It is wise to explore the professions systematically, first through shadowing a professional(s), then by volunteering in an appropriate health care setting. A few hours a week as a volunteer may lead to a formal internship or employment.
Whatever your profession of interest, it is wise to develop a knowledge of the profession through continuing and increasing involvement. A collection of brief, one-time exposures do not provide the kind of insights that will help you assess your suitability for the profession. Nor will they provide much evidence to professional schools that you have a working knowledge of the profession.
The Career Education Center (x 1530) in Slavin 108 offers Winter Session Shadowing Information Sessions.
Volunteering : What Can I Do?
The Rhode Island Hospital: The only Level 1 Trauma Center in the region and may be a good option for premedical students to volunteer as Family liaisons, Dietary services, Emergency room, Gift shop, As nurse aides, Office support, Recovery rooms, Pet therapy, Patient representatives, Occupational therapy, Physical therapy, Radiology, Stock and supplies
Hasbro Childrens’ Hospital: Pediatric playrooms, Emergency department, Recovery room, Outpatient clinics, Reading programs, Tours, Information services, Office support, Intensive care unit, Elementary classrooms, Psychology Department, Oncology
The Miriam Hospital has a patient relations program and transport volunteer positions which may be optimal for, however not limited to, premed students to volunteer in Clerical support: office/data entry, Central transport, Family support liaison desks, Greeter, Maintenance, Food and nutrition, Patient Relations Volunteer, Pharmacy, Physical therapy, Radiology.
Shuttle & Bus Service: Students can work with Transportation Services to gain access to school vans (x2940). RI Hospital, Women and Infants and Hasbro Childrens Hospitals are all within walking distance of one another. RIPTA bus #55 is available to transport students from the Huxley Gate to Kennedy Plaza, and from there, RIPTA bus #1 will take you to RI Hospital.
You can also contact the volunteer coordinators of other Providence area hospitals independently (download this PDF).
BIO450: Internship: This three-credit elective offers junior or senior biology majors the opportunity to independently explore practical applications of biological principles in the workplace. Students must prepare a proposal, select and obtain approval from a site supervisor, and approval from the department chair and faculty internship advisor prior to registration for the course. An Internship Learning Agreement must be completed (available through Office of Career Education Center). Minimally, students are expected to spend 8-12 hours per week at the internship site, maintain a journal that documents internship activities, and complete a paper that integrates their academic and experiential learning. Pass/Fail basis only.
Clinical Summer Internships are often offered by Health Professions schools. These are structured and competitive. Students must submit applications often as early as January 1st.
NSF-REUs: These National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates are generally for students considering research and graduate study.
NIH Undergraduate Summer Internships: The National Institutes of Health offers summer internship programs for students interested in the health professions.
Health Related Experiences
By no means an exhaustive list, below are health care experiences that, with some training, are available to undergraduates. There is no better way to know that you should pursue a career in professional health care than to work directly with patients.
Training and/or certification as an EMT or CNA, for example, also provide possible employment opportunities during the academic year or summer vacations.