Center for Academic Excellence

Shadowing, Volunteering, and Employment


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:

  1. 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
  2. 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.





Healthcare-Related Work Options that Require Some Training (Education or On-The-Job):


  • ATSU
  • Research at Truman
  • Make connections with professors that you would be interested in doing research with

International Medical Trips:


  • 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.

Still unsure where to start. Check out these Local Shadowing Opportunities in Kirksville [PDF].