If you choose to volunteer or work in a non-healthcare related area, make sure you are also getting some shadowing hours (in a variety of specialties and healthcare areas). If you are able to get volunteer or work hours in a healthcare related area, you still need to shadow a variety of specialties and other healthcare areas. Direct-patient/direct-person experience is best: interact often with people of varying age ranges and abilities. Remember that:
- actually being interested and invested in something you’re passionate about is way more important than just volunteering because you have to get into a health professions school
- an experience that you have participated in for a longer time (years) is better than many different experiences that you’ve only done for a short time (weeks or months).
While the following is not an exhaustive list — and does not guarantee opportunities available — it is a starting point for ideas around the Kirksville/Northeast Missouri area. There are probably similar places near where you live as well.
SHADOW & VOLUNTEER IDEAS
- Northeast Regional Medical Center
- Nursing Homes & Assisted Living
- Adair County Health Department
- Chariton Valley Association
- Hospice of Northeast Missouri
- Preferred Family Healthcare
- NEMO Health Council· Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic
- Various doctor’s offices & clinics in and around Kirksville
- Take Root Café
- Hope’s Kitchen
- United Way—Adair County
- Red Cross (Internships)
- Kirksville Habitat for Humanity
- Childcare centers:
- Great Circle Kirksville
- NEMO Community Action Agency
- Victim Support Services
Healthcare-Related Work Options that Require Some Training (Education or On-The-Job):
- Research at Truman
- Make connections with professors that you would be interested in doing research with
Medical Missions Trips:
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER WHILE SHADOWING & VOLUNTEERING
- What is it like to be a health professional in this setting?
- What did I learn from this interaction with the patient/person about:
- the patient/person’s illness/issue?
- what’s going on in the patient/person’s life that may affect the illness/issue?
- the doctor-patient relationship?
- the importance of spending enough time with the patient/case?
- the importance of engaged listening without interruption?
- how the health professional reasons and makes decisions?
- What did I learn from the patient (not just about the patient)? What did the patient teach me?
- What did I learn about what it is really like to be a health professional?
Keep a reflective journal about all of your experiences. These reflections will be useful for applying to pre-health professions school as well as during admissions interviews.