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Make a Difference

Why Volunteer?

What you get

Serving the Elderly

Internships and volunteer opportunities are one of the best ways to "try out" different careers in healthcare. You'll see first-hand what it's like to work in a hospital, clinic or human services area. Watch what's going on around you and ask the people you meet about their day-to-day work activities and how they like their jobs. They can help you decide whether to pursue a career further or to go down a different path to a health career you may not have considered before! By volunteering, you can:

  • Apply classroom lessons in real-world work environments
  • Meet requirements for admission to programs such as nursing and radiologic technology
  • Find mentors who can help guide you in your career decisions and write recommendation letters
  • Connect with your community and use your skills in a productive way
  • Meet good people and build a network of professional contacts
  • Feel good about yourself, and impress your family and others
Making a hospital bed

What you do

Depending on your age and interests, volunteer opportunities and internships may include office duties, visiting with patients, or question and referral. Even if the opportunity does not have much direct patient contact, you can still learn a lot about working in health care settings by watching and talking with the professionals you meet on the job. You can even get valuable experience outside of healthcare by volunteering with communities and populations that are served by your local healthcare institutions.

What you give

As you can see, the details vary from one place to the next. The most important point to remember is that the experience will only be as valuable as what you put into it. With that in mind, plan on committing a significant amount of time to your volunteer opportunity. Most internships or volunteer sites ask their volunteers to commit to several hours each week over the summer, or for fewer hours each week over a period of six months or more during the school year.

Read more

To learn more about the value of volunteering, read this article entitled Start Your Health Career While You're Still in School.

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