What are people doing for volunteering? If I volunteer at a hospital what should I try to get into? I have volunteer applications in at both the Red Cross and the Local Hospital but, I am not sure quite what I want (or is best) to do.

At the hospital, if they have scribes in the ER, that is a good volunteer opportunity. Also, volunteering in the pediatric playroom gives you an opportunity for interaction. If you talk to the volunteer coordinator at the hospital you can get an idea of what types of positions there are.

Lots of people volunteer at free health clinics, but it helps if you can interpret (spanish).


Volunteer at a hospital, clinic, or hospice. I volunteer for the Red Cross as well as a hospital–but unless you are an EMT or similar for them, it is not that relevant, unfortunately.

My undergrad health office said a hospice was a great choice and impressive (“impressive” may be too strong but you know what I mean) to adcoms.

I recommend for the clinical volunteering that you look for a hospital, hospice, or long-term care facility. You want in-patient experience.



I am going to volunteer with a free clinic that is affiliated with my church. I spoke with the director today and he seemed really open to me doing all sorts of “interactive” things. That might be another volunteering route.

Also since you are in New Hampshire, have you tried Ski Patrol? I did it last winter.

I spend my Saturdays at the spinal cord injury unit at the local Veteran’s Affairs hospital. I have been there 7 months, and over time my tasks have grown to include:

  • Feeding the quadriplegic patients, and helping with meal setup with some of the paraplegic patients (special eating tools, etc.)

  • Collecting vitals data (BP, etc.)

  • Urine output data collection

  • Shaving the patients who cannot shave themselves

  • Stocking supplies

  • Courier to and from the pharmacy, labs, and supply units

  • Help the nurses move patients

  • Answering patient and income calls at the nurses’ station, and responding to patient requests (for those I am allowed to…as a volunteer, I am not allowed to offically conduct tasks that are considered patient care)

  • Chatting with those patients who are in the mood to talk. (About half the time, sports enters the equation, usually ending in a poor defense of my Dallas Cowboys)

    If you are interested, the VA system is always in need of more volunteers. I initially applied at www.va.gov and then made contact with the Volunteer Coordinator at the local VA hospital.

    Best wishes to all.

Thanks all for the great advice. I really appreciate having this resource as a sounding board while going through this process.

BaileyPup: Funny you should suggest that as I have been active as an EMT or Ski Patroller for ~15 years. I do think that this gives me some patient care credentials but, I was hoping to bolster my experience in a hospital setting.

Ltap93: Great idea! There is a VA medical center near me I will look them up.

I can understand that. I just like the ski patrol because it is a pretty unique one that many don’t think of.