Volunteering at a Hospital + Experience

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So, do you want to volunteer at a hospital but have no idea where to start? Some questions to consider when looking for volunteering opportunities are: Which hospitals have college volunteer programs? How do you contact volunteer services? What is required of you? Hopefully, I can answer these questions and direct you to the resources that I used for my undergraduate volunteer experience.

Being an Ohio State student, the Wexner Medical Center is a brief 10-15 minute walk from any location on campus. When I became interested in medicine in my sophomore year, it was great to have a major hospital close to my residence hall. Because of this, I decided to look into the different positions at the Wexner Medical Center.

In finding a volunteer position at the Wexner Medical Center, I needed to research the hospital and find whether or not volunteer opportunities were available. Luckily, I found that the hospital had a college volunteer program, which looked for volunteers who were reliable, driven, and service-oriented. Once I found the link to apply, I applied through their website, created an account, and asked upperclassmen about their experiences. The upperclassmen helped guide me to find the best volunteer experience, which was the Surgical Prep position.

Once receiving an email confirmation that my volunteer application had been accepted, I attended a training session, had a background check, and was given a volunteer position. Additionally, I was given a uniform to wear to each of my 3/4-hour shifts.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center's Outpatient Care ...
Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Outpatient Care East

During my first semester, I volunteered at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Outpatient Care East as a Volunteer Ambassador. In the position, I wheeled patients around in a wheelchair, helped check-in patients, and directed patients to their spine injections. It was a great experience, however, during my volunteer time, from 8 am-noon, I found that the hospital was not very busy and I didn’t get to interact with many patients. I got to meet many physicians and PTs, which was great as an observational experience.

Brain and Spine Hospital to open next year – The Lantern
Wexner Brain and Spine Hospital

During my second and third semesters, I volunteered at the Ohio State Wexner Brain and Spine Hospital as a Surgical Prep volunteer. For this volunteer role, I had the opportunity to wear scrubs–which was very exciting– and I got more hands-on experience with patients. During my second semester, my volunteer shift was from 9 am-noon, and during my third semester, my volunteer shift was from 6 am- 9 am. Personally, I found that the 6 am-9 am shift was busier than my 9 am-noon shift. Many patients were discharged or entering surgery in the early morning compared to the afternoon.

I absolutely loved my experience as a Surgical Prep volunteer because I worked closely alongside nurses and surgeons. Additionally, I got personal insight into the relationships between nurses, physicians, and patients. I remember how silly the anesthesiologists were when talking to their patients. They were very happy and made able their patients smile before their intense surgery.

My passion for medicine increased after volunteering at a hospital. I would highly recommend any pre-health student to volunteer at their local hospital before fully committing to their career choice. Working in a hospital was a wonderful experience that allowed me to mature, get insight into physician’s lives, and understand the ins and outs of a hospital.

List of Hospitals with College Volunteer Programs:

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