volunteering - CNA or phlebotomy helpful??

Hi all,

I am about to start my post-bacc classes and am also trying to get involved with volunteering. Other posts here show its hard to get “clinical” volunteer time in hospitals.

I could conceivably take the time to get certified as a CNA or phlebotomist. I might be able to do this over a summer perhaps. I would then offer to work for free a few hours a week.

Do you all think this is wise or should I just skip that, and volunteer in whatever area they have and hope that opens doors later for patient interaction and eventual shadowing opportunities?


Well I don’t know much about what the medical school would want but I can tell you as an RN what each one really does. The phlebotomist as you know can work in outpatient setting or in the hospital. If you were to work inpatient youu draw labs from wherever they are requested. It is not particularly hard to do this unless you are sticking a junkie or a dialysis pt.

The CNA helps the RNs get vital signs and does baths, making beds, restocking, etc. If you become a tech, sorry I forget what they are really called, in addition to those above mentioned jobs, you can shoot ekgs, do accuchecks, and I believe get BCLS certified and in some places ACLS certified so you may transport pts to CT scans, etc. for the RNs. Hope this helps. Good luck to you!


I don’t know that volunteering as a phlebotomist is a reasonable goal. In a hospital setting, phlebotomists work for the lab and need to be scheduled for particular shifts, do particular things and be accountable and responsible to a supervisor in a way that’s a little different from a volunteer’s role. Among other things, the liability insurance carried by a hospital (or doctor’s office) for a phlebotomist or nurses’ aide is different from the kind of liability insurance they’ll carry for the actions of volunteers.

There are two things that you are trying to accomplish by volunteering:

1, you are showing a commitment to service and a dedication to your community;

2, you are getting an opportunity to see the health care field and understand a little more how it affects people.

Your role as a volunteer is really insignificant as long as you can get some good insights from it.

Good luck!


Mary and Autumn:

Thanks for the helpful responses. I guess I will use the time I would’ve spent on the certification for volunteering. It’s probably better that way as it will give me more time. I wonder at what point I should start trying to find shadowing opportunities? My plan is to spend the next two years in my post-bacc science courses, then six months MCAT prep, then apply.