experience, be sure to let them know you're a pre-med/pre-health student, and explain why this experience will be important/relevant to you.

1.) ASK ANYONE AND EVERYONE – Most professionals are open to having students shadow them, probably because they remember what it was like trying to get a job shadowing experience. Be brave and ask!

• Ask your School Nurse
• Ask your Own Doctor

2.) ASK EARLY – Hospital policies regarding student observers vary and are usually buried on a deep, secret link on their website that you will never find on your own. Some will require a TB skin test, orientation, and background check, while others will allow you to simply walk right in. You will need to plan accordingly to determine how much leg work you’re going to have to do before you can start shadowing.

3.) DO YOUR HOMEWORK – Keep track of dates and hours, you'll likely be asked to supply that information, along with a contact person and phone number or email address for each experience you list on your application. Keep a journal about your experiences. The journal will not only help you in your decision-making process, it will help generate material for your personal statement and secondary application questions.

4.) SAY THANK YOU – Whether your experience with a particular provider was the best you’ve ever had or the worst, the nurse practitioner or other professional has taken time out of their day to host you, answer your questions, and teach you. A handshake at the end of the day is expected, but a well-written thank you card is the best way to show how grateful you are.

Hope this was Helpful Charlotte
Thank you so much this was really helpful! Charlotte Y. Translate
You are Welcome Charlotte, It was my Pleasure. John Frick Translate
Thank You Jordan. “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — William Shakespeare John Frick Translate
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Yasemin’s Answer

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Hi Charlotte! So as a high school student, you can volunteer generally, it doesn't have to be medical field oriented as long as you are finding things you are passionate about. I only say this because you still have time to branch off into the medical field. In college you can choose medical volunteering known as clinical which is very important in order to get into medical school, in addition with non-clinical volunteering. Volunteering is seen favorable overall, in order to strengthen your college applications you should definitely do some volunteer work, but being 16 can limit your opportunities in the medical field. Hopefully once you begin college you can choose to volunteer in the hospital or any type of clinical work that exposes you to patients. For now I would choose things that you like and work with that, if you can find something in the clinical aspect that would work as well. As a high school student I use to be part of Pass-It-Along for instance, it was a club at our school and a larger organization in N.J. We did a variety of things like sew pillowcases for children in the hospital who were diagnosed with cancer, we planted a garden to help bring fruits and vegetables to individuals facing financial distress and made lunch boxes to be passed out in a soup kitchen. These were just some things we did but it really helped me give back to the community. That being said you can keep your options broad and just give back to the community then when you are in college and more of age you can join a hospital to volunteer and work with patients.

With the COVID situation colleges are going to understand that times are tough, be sure to keep yourself and loved ones safe as staying home helps curb the virus and help our healthcare professionals who are working hard. However you can still volunteer remotely as well, I would recommend checking out Points of Light or Operation Warm. They are volunteer organizations and there are some remote opportunities, one even has an opportunity to send letters or online messages to nursing home residents- something related to medicine especially with seniors being lonely in these times. In addition you can also check with your guidance counselor because even students in your school or nearby community may need help.

Best of luck!!

Yasemin recommends the following next steps:

  • Check out Pointsoflight.org
  • Check out Operationwarm.org
Thank you so much! I will definitely check out Points of Light and Operation Warmth! Charlotte Y. Translate
You're welcome! Good luck! Yasemin G. Translate
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Richard’s Answer

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Try to find opportunities to pursue research.

Volunteer at your local hospital or low-income clinic. Ask physicians, PAs or other clinical providers if you can shadow them.

I have 3 sons who are premed college students. Due to COVID, their research projects were put on hold. Without summer research lab, they have chosen different routes. 2 of them are obtaining their EMT certification and the other has found an online research project analyzing data that was obtained through community interviews before the pandemic.
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Mary’s Answer

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Hi Charlotte,

I was also not able to volunteer at my usual site because of COVID but I found that a lot of churches are hosting events that help the community such as making plastic gowns, face masks, or collecting donations. I was able to find opportunities this way by researching local churches in my area and by also joining their Facebook pages.

Hope this helps!

Mary
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Ramona’s Answer

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Hi Charlotte. Its great that you are thinking of this already as a Junior. Volunteering can take many forms. As others have indicated, COVID has changed the dynamics as it comes to volunteering. There are still some opportunities to volunteer. My state, Michigan, has a website that lists volunteer opportunities related to COVID. Please check if your state has something similar. Also, consider helping out a critical worker by running errands, providing child care and/or sending encouragement letters. Good luck with your search.
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Blake’s Answer

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Hey Charlotte,

I think it would be worth looking at other volunteering opportunities that aren't in the medical field. You might not get the medical field learning that you had hoped, but you still get to show that you volunteered your time to help others.

Thanks,
Blake
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Anne’s Answer

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Hi, there. Great question!

I would see if you can find any jobs that could be done in a medical clinic or hospital. A lot of offices have laid off people, and there may be an opportunity for part-time work vs. full time work. I would schedule a time to speak with your personal physician and see if they need help filing, etc.

Also, you could look on You Tube and find videos about what it is like to work in the medical field. I would research on Netflix, too. You may have to seek 'virtual' experiences right now, but you are still gaining insights and knowledge.
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Diante’s Answer

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VA Hospital is always looking for help. It’s a fast pace working environment where a volunteer can get a lot of broad experience
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Anne’s Answer

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Hi, there. Great question!

I would see if you can find any jobs that could be done in a medical clinic or hospital. A lot of offices have laid off people, and there may be an opportunity for part-time work vs. full time work. I would schedule a time to speak with your personal physician and see if they need help filing, etc.

Also, you could look on You Tube and find videos about what it is like to work in the medical field. I would research on Netflix, too. You may have to seek 'virtual' experiences right now, but you are still gaining insights and knowledge.
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