Sep 14, 2010
266
1
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I've been trying to get started on this lately have been browsing the websites of hospitals trying to get in touch with volunteer departments and coordinators. Most of the time the process is electronic and I'm having a lot of difficulty getting in touch with a real person on the phone. Is it usually this difficult to get your foot in the door for a volunteer position? I understand they want you to jump throuh some hoops so they get people who are committed but I'm a little surprised that its so difficult to get unpaid work. I'm trying not to sound embittered, but how long does it usually take to hear back from a hospital or health clinic about this kind of thing?

I'm also unsure if the fact that I'm 22, have a BA, and mostly experience in research is making them a little dubious of me. Local volunteering, to me, seems like a juvenile activity for to be engaging in post undergrad (I know this is a horrible attitude to have, and I haven't let it show, but its how I feel at the moment).
 
Jan 5, 2010
884
3
Status
Pre-Medical
I've been trying to get started on this lately have been browsing the websites of hospitals trying to get in touch with volunteer departments and coordinators. Most of the time the process is electronic and I'm having a lot of difficulty getting in touch with a real person on the phone. Is it usually this difficult to get your foot in the door for a volunteer position? I understand they want you to jump throuh some hoops so they get people who are committed but I'm a little surprised that its so difficult to get unpaid work. I'm trying not to sound embittered, but how long does it usually take to hear back from a hospital or health clinic about this kind of thing?

I'm also unsure if the fact that I'm 22, have a BA, and mostly experience in research is making them a little dubious of me. Local volunteering, to me, seems like a juvenile activity for to be engaging in post undergrad (I know this is a horrible attitude to have, and I haven't let it show, but its how I feel at the moment).

Why don't you look into getting a clinical job then, if the idea of helping people without monetary reward strikes you as juvenile?



I think this is greatly variable by the hospital, I heard back within a few days. I doubt your age matters, lots of people OF ALL AGES LIKE TO HELP PEOPLE FOR FREE. I know at my place, the er has a volunteer 24/7, people are clambering even to get the 1am-4am shift, so its not like they are exactly desperate for your help.
 
OP
B
Sep 14, 2010
266
1
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I'm not looking to get into an argument. I want to volunteer. I am just not sure if this is a good way to go about starting. Its not so much at all that the idea of volunteering strikes me as juvenile, its that I feel that the bulk of volunteers will be high school and college students and I'll be awkwardly sticking out like a sore thumb? I don't know if that makes any sense.

What I'm more interested is in how competitive the process is. Are there typically long waitlists that I may need to wait a few weeks for them to get back to me? I apologize if I came off as jaded about the proccess, I'm just wondering if unanswered emails and phone calls are the norm or if I'm doing something horribly wrong.

"Getting a clinical job" is immensely difficult without clinical experience; a basic science degree won't cut it, and I like my part time research job. I'm just looking for the opportunity to get my foot in the door for clinical work, and to see if its something I find fulfilling.
 

FrkyBgStok

10+ Year Member
Aug 7, 2005
4,730
600
Midwest
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Resident [Any Field]
some hospitals are an incredible pain to volunteer in. I work in one now but the volunteering application for it was way more than i thought was necessary for free labor. and it isn't about the working for free duck, it is the fact that all of the hours and money i spent watching videos, filling out paperwork, updating vaccines, taking online tests, becoming CPR certified, traveling to and from the hospital various times over various days to meet with someone else, and the specific clothing required was a little overboard so i could wipe down kids used toys and walk from room to room in pediatrics asking if they needed a video to watch. and that is seriously the most a volunteer can do. the hospital made me go through the same hoops in order to shadow a physician for no more than 40 hours, and I was already a hospital employee.

so yes OP. i know where you are coming from. the only thing I can say is either try to find a different clinic or hospital to volunteer, or keep jumping through the hoops.
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
10+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2006
32,292
11,884
Camp SDN: The Place for Summer Fun
watching videos, filling out paperwork, updating vaccines, taking online tests, becoming CPR certified, traveling to and from the hospital various times over various days to meet with someone else, and the specific clothing required was a little overboard
Not to mention the two-step TB skin test and possibly a chicken pox titer, as well as the two-day orientation session only offered twice a semester on week days. Hospitals can have very rigid expectations about attendance that don't allow for finals week and school breaks when you're likely to be away from campus.

Why not try at a local nursing home and ask for a spot on the Alzheimer's unit. They tend to be much less fussy about their requirements.
 

emc0105

7+ Year Member
May 12, 2009
39
0
Status
Pre-Medical
You could try looking for specific programs within the hospital, as especially with large university hospitals, there are many different opportunities that recruit separately (Childlife, Arts in Medicine, etc.). Also, as opposed to calling or e-mailing you could try going to the volunteer office in person. There may be positions available but volunteer coordinators are just too busy to return the calls of every interested party.

Also, your age and experience could come in handy. You'll likely come off as more mature than many of the other volunteers and hopefully be more confident in approaching doctors and asking if you can observe procedures. Not all hospital positions relegate you to making up stretchers and stocking shelves. I've found (in the past 4 years of being a volunteer in FL and NYC hospitals) the experience largely depends on the effort you put into it more than the specifics of the program.