PinkIvy08

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I just finished a post-bacc program and moved back home. I currently have a PT job and am desperately searching for a FT job to pay bills, get health insurance, blah blah blah. In the meantime, I have been trying to volunteer locally. Here’s what I’m running into…

1) UMDNJ is right down the street (literally). Consequently, they run most of the clinics and hospitals in the area. So, I call up some local clinics about my desire to volunteer with them, at which point I am re-directed to UMDNJ volunteer services. They then tell me that they only accept volunteers that need to volunteer for course credit, not for people just wanting to help out. [insert blank stare] There goes half of the volunteer opps in the area.
2) Another big hospital is in the area. However, they aren’t even accepting volunteer applications until September.
3) Searching through my alumni directory of physicians in the area, 85% work for either UMDNJ or the aforementioned hospital…so I can’t even shadow them (and only the non-UMDNJ ones) until September.
4) Before leaving my post-bacc, I signed up with a program for volunteering in clinics. However, with roughly 200-300 people in this program, and only about 10 slots open per week, scheduling is on a first-come, first-get basis. Since the weekly emails are sent out sporadically, it has basically boiled down to those with Blackberries or iPhones get the open spots. Needless to say, after 2 months, I have yet to be able to volunteer with them. Plus, it’s really far (i.e. gas money) for someone without a job…
5) I have been calling around and have been turned down left and right for shadowing.
6) There are two other hospitals in the area, but as far as the volunteer opportunities, it seems to be along the lines of work in the gift shop or delivering mail or working the info desk. I know beggars can’t be choosers, but…can I get something more hands-on?

I guess I’ve been spoiled from undergrad and them providing us links into their hospitals. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can either shadow physicians in the area or gain a meaningful volunteer experience?

Any advice/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Perhaps fellow Jersians might know of some opportunities to serve in the area.

Thanks!
 

RaginRajon

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I ran into just about the same problem as you when I returned home after graduating from college. There were 3 hospitals nearby and 2 refused to allow volunteers do anything other than "gift shop duty", 1 only allowed students from Tufts to volunteer.
I found a great volunteer job in the ER by asking other pre-meds in my hometown where they volunteer. It is a little further away from home than I would like (30 minute commute), but the clinical experience is great. Are there any of your hometown friends pre-med? If they have been back home longer than you, maybe they have found something.

Best of luck to you!
 

Kaustikos

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Try volunteering outside of a hospital/clinic. Despite what people may say, you don't HAVE to volunteer in a hospital/clinic. You can do this gig until you land another volunteer gig at a hospital clinic. I KNOW there are places that will gladly take volunteers outside of a hospital. So you DO have options.
 
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PinkIvy08

PinkIvy08

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Sadly, I don't know anyone around here who is pre-med. But, as Kaustikos suggested, I might just try volunteering somewhere else. I mean, I've worked in an ER this past semester and I've shadowed before and volunteered in hospitals before, I just thought that since I seem to have so much free time on my hands I could either be helping others out or shadowing a new type of doctor.

I'm going to keep searching for opps in the area though.

Any people in Jersey know of anything? (I know this is a stretch...lol)
 

Jolt21

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Sadly, I don't know anyone around here who is pre-med. But, as Kaustikos suggested, I might just try volunteering somewhere else. I mean, I've worked in an ER this past semester and I've shadowed before and volunteered in hospitals before, I just thought that since I seem to have so much free time on my hands I could either be helping others out or shadowing a new type of doctor.

I'm going to keep searching for opps in the area though.

Any people in Jersey know of anything? (I know this is a stretch...lol)
why volunteer in a hospital? just go to the boys&girls club or YMCA and volunteer there...or something along those lines. don't you think volunteering is best served where people need it most? i'm pretty sure there is SOME program designated to help kids get off the streets in NJ (Camden is the 3rd most dangerous city in the US!). obviously the hospitals dont need your help, so go somewhere where your services are needed.
 

Jolt21

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but also, from the way it sounds, you should worry more about getting some sort of regular job to pay bills. the real world is a b****. go look in a mall or something. your application isn't already in, just find a way to pay those bills. the application process will only bring on more debt...
 

redlight

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for clinical volunteering you could try finding a hospice. i think you could also search online for opps. at the very least, they should be more opportunities once the fall semester/quarter beckons

but yeah getting a job should be priority numero uno. for that, i'd say check around universities, hospitals, etc. (try online)
 

acridknight

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there are always ways to get around the red tape. remember, the clinics/ schools aren't always open to get naive premeds in there (not to say that you are naive... just speaking generally).

try to get a relationship going with a physician in the hospital (eg. initially by working on a research project with him) or get a private practice physician to introduce you to a physician at the bigger institution (assuming that the private practice environment is not your ideal shadowing location).

it's all about networking, people skills, and more networking. this is the little gem that I'd wish undergrad schools would stress more; working with/ shadowing someone is more about the relationship and trust that is present, rather than the bureaucratic loops that you've jumped through.:cool:
 

Trexate

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You could try volunteering for an organization aimed at helping people with specific illnesses.

For example, I volunteer for Why Me, Inc. It's an organization aimed at helping kids with cancer. They're always looking for volunteers and have ties to the local hospital. If you found something like that in your area you could use the ties to the hospital to get your foot in the door.

Everyone wants free help. Don't get discouraged because you can't get in to a big hospital. Personally, some of the most meaningful experiences I've had volunteering are with the smaller groups.
 

bunnity

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Why not get a full time paying job in a hospital? That would fix the job issue and the experience issue, right?

Then you could do some non-hospital related volunteering elsewhere, if you wanted.
 

Omni

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Is St. Michaels the other hospital? haha
Also, you can find a first aid squad to volunteer in if you're willing to put in the time/effort to become a member.
 
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PinkIvy08

PinkIvy08

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I have applied to at least 50+ jobs in the area, ranging in locations from universities to hospitals to gov't jobs to research positions...just no luck so far - this recession is making it difficult. I agree that my best bet would be to get a FT job at a hospital...it's just not looking likely.

About the networking...outside of my primary care physician (who isn't even good) I really don't know anyone. None of my friends' parents are doctors, there are no doctors in my family, and there aren't any in my community, but I think I'm just going to keep cold calling docs - someone's eventually got to say yes! and then I'll take it from there with the networking

I think I'm going to first look into hospices in the area and orgs that work with people with a specific illness.

Thank you all so much for suggestions!

And lol @ the Camden comment! It is a terrible city...I live no where near it though.

ps - St. Michaels isn't the other one...it's RWJ