volunteer experience

I’m curious if anyone else feels in some way under pressure when volunteering in a hospital?

I had my department orientation on Friday and I really enjoyed all the people. My official title is “patient care ambassador” and basically I’ll be making rounds, talking to patients and helping out with easy tasks (getting drinks, moving patients, etc.). I honestly enjoyed it, but I feel like I’m constantly being judged! I think part of it is that I’m in a teaching hospital and even getting to volunteer here is a long process - you have to apply and about 1/3 of the people get turned down because they just don’t have enough spaces. Most of the other volunteers are undergrad pre-med/pre-nursing students.

I really want to enjoy my time and not feel this pressure to be a “good volunteer.” Am I completely crazy?

They have an application process for hospital volunteering here as well. I didn’t get in last quarter but I got in for Spring. From 5am-8am I escort admitted patients to different areas of the medical campus. We have rules to follow and I’m pretty sure that as long as we show up and do our best, the hospital teams will appreciate our efforts.

I got lost on my first day and escorted a patient to the wrong building! I caught myself though and brought her to the right place. What was funny is that when I was making rounds, some of the residents were worried because they literally lost their volunteer and had to ask the nursing staff to look for him.

Just enjoy the experience, talking to and interacting with patients. You won’t have time for that level of interaction when you are a med student and resident. In a big teaching hospital, there are lots of people in lots of roles. Not everyone will be watching you, though you may feel like it-- those people are having the same feelings themselves.

Not being cynical. But there seems to always be pecking orders. Don’t let it phase you. Remember when you are in their position to treat everyone with kindness and expect the same from your peers. Thank goodness for my union job. A pecking order is to be expected in the beginning. Over time they realize that you are here to stay and it does go away. Best wishes and be unstoppable in your commitment to great customer care and your goals!

Thanks, all! Deep breaths for me - Monday I am officially starting.

Well how has it been volunteering? Here it is Thursday and we haven’t heard!!!

I am so excited. A UW geneticist (also teaches) told me about 2 volunteer opps. she knew of.




I am really excited about Al Shifa. It is a student run medical clinic. It operates 2x a month. It would clock my clinical hours needed AND improve my Spanish. They also write reference letters. I am hoping they want me.

So, to those of you looking to increase your clinical hours, look outside the hospital “box”. It’s can be challenging to make your mark when competing at Children’s Hospital with a zillion other premed twenty-somethings. Look into your local med school and see what student ran opportunities might be out there for you. It appears to be a great way of getting to know University docs and staff, in a more intimate environment. I am also inspired by what they are doing for my local community.

Awesome Kim! That sounds like a really great opportunity! I hope they want you too!