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WSU Health Professions Student Center Gaining experience

Gaining experience through job shadowing

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:

Virtual volunteering opportunities during COVID-19:
Operation Warm
has a list of 25 ways to volunteer virtually invites volunteers to provide online tutoring to “bridge gaps in language, higher education, and professional skills training for conflict-affected individuals”’s nine places to volunteer online and make a real impact

  • 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
  • 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.

Dental Opportunities:  Ask your pre-dental advisor for details.

Pharmacy Opportunities:

Physical and Occupational Therapy Opportunities:

Veterinary Medicine Opportunities:


Community Service Opportunities:

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.

International Trips

Contact International Programs or attend a Cougs Abroad session for more information and options.

Hearts In Motion (See also WSU’s annual faculty-led trip)

International Service Learning

CAPA International Education

Child Family Health International

Unite for Sight

GAP Medics International Summer Camps

Peace Corps

Fulbright Summer Institutes