In order for you to know whether or not you really want a career in healthcare, you need to try it on for size first. Volunteering, job shadowing and part-time or temporary employment are all good ways to get an up-close view of the workplace and demands of the field. You’ll learn from others and these experiences will look great on your professional school application and your resume.
When you go to your professional school interview, you will be asked why you want to join that particular profession. You will need to be well-armed to talk about your personal experiences, how you gained insight to the field, and have an understanding and proficiency in several different health-related practices.
Now is the time to find opportunities where you will be able to observe, volunteer, participate and/or work in a variety of endeavors.
On Your Own
You are strongly encouraged to seek opportunities that are available to everyone. Professional school admissions officers will be looking for your involvement in:
- Food bank or soup kitchen volunteer
- Community clinics and health fairs
- Coaching kids
- Crisis hotlines for domestic violence, suicide prevention, runaway teens, etc.
- Summer camp counselor, including camps for kids with medical conditions
- School district after school, day camp, tutoring, or other programs
- Hospitals and rehabilitation clinics
- Community parks and recreation departments, sports and day camp programs
- Sunday school teaching
- Day care/child care/nanny
- Senior center/nursing home volunteer
- Community/highway clean-up
- Scouting, especially senior levels of achievement
- Pet shelters, humane societies, and veterinary clinics
- Volunteer/fundraising for charities such as:
- Habitat for Humanity
- Meals on Wheels
- March of Dimes
- Relay for Life
- The MS Walk
- American Red Cross
- United Way
- YMCA or YWCA
- Or other health or human welfare charities
Experience on the Palouse
Join your favorite health professions club, many of which have public service activities. Each specializes in its own career area and offers you a chance to become involved. Develop your leadership skills by participating in such activities as blood drives, health-related seminars and fairs, or fundraising for charities.
Seek out experiences specific to health-related careers. See your Health Professions Student Center advisor for specific contact information and application procedures for job experiences. Plan to apply for these experiences early in the semester or even during the semester prior to when you’d like to participate.
Hospital/Medical Volunteer Opportunities
- Pullman Regional Hospital Volunteer Office
Work on-site at the local hospital or participate in NARAP research program. You must be at least a sophomore with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, complete an application and a 1.5 hr. hospital orientation, pass your TB test and a background check, and provide a recommendation from an advisor. Applications are accepted three times per year.
- Gritman Hospital Volunteer Office
Work on-site at the local hospital in Moscow, Idaho (8 miles east of Pullman). Additionally, the hospital’s Education Department offers First Aid and CPR courses for adults and pediatrics once per month and Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers, which is required to work in most hospitals. Having a BLS certificate prior to pursuing a Certified Nursing Assistant certificate is desirable. The Education Department also offers several Certified Nursing Assistant courses per year, mainly during the academic year. The CNA program costs approximately $1,100, depending on prior certifications and texts needed. Courses often start in early September and again in January when university classes resume.
- Whitman Hospital and Medical Center
WHMC offers a Job Shadow program for positions employed at the hospital: nursing, laboratory, imaging, cardiopulmonary, therapy services. Other departments may be included or excluded based on specific request and may have limited hours available. Physician Job Shadow is not provided. Participants must be actively enrolled in university classes. Potential participants will submit an application and attend a brief orientation program. Participants will provide documentation of current immunizations and a negative TB test based on type of Job Shadow requested. Contact the Whitman Hospital and Medical Center Clinical Educator, Pat Howard, at 509-397-3435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Cancer Internship Course
Contact the Moscow Cancer Resource Center or the Pullman Cancer Resource Center for information on this unique opportunity offered in conjunction with Gritman Medical Center and University of Idaho. This course is offered as a credited program through the UI psychological tudies curriculum. The instructor is a Nanotech/Cancer Researcher in the Dr. Rod Hill / Sr. Mark Yama lab. The course outline includes providing the student with a greater understanding of the psychological and biological sides of cancer, the challenges of providing cancer care locally, as well as one-on-one interaction with cancer patients. There are also guest lecturers, movie assignments, interaction with cancer care-givers and cancer medical professionals. Students participate in the classroom and as a volunteer in the Cancer Resource Center with training by both the American Cancer Society and Gritman Medical Center.
- St. Luke’s Rehabilitation
Volunteers are a vital part of St. Luke’s mission to provide excellence in physical rehabilitative care. Our vibrant volunteer community includes individuals of all ages who are committed to helping those who are recovering from a physical event or injury. If you’re 16 or older, and are looking for a meaningful volunteering opportunity, you’ve come to the right place. Our amazing volunteers play a meaningful role as Receptionists, Clerical Assistants, Hospitality Aides, Patient Activity Assistants and more.
- Other local organizations
- Whitman Hospital, Colfax
- CHAS Free Clinics: Moscow, Lewiston, Spokane.
- Planned Parenthood, Pullman
- American Red Cross, Inland NW Chapter
- Inland Northwest Blood Center
- Avalon Care Center
- Bishop Place Senior Living
- Whitman Senior Living Community
- Good Samaritan Village, Moscow
- Palouse Medical
- Pullman Family Medicine
- Pullman Vision Source
- Total Health Physician Group
- WSU Health and Wellness: CHAT Program, Counseling & Student Health Advisory Committee
- Palouse Care Network client advocates
Dental Opportunities: Ask your pre-dental advisor for details.
Physical and Occupational Therapy Opportunities:
- Summit Therapy, Pullman Regional Hospital
- Therapy Solutions, Gritman Hospital, Moscow
- Proformance Physical Therapy (PT only)
- Brighton Rehabilitation
- Moscow Mountain Sport & Physical Therapy
- Whitman Hospital Therapy Services, Colfax
- Elements of Wellness Aquatic & Manual Therapy, Moscow
- Palouse Area Therapeutic Horsemanship Program (PATH)
- Washington Occupational Therapy Association job shadow opportunities
- University of Washington Division of Occupational Therapy volunteer site list
Veterinary Medicine Opportunities:
- WSU College of Veterinary Medicine
- Palouse Area Therapeutic Horsemanship Program (PATH)
- Whitman County Humane Society (Pullman)
- Humane Society of the Palouse (Moscow)
- Rustebakke Veterinary Service (Clarkston)
- Colton Veterinary Service (Colton)
- Palouse Animal Wellness & Surgery Center (Moscow)
- Affordable Veterinary Care (Moscow)
- Cedar Veterinary Hospital (Moscow)
- Evergreen Veterinary Clinic (Pullman)
Community Service Opportunities:
- cougsync.org (volunteer opportunities exclusive to Cougs)
- Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse
- WSU Center for Civic Engagement
- WSU Children’s Center
- Community Action Center: Food Bank, etc.
- Disability Action Center Northwest, Inc. (Moscow)
- Families Together (Moscow)
- Planned Parenthood of the Inland NW (Pullman)
- Whitman County Health Department
- YMCA of the Palouse
- YWCA Emergency Services (Lewiston)
Away from Campus
During the summers or at Thanksgiving break, semester break or spring break, check with your local churches or Red Cross for opportunities to gain experiences. These organizations often provide health-related emergency response trips to disaster areas around our nation and world.
Contact International Programs or attend a Cougs Abroad session for more information and options.