How difficult is it to get into a volunteer position at a large hospital?

V781

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Dec 4, 2013
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I was surprised a few years back when I realized volunteer positions required an application and references. I ended up getting a paying job then and didn't consider volunteering until now. I asked my bio professor -last day of class- if I could use him as a reference. He said sure and asked if I had talked with the tutor..he said she was volunteering at kaiser (where I would like to go) and that he had written her her recommendation letter. I said I didn't think I would need a letter and he said "good luck".

How difficult is it really to get one of these positions?? Is there anything I should do to ensure I get the volunteering position? I don't want a letter from the professor because I was only with him for a three month quarter...and though I'm getting an A and participated in class, I couldn't expect anything too wonderful.
 
Jun 18, 2010
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I don't think it's difficult. You fill out an application and then have a meeting/interview with the director of the department. You might not be able to get a position you'd like (such as ER) right from the beginning. So you might have to hang out somewhere else, while you get to know some people and a place in ER opens up.
 

Goro

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Jun 10, 2010
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Not all volunteering needs to be in a hospital. Think hospice, nursing homes, rehab facilities, camps for sick children, or clinics. Check out your local houses of worship for volunteer opportunities, too.


How difficult is it really to get one of these positions?? Is there anything I should do to ensure I get the volunteering position? I don't want a letter from the professor because I was only with him for a three month quarter...and though I'm getting an A and participated in class, I couldn't expect anything too wonderful.[/quote]
 
Apr 23, 2013
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Medical Student
I was surprised a few years back when I realized volunteer positions required an application and references. I ended up getting a paying job then and didn't consider volunteering until now. I asked my bio professor -last day of class- if I could use him as a reference. He said sure and asked if I had talked with the tutor..he said she was volunteering at kaiser (where I would like to go) and that he had written her her recommendation letter. I said I didn't think I would need a letter and he said "good luck".

How difficult is it really to get one of these positions?? Is there anything I should do to ensure I get the volunteering position? I don't want a letter from the professor because I was only with him for a three month quarter...and though I'm getting an A and participated in class, I couldn't expect anything too wonderful.
Couple of things:

For a volunteer position, references don't have to be professors. If anything current and former supervisors for actual jobs are better. So given that you're posting in the nontrad forum, and have presumably worked for a while, you can probably use both supervisors and coworkers. And you only need a letter if the org asks for one. Do they? You don't seem sure. Do your research for that org and then figure out what you have to do.

Second, it's generally not 'hard' to become a volunteer in the competitive sense, you just have to jump through a bunch of paperwork hoops and be flexible because as a new volunteer the shifts you want may not be available.
 

stlrams22

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Jun 1, 2011
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I was surprised a few years back when I realized volunteer positions required an application and references. I ended up getting a paying job then and didn't consider volunteering until now. I asked my bio professor -last day of class- if I could use him as a reference. He said sure and asked if I had talked with the tutor..he said she was volunteering at kaiser (where I would like to go) and that he had written her her recommendation letter. I said I didn't think I would need a letter and he said "good luck".

How difficult is it really to get one of these positions?? Is there anything I should do to ensure I get the volunteering position? I don't want a letter from the professor because I was only with him for a three month quarter...and though I'm getting an A and participated in class, I couldn't expect anything too wonderful.
I was equally surprised when I tried to volunteer at hospitals. The rudeness of the local two hospitals I contacted surprised me and I decided to volunteer somewhere else. I thought hospitals would be happy to have all the volunteers they could get. I'm from a larger area with several universities so they probably had lots of premeds. Like Goro said, there are many other ways to volunteer in a healthcare related way without being in a hospital. The volunteer experience I ended up getting had nothing at all to do with healthcare.
 

cutemom2012

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Nov 12, 2013
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I filled out an application to volunteer at a large hospital and 2 weeks later, started my volunteer work in the ER. If you don't try, you won't know!
 
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Dec 11, 2013
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Think hospice, nursing homes, rehab facilities, camps for sick children, or clinics. Check out your local houses of worship for volunteer opportunities, too.
 
Sep 9, 2013
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I just started volunteering at a large university hospital. They do several volunteer "cycles" each year.

I did need one LOR - I asked my boss. We also had to see our own PCPs for vaccines/titers (including the new TB blood draw, which is $$) and submit to a background check and urine screen. The volunteer director explained to us that Jefferson used to do all of this in house, but too many volunteers weren't fulfilling their commitment or not showing up at all (you "sign up" for a minimum of 100 hours.)

The process took me about a month, counting appointments and waiting for each step of the game. We then attended a 1 hour orientation, then shadowed a current volunteer in the area, and then started off with 1 or 2 four hour blocks weekly.
 

mcloaf

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Jan 21, 2012
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I just started volunteering at a large university hospital. They do several volunteer "cycles" each year.

I did need one LOR - I asked my boss. We also had to see our own PCPs for vaccines/titers (including the new TB blood draw, which is $$) and submit to a background check and urine screen. The volunteer director explained to us that Jefferson used to do all of this in house, but too many volunteers weren't fulfilling their commitment or not showing up at all (you "sign up" for a minimum of 100 hours.)

The process took me about a month, counting appointments and waiting for each step of the game. We then attended a 1 hour orientation, then shadowed a current volunteer in the area, and then started off with 1 or 2 four hour blocks weekly.
This was my experience as well. Getting the position isn't difficult in the sense of being competitive, but it can take a while to get all the front-end paperwork and orientation done. If you have time to deal with that you'll be fine.
 
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V781

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Dec 4, 2013
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I sent the application in to Kaiser on Monday and have not yet heard back...

I'm shocked to hear I might need a letter of recommendation.
 
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V781

5+ Year Member
Dec 4, 2013
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Pre-Medical
So yes, I received an email for an interview and they ask for letters of recommendation. I honestly don't have anyone to ask. I had figured I could use this volunteering position for experience and for finding references...