Type of volunteer work

I may have an opportunity to volunteer at one of two hospitals, but I do not know which one to pick. At one I will transport patients from their rooms to some department, like x-ray. At the other, I would be in the ER. Now the ER sounds exciting right? But I think I will not have any real direct patient contact, except maybe in fetching them a blanket, or other such stuff. My guess is that it will be mostly clean-up type stuff. I will find out more later on next week.
With transport, I would get a chance to talk to patients, but in ER I may see more trauma, but would not be able to participate. I’ve done a rotation in the ER for my EMT certification, so I know a bit of what is going on there.
What type of experience would schools like to see? I would be interested in your thoughts, suggestions, and in any experience or insights you have in this area.


Especially since you have done health-care related work, you are free to choose a volunteer activity that means the most to you. Which of these opportunities is likely to make you most enthusiastic? Which would provide you with the inspiration for an animated essay or discussion?
I can’t speak for all schools or all interviewers, but I know my perspective as an interviewer at GWU covered a few basic things:
1, have you had SOME exposure to the health care system? paid or volunteer, I wanted candidates to show me that they had some realistic notion of what they might be getting into
2, have you done things out of a sense of duty/ responsibility to your community? It could be Meals on Wheels, Boy Scouts, or the SPCA shelter for all I care. It’s the interest in community that I am looking for.
3, have your paid and volunteer activities given you an appreciation for working with people, caring for them? (and i mean caring in the most global sense as opposed to specific health care-related activities)
For many people, volunteering in a health care facility can accomplish more than one of these goals. But I strongly advise you to choose the thing that appeals to YOU the most, not the thing that “looks best.” Schools see a huge variety of achievements in all sorts of areas; trying to figure out what they’d like best is really not worth bothering with!

Mary is “right on” with her reply. Choose the opportunity that will give you the most satisfaction. Then, when you are interviewing and are discussing it, your enthusiasm will be obvious.
See you in Washington!

I hear ya, and thanks, but I find it will be hard to show enthusiasm as a 'gofer', which is what these jobs really are. I took the ER position, but now I wonder if I'm doing the right thing: could my time be better spent elsewhere, what other options are there…
I have little experience as an EMT because I just could not sit in a fire house for four hours doing nothing as we all waited for a call to come in. I went on one call in six months - good grief. I could not study in the fire house because of the setup, so I basically dropped it. Would it be worth trying this again as well? Those of you who were EMTs, how did you handle the long hours of doing nothing? I really love the idea of being an EMT, but it just is not in me to sit and sit and sit and sit… Thoughts, suggestions?

I agree with the other responses you got regarding which volunteer option to choose. I volunteer at a hospital every Sunday for 4 hours. I've done this for a little over a year. Since I actualy volunteer in the Volunteer Office there, I mainly discharge patients and I love it. I also do lab runs and blood runs. I also volunteered last summer in the ICU and didn't like that as much b/c all I did was paperwork–stuffing charts for the nurses. I get much more patient contact transporting patients–usually out the door, but hey it has to be done.
Do what will make you happy, as everyone else also pointed out. If you're not happy, it will show. Good luck!
P.S. As to being an EMT, I can't speak to that b/c I haven't had much experience with it. I think it would be hard to wait for calls to come in but that's the nature of the beast I suppose. Could you try studying in your down time while at the firehouse or was that not working for you?

Hi Stacy,
No, the place was open with the boys watching some game, so studying was not really and option, just no place to do it. I always felt guilty not having a book open when I knew a test was shortly coming.