Junior Member
10+ Year Member
May 6, 2006
Post Doc
I'm just wondering if you could give me a sense of opportunities exist aside from the administrative (secretarial), receptionist (directing people, giving them blankets) and assistant (photocopying, etc.) roles. And how does one move up from the three previous positions to something that is more challenging and less repetitive?

I'm just curious if such a possibility exists to do something other than those 3. I recognize that those three roles provide you an opportunity to glimpse into the inner workings of the health care system, but after a year, more or less, it sorta gets tedious. Perhaps switching departments might be helpful?


Walkin' on Sunshine
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 4, 2006
East coast-ish
Medical Student

You really get to know your patients, and you get to help the nurses when they come visit. Yes, you do have to deal with the fact that those you get attached to are near the end of their life, but it's part of medicine and something we have to learn how to deal with.

I highly recommend it, it's been a great experience!


10+ Year Member
Aug 1, 2006
I have had two hospital volunteering positions that have been more interesting than what you listed. The first was in a very impoverished HIV clinic. I started out doing a lot of filing, but after meeting with some of the patients and talking about their needs, I wound up putting together a support group for HIV positive former prisoners. I think usually in poorly funded clinics, you can do more as a volunteer than in fancy hospitals because the staff really needs the help, so it's definitely worth looking into. The second experience, which I am still doing, is as a surgical liaison in a hospital. I keep families company while they wait, but I am also able to spend a lot of time comforting patients in the recovery room, which is pretty interesting. I think many hospitals have these positions for volunteers, especially pre-meds. So definitely you can find something better than making copies or answering phones if you do some searching. Good luck!

Igni Fera

I volunteer at a large teaching hospital. There's all sorts of positions to work in there. I am signed up in a few different departments doing different things in each - patient escort, surgical waiting area, neurosurgery, and ER patient liason.

In patient escort, I help move patients from ICUs to tests or step-down units, from recovery to rooms, discharge, etc. I see lots of patients in many states for brief moments in time, often with little info about them unless I can sneak a glance at their charts.

In SWA, its like the post above called surgical liason. I hang out in the waiting area with pt families and pass on info that comes in from docs, recovery, OR, etc. Very high paced, multi-tasking kind of position in this busy hospital. Its fun to be a positive in what is a big negative in many people's day (waiting for surgery to be over).

I just transferred to Neuro, and I've only worked one shift so far. Its during 9 to 5 hours which makes it hard with me starting a new job next week. Office work, but with the real possibility of getting in with a surgeon for research, shadowing, etc...

On Sunday, I train to work in the ER! Wahoo! My roll is to make sure patients and family are comfortable - water, food, drinks, etc. I am not exactly sure what else, but I think the more I make myself useful to the nurses, the better my chances of doing something with the patients.

Hope this gives some ideas. All hospital are different. Mine has a very big volunteer dept. Maybe try talking with your volunteer coordinator about other options... :luck:
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