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Health-Related Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteering is an important way to prepare for a career in health care. You can learn how health care is actually delivered, and interact with a variety of health care professionals and patients. It will help you decide on the right field for you, and demonstrate to professional schools that you are prepared for training.

This page contains a sortable listing of health-related volunteer experiences as submitted and described by UW students. We encourage you to use it in conjunction with our pages on Planning for Specific Healthcare Careers.

Have you had a successful volunteer experience in the health care fields? You can share your story with other students by filling out the form at the end of this page.

chiropractorsdental hygienistsdentistemergency medical techniciansnursesoccupational therapistsoptometristsotherpharmacistsphysical therapistsphysician assistantsphysicianspodiatristsveterinarian

chiropractors

UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218

dental hygienists

Dental Mission Trips
"Simple assisting jobs such as sterilizing equipment and calling patients because I am not trained to be a dentist and do not yet have the ability to work on patients."
When and for how long: 3 weeks
Provider contact: Some days I would have more contact with the care providers that others. On days I had the most contact with them, I was with them while they were working on a patient and handing them tools. On the days that I had less contact with them, I would be sterilizing instruments or calling patients.
Patient & community contact: Like with the care providers, the amount of contact I had with the patients fluctuated. Depending on the day, I would have short conversations with them, or I would only check them in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was being able to make a difference in the daily lives of the patients and being able to see how grateful they were for something that I often take for granted. It really changed the way I viewed my everyday health care.
More information: dentalmissiontrips@gmail.com
Neighborcare Health
"Community outreach volunteer, did outreach to current medical patients to referred them to our dental clinic. Well child check reminders to infants and childrens."
When and for how long: Was there since 2012
Provider contact: Did not really have much contact with medical care providers. I did shadow the dental providers and have a great relationship with them.
Patient & community contact: Usually not much due to working in the office.
Liked best: Learning about how healthcare works.
More information: 206-461-6935 or info@neighborcare.org
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"I shadowed primary care physicians in Moses Lake from Monday through Thursday, then went to a local high school on Friday morning to talk about the values of higher education."
When and for how long: Spring break, the whole week
Provider contact: I shadowed a different physician each day, and got to chat with them during down times and ask about medicine.
Patient & community contact: We lived with a woman in a trailer park, and learned a lot about the community. We also heard a lot about the issues facing the community from the doctors we shadowed and the staff at the clinic.
Liked best: This experience solidified my desire to go to medical school, and piqued my interest in primary care.
More information: hcasb@uw.edu

dentist

Global Dental Brigades UW Chapter
"I was in charge of holding charlas where I showed kids how to brush. I also got the chance to shadowing a dentist while she performed dental procedures."
When and for how long: Summer of 2013, 9 days
Provider contact: I shadowed a dentist and got to ask any questions I had.
Patient & community contact: I got to teach them how to brush and take care of there oral hygiene.
Liked best: The best part was when the kids got there brushes and they treated it as if they had just got there hands on the newest piece of technology.
More information: Depends who is president of the club that year
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Translate for American doctors and dentists to diagnose Vietnamese villagers. Sort medicine into small bags for prescribing and explain to patients how to use."
When and for how long: 2 weeks but trained for 1 year
Provider contact: Become the voice for the doctors and dentists to help the patients understand dental treatments (usually teeth extractions) or diagnosis.
Patient & community contact: To fund the cost of the medicine and supplies we had to host a banquet which required contact with family and businesses to support us. That year we raised 28K in one night.
Liked best: Living in a foreign country for 2 weeks. Making new friends with the student volunteers and health professionals. Stark difference in the appreciation of care from Vietnamese patients vs American patients.
More information: Scott Fung
Med Life
"Volunteer for a medical brigade- to bring free medicine/healthcare to underserved, and impoverished communities. I went on two separate occasions- once in Lima, Peru, and then in Tena, Ecuador. Both wonderful experiences, I got to help heakth professionals set up the clinics, sort medicine, translate, and take vitals and mecial history of the patients."
When and for how long: April 2012; December 2013
Provider contact: Side by side, watching them work! Sometimes I would translate from Spanish to English for other students observing.
Patient & community contact: Once again, very hands on, especially when writing down medical history and taking vitals. I got to learn a lot about the way certain people in communities live, by speaking to people who waited in line for care.
Liked best: It simply feels good to help people who need it.
More information: www.medlifeweb.org
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Soliciting in order to raise money for the medical supplies we were to bring on our trip. Contact other health professions to assist us on our trip because they are the only way how we can treat them. The volunteers and leaders who were mainly under-graduates were only able to observe, assist and scribe for the health professionals."
When and for how long: From the beginning of 2014 until late september of the same year.
Provider contact: Scribe for the medical care providers. Some students and I were able to become translators between the patients and the health professions. Medical care providers were also able to teach us diseases/sicknesses the patients had, and how we can tell from our diagnosis on how they have it.
Patient & community contact: Consulting with the villagers. Teaching them on how to take their medication. Teaching them what their sickness is. Teaching patients the basics of public health (Water sanitation, risks of drinking alcohol/smoking obsessively, brushing teeth), in order to prevent exposure to some microbes that can cause harm to us.
Liked best: Going to a different country and using my ability to interact with patients in a medical/clinical setting. Working in a clinic that was student ran. A lot of work and communication was required.
More information: info@vnhealth.org
Sea Mar Community Health Center
"I was in charge of leading small groups of the migrant children in short lessons and educational activities concerning preventive dental health care techniques, including proper teeth brushing and flossing methods."
When and for how long: For approx. 3 hours during 3 different mobile medical and dental education clinics at a migrant workers camp in Mount Vernon, WA. Summer 2013.
Provider contact: I worked with the dental health care providers while preparing the material I was in charge of presenting the children with. When my presentations were over, I also helped run supplies to the stations where the dental health care providers were.
Patient & community contact: I was able to work closely with the children of the migrant workers to help give them some basic preventive health care education. Several times that day, I also had to translate for one of the other volunteers while they were giving their presentation and running through their activity. I was able to help answer the children's questions, mostly in English and a bit in Spanish to the best of my ability.
Liked best: It was a really unique experience and not something I would have pictured myself doing when I thought about volunteering in the health care field. The mobile clinic not only provided education workshops for the children and adults in this migrant camp, they also provided free dental and medical check ups to the people there and even performed basic procedures on patients (some of which I was able to observe). The work I did may have been centered a little more on education but it was really rewarding to be able to show someone how they can avoid bad oral health so it doesn't come back to bite them in the future. I really enjoyed how hands on and interactive of an experience it was, especially with a population that is typically underserved in the health care field.
More information: Sea Mar CHC - Mount Vernon Dental Clinic 1400 N LaVenture Mount Vernon, Washington 98273
Union Gospel Mission Dental Clinic
"As volunteers, we make sure that the clinic is in order and clean. We also greet patients and set up the stations where they have their appointments. Volunteers learn to assist chair side with local dentists who also volunteer their time at the UGM dental clinic, take x-rays and develop film, and how to sterilize dental tools. Although volunteer work at the UGM dental clinic goes far beyond the office, as volunteers can also help by organizing fundraisers, applying for grants, and other activities that help organize the clinic."
When and for how long: I began volunteering there in August 2014 and still currently volunteer there
Provider contact: I get to work alongside the providers as they are treating and helping patients. It is really great to be able to do this as many of the dentists understand that the volunteers are aspiring to go to dental school, so they are very accommodating with explaining what they are doing and why.
Patient & community contact: At the UGM, we get to work directly with patients by taking their dental history, blood pressure, and encouraging them to consistently come in when they can for dental care. With the patients, our job is to make them feel welcomed and make sure they get the best care possible with the available resources.
Liked best: Not only do I get hands on experience volunteering at the UGM dental clinic, I get to learn so many things about other important aspects in dentistry other than just teeth. For example, I learn the importance of sterilization and how to do that, how to take x-rays, and the incredible work that dental assistants do for dentists. I also get to see a wide range of patients and learn more about them and their lives.
More information: Juanita Banks --> jbanks@ugm.org
UW General Internal Medicine Center
"Stocking examination rooms, sorting faxes, and any miscellaneous projects that may come up."
When and for how long: Fall 2013 to present. 4 hours a week.
Provider contact: The clinic itself is relatively small, so you will always pass by a medical care provider. This clinic also trains resident doctors, which you can shadow.
Patient & community contact: Little to none during volunteer hours as most duties do not require you to be in the presence of a patient. On some rare occasions you may be asked to push a patient and their wheelchair to the lobby.
Liked best: The abundance of shadowing opportunities.
Other notes: This clinic is located at UWMC-Roosevelt, not the main hospital.
More information: UWMC Volunteer services. Volunteer manager: Cynnie Foss
Dental Mission Trips
"Simple assisting jobs such as sterilizing equipment and calling patients because I am not trained to be a dentist and do not yet have the ability to work on patients."
When and for how long: 3 weeks
Provider contact: Some days I would have more contact with the care providers that others. On days I had the most contact with them, I was with them while they were working on a patient and handing them tools. On the days that I had less contact with them, I would be sterilizing instruments or calling patients.
Patient & community contact: Like with the care providers, the amount of contact I had with the patients fluctuated. Depending on the day, I would have short conversations with them, or I would only check them in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was being able to make a difference in the daily lives of the patients and being able to see how grateful they were for something that I often take for granted. It really changed the way I viewed my everyday health care.
More information: dentalmissiontrips@gmail.com
Neighborcare Health
"Community outreach volunteer, did outreach to current medical patients to referred them to our dental clinic. Well child check reminders to infants and childrens."
When and for how long: Was there since 2012
Provider contact: Did not really have much contact with medical care providers. I did shadow the dental providers and have a great relationship with them.
Patient & community contact: Usually not much due to working in the office.
Liked best: Learning about how healthcare works.
More information: 206-461-6935 or info@neighborcare.org
Seattle Union Gospel Mission
"Sterilization, Assistant chair-side with dentist, cleaning, preparing and taking down rooms, maintenance of facility"
When and for how long: November 2014 - present
Provider contact: The volunteers mostly talk to the dental assistant(s) there, but since the facility is so small, talking with dentists are very common as well
Patient & community contact: I have no contact to the patients
Liked best: Being in a dental enviroment and learning about the preliminary skills someone who wants to go into dentistry should have.
More information: ugm.com/volunteer
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"HCASB is a student run organization at UW that organizes healthcare shadowing trips to rural towns in Washington over spring break. It gives pre-health students a chance to understand the unique needs and opportunities of rural medicine, while also increasing their shadowing hours. I was a Team Leader, so I spent Winter quarter contacting different healthcare facilities in Sequim, WA to set up our week of shadowing and where to stay."
When and for how long: Spring Break 2014
Provider contact: I spent four full work days shadowing one on one with several different doctors, including family practice, opthamology, ob/gyn, and geriatric medicine.
Patient & community contact: I got to see healthcare providers working with many different types of patients, from young healthy people, to pregnant women, to elderly people in various states of health. While I did more shadowing than interacting, many patients were friendly and willing to answer questions or talk briefly. We also spent a few hours volunteering at an assisted living facility where we got to participate in the exercise activities with residents.
Liked best: Getting to meet and observe such a good range of medical specialties whom all share the same experience of working in a rural community was most valuable. It gave me insight to what career paths interested me more than others, and allowed me to contrast different perspectives on the benefits and challenges of urban vs. rural medicine.
Other notes: Applications for Team Leader positions close in Fall, and Participant applications close around the start of winter quarter, so its a good idea to start thinking about this beginning of Fall quarter.
More information: hcasb.org

emergency medical technicians

University of Washington Medical Center
"As a patient escort, my role was to provide services such as transporting patients in wheelchairs, blood refrigerators, patient test samples, letters, and gifts. In addition I also helped with paperwork by preparing mail, patient info forms, and filing patient charts. It was also common for me to act as a greeter with one or two other volunteer escorts by directing patients to where they need to go or walking them to their destination if possible."
When and for how long: Mostly on weekends, 4 hr a week for three years.
Provider contact: Little to no interaction with medical care providers. Never spoke to a doctor, spoke with some nurses but only to clarify objectives. Often spoke to med technicians and lab technicians on delivery pickup/dropoff.
Patient & community contact: High amount of patient interaction potential as well as with family members. A lot of experience with patient management is possible due to the nature of the escort position. Also worth noting is that you meet a lot of UW students and individuals from the Seattle area who are somewhere in the application process for a health related profession as well as members of the community (often retired) who are passionate about giving to the community.
Liked best: This was my first experience being in an environment where I was given responsibility of providing service to patients. Back in high school I was a really shy and quiet person, but volunteering as an escort forced me to be proactive and initiate conversations with patients and visitors in order to provide excellent service. Patient interaction was also a really eye opening experience. Being able to talk to patients span a wide range of backgrounds as well as handle stressful situations dealing with patient management are definitely skills that can be learned. I think this personal growth, in addition to being able to observe the mechanics of how one of the best hospitals in our nation come together, is really great.
Other notes: While volunteering I often heard others complain that they aren't able to interact with doctors, nurses, PAs, etc. while being an escort. In my opinion those types of experiences are acquired through shadowing. This experience is heavily correlated with how much personal effort a person makes to take on tasks and proactively provide service to patients. In addition, while volunteering I have seen lots of changes happen to the volunteer program. When I started there were many things escorts were able to do, but since then there have been more and more restrictions and cutbacks on the variety of tasks escorts can do. I think it's mostly limited to patient transport and greeting now. It's partially due to this that I chose to retire from volunteering at the UWMC after three years and move onto other volunteering projects.
More information: Volunteer Services: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer/requirements/application
Harborview
"Worked in the ER, helped RNs and doctors Restocked shelves Cleaned and prepared cots Observed Trauma Care"
When and for how long: Summer of Junior Year
Provider contact: Mostly observation
Patient & community contact: I did not interact with patients unless they requested my assistance
Liked best: I think the best part was observing the health care providers and seeing how a hospital ran from the inside.
Harborview Medical Center
"As a volunteer in the ER, my main responsibility was to make sure the rooms fully stocked with linens and other medical supplies, cleaning and making beds, as well as other random task the Medical Assistants or Nurses needed."
When and for how long: June 2013-September 2014
Provider contact: The main interactions were with Medical Assistants since they are the ones that we reported to and gave us tasks that needed to be done. I also interacted with nurses, physicians, medical students, pharmacists and EMTs by assisting them with tasks they needed, asking questions about procedures and observing some procedures being done.
Patient & community contact: During our volunteer shift we are encouraged to go around to patients and family to ask how they are doing or if they need anything.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was being completely submerged into a high volume and sometimes hectic ER environment, so you can get a real feel for this type of setting. Through this experience I was able to interact with many different types of health care professionals, all of which were really nice and were open to answering any questions I had. Since it is an ER, I was also able to see many different types of patients as well as a variety of reasons why they came in.
More information: Bridget Snow, bridsnow@uw.edu
Harborview Medical Center
"Located in the Emergency Department you assist the Medical Assistants and the Nursing staff with restocking and room set up. Work with patients to make their stay more comfortable, as well as transporting patients to various places. General housekeeping responsibilities."
When and for how long: Oct 2013 - Present
Provider contact: Very constant interactions with MA's and Nurses, by assisting them with their needs of stocking and running errands. Minimal contact with physicians and EMTs, mostly just observation of their interactions with patients.
Patient & community contact: Patient contact varies with the flow of the emergency department. Generally the patient contact includes delivering warm blankets and water to patients, occasionally escorting patients to waiting areas and the pharmacy.
Liked best: The best thing about volunteering in the Emergency Department is the wide variety of patients that you get to interact with and observe the doctor patient relationship. Each week you could interact with entirely different patients than you saw the previous week.
More information: hmcvol@u.washington.edu.
University of Washington Medical Center
"I was an escort at first. I discharged patients and did a lot of deliveries. I was then working as a volunteer in the Emergency Department. My main job was to check in with patients and do whatever the nurses and medical assistants assigned."
When and for how long: 2011 December - 2014 June, two and half years
Provider contact: I worked mainly with the nurses and medical assistants there. I passed on patients' request to them so they could check in with patients. I could also shadow them if there was something I would like to learn. There was once a patient who just had a serious car accident and a group of doctors were doing some procedures, and I was able to watch that.
Patient & community contact: I also communicated with these members a lot since my main job was to check in with them. I rounded in the department and asked everyone whether they were doing okay and if they would like anything. I got to talk to a lot of lonely patients a lot and brought them much comfort.
Liked best: I think I got the chance to talk to and comfort the patients there. Sometimes the Emergency Department was very busy and there were not enough nurses. Patients sometimes felt like they were ignored and I was able to be with them. This was something that nurses or medical assistants were not able to do.
More information: 206-598-4218
Swedish Hospital
"To assist all medical care providers with all types of tasks that promote the efficiency and quality of healthcare towards patients. These tasks can include rounding, transporting and comforting patients, as well as stocking and organizing medical supplies."
When and for how long: 4 hour shifts, past 2 years
Provider contact: I volunteer directly under the supervision and direction of medical care providers. I provide assistance with anything during medical preparations or procedures.
Patient & community contact: I am always checking in on patients during the brief or extended times that they are in the emergency department. My purpose is to provide comfort and information for patients and their families while they wait for procedures or results etc.
Liked best: My favorite experience was with a patient X. I recognized her from a different volunteering facility that I was a part of prior to this position. I had gotten to know her well with that other facility. She was an elderly woman with a severe hearing difficulty, and she too, recognized me when I checked in on her during my rounds at the ER. Her face lit up when she saw my familiar face in the hospital. She has a hard time hearing, and I knew that, so I already had a sense of how to make her feel comfortable and at ease. I spent a good time with her, sitting next to her and holding her hand to provide some comfort in such a busy and overwhelming ER. It really made me happy, and her too, to spend some time together in what can be an upsetting situation: sick and vulnerable at a busy ER.
More information: 425-640-4341
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Sacred Heart Medical Center
"I was an Emergency Room volunteer. I assisted with any non-clinical needs of the nurses, or physicians."
When and for how long: For one year, during march 2012-2013.
Provider contact: I shadowed doctors, was taught basic medical procedures, and observed a multitude of procedures with specialities including: trauma surgery, neurosurgery, pediatric ICU, raidology, and emergency medicine.
Patient & community contact: I was free to visit patients when appropriate, to talk to them and assist with non-clincal requests.
Liked best: Getting experience one on one with doctors and nurses. And learning how patients interact in different healtcare environments. I.E. how to make them feel less uncomfortable than they did.
More information: Brenda Johnson
COPE Health Solutions
"Responsibilities include assisting nurses and other staff with tasks involved in patient care such as feeding, changing, and bathing patients. Other office type duties are performed as well as simply sitting in and watching various procedures."
When and for how long: June 2014-Current
Provider contact: This internship provides undergraduate students with 3 month rotations on varying units of the hospital to assist medical staff in providing comfort care tasks for the patients. Also there is the opportunity to shadow doctors and other specialists and sit in on varying procedures.
Patient & community contact: One of the best parts of this volunteer opportunity is that there is a significant amount of interaction with patients and their families. Most of the time the interactions are simple and brief, but other times the patients or family are looking for someone to talk to. One of the best parts about this volunteer position has simply been listening to the stories and experiences of those that I have interacted with.
Liked best: Networking with professionals in the field and seeing them at work
More information: Poornima Bajwa email: pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
Swedish Hospital Edmonds
"Working in the front desk, helping patients, wheel chairing patients."
When and for how long: High School for 1 year
Provider contact: Not very much. Mostly communicated with nurses.
Patient & community contact: Lots of patient interaction.
Liked best: Being in the hospital setting, which allowed me to see the interactions and hospital community. Seeing this actually deterred me away from becoming a doctor because I look more local and close interactions.
More information: Volunteer Coordinator

nurses

UWMC
"My role as a medical volunteer was to interact with many patients and keep the medical environment clean. By greeting people, helping them find their way throughout the center, and aid those who need help, I create an open and friendly environment for UWMC. By wiping down equipment after use, deliver paperwork and charts, and make sure equipment is stocked, I keep the medical environment clean and organized."
When and for how long: Flexible hours (4 hours a week) for one year.
Provider contact: My contact with medical care providers is through delivering charts and paperwork to those who request it. I also assist them with non-patient care duties.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients is to provide them with as much help as I can, including escorting patients to locations, transporting those in wheelchairs, and delivering items to patients, while maintaining a friendly environment.
Liked best: Lots of exposure. If you need a place to learn about the everyday workings of a medical institution, this is the place for you.
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
University of Washington Medical Center
"As a patient escort, my role was to provide services such as transporting patients in wheelchairs, blood refrigerators, patient test samples, letters, and gifts. In addition I also helped with paperwork by preparing mail, patient info forms, and filing patient charts. It was also common for me to act as a greeter with one or two other volunteer escorts by directing patients to where they need to go or walking them to their destination if possible."
When and for how long: Mostly on weekends, 4 hr a week for three years.
Provider contact: Little to no interaction with medical care providers. Never spoke to a doctor, spoke with some nurses but only to clarify objectives. Often spoke to med technicians and lab technicians on delivery pickup/dropoff.
Patient & community contact: High amount of patient interaction potential as well as with family members. A lot of experience with patient management is possible due to the nature of the escort position. Also worth noting is that you meet a lot of UW students and individuals from the Seattle area who are somewhere in the application process for a health related profession as well as members of the community (often retired) who are passionate about giving to the community.
Liked best: This was my first experience being in an environment where I was given responsibility of providing service to patients. Back in high school I was a really shy and quiet person, but volunteering as an escort forced me to be proactive and initiate conversations with patients and visitors in order to provide excellent service. Patient interaction was also a really eye opening experience. Being able to talk to patients span a wide range of backgrounds as well as handle stressful situations dealing with patient management are definitely skills that can be learned. I think this personal growth, in addition to being able to observe the mechanics of how one of the best hospitals in our nation come together, is really great.
Other notes: While volunteering I often heard others complain that they aren't able to interact with doctors, nurses, PAs, etc. while being an escort. In my opinion those types of experiences are acquired through shadowing. This experience is heavily correlated with how much personal effort a person makes to take on tasks and proactively provide service to patients. In addition, while volunteering I have seen lots of changes happen to the volunteer program. When I started there were many things escorts were able to do, but since then there have been more and more restrictions and cutbacks on the variety of tasks escorts can do. I think it's mostly limited to patient transport and greeting now. It's partially due to this that I chose to retire from volunteering at the UWMC after three years and move onto other volunteering projects.
More information: Volunteer Services: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer/requirements/application
Lady of the Sea Hospital: Surgical Department (Los Angeles)
"I would mainly catalog, label, and put away all of the surgical supplies. I would also help the nurses with other work including helping to set up operating rooms for a procedure."
When and for how long: 3 years ago. I was there a couple days a week for a month or so.
Provider contact: I was mostly in contact with the nurses, although I would meet the surgeons when they came. I also met the anesthesiologist and he showed me his equipment, and described the work that he did.
Patient & community contact: They didn't let me contact any of the patients.
Liked best: I thought it was beneficial because I was able to witness all the work that goes on in a surgical department before a surgeon arrives and after he leaves. I saw how much of a team effort it was to provide medical care. The nurses would show me about the equipment and supplies that they use during operations and describe different procedures and their experiences with them.
More information: (985) 632-6401
Camp Korey
"Take care of the campers (campers were separated into cabins by age groups) and take whole cabin activity to activity, as well as make sure the campers take their designated medicine at the appropriate times."
When and for how long: Summer 2014, week-long
Provider contact: We mainly checked in with our designated cabin's nurse to make sure the campers have taken their medications and if there was anything to watch out for, but there was a constant direct contact.
Patient & community contact: Family wasn't allowed at the camp other than to drop and pick off their kids. But we oversaw everything the patients (campers) did throughout the week and watched out for their wellbeing. We kept the spirit and energy up as well!
Liked best: Being able to be around children, who are facing life's biggest struggles, and still see them be overjoyed by life's small, happy moments is incredibly heartwarming. It was an exhausting volunteer position, but it was very rewarding seeing how you can make an impact on these kids' lives.
More information: Janelle Kitson: 425-844-3190, jkitson@campkorey.org
Seattle Children's (Observership)
"Shadowing neurosurgeons in the OR."
When and for how long: Fall Quarter 2014
Provider contact: Spoke with surgeons, residents, nurses and other medical assistants.
Patient & community contact: None.
Liked best: Being in the OR was incredible! I was right by the bed as the surgeries took place.
More information: Search for "Observership" on the web site under "Education"; this is an application
Prep-Step Health Care Scholarship Program
"Help out the nursing staff and NAC staff on the patient floors with patient care such as: cleaning up, providing meals, talking to patients, running messages to the staff, and ambulating patients."
When and for how long: Since August 2014 to currently
Provider contact: I directly get instruction and advice from the healthcare staff. Physicians are relatively rare throughout the day, but I get to see the constant work that the nurses and NAC's do all day.
Patient & community contact: I have the opportunity to speak directly with patients and their family members. Sometimes patients want to be left alone, but sometimes they want more interaction than the nurses can provide with their busy schedules.
Liked best: Getting to spend extended time with the nursing staff and seeing how important treating patients as individual people is to their overall care and experience in the hospital.
More information: 206-386-3879
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Translate for American doctors and dentists to diagnose Vietnamese villagers. Sort medicine into small bags for prescribing and explain to patients how to use."
When and for how long: 2 weeks but trained for 1 year
Provider contact: Become the voice for the doctors and dentists to help the patients understand dental treatments (usually teeth extractions) or diagnosis.
Patient & community contact: To fund the cost of the medicine and supplies we had to host a banquet which required contact with family and businesses to support us. That year we raised 28K in one night.
Liked best: Living in a foreign country for 2 weeks. Making new friends with the student volunteers and health professionals. Stark difference in the appreciation of care from Vietnamese patients vs American patients.
More information: Scott Fung
Harborview
"Worked in the ER, helped RNs and doctors Restocked shelves Cleaned and prepared cots Observed Trauma Care"
When and for how long: Summer of Junior Year
Provider contact: Mostly observation
Patient & community contact: I did not interact with patients unless they requested my assistance
Liked best: I think the best part was observing the health care providers and seeing how a hospital ran from the inside.
Med Life
"Volunteer for a medical brigade- to bring free medicine/healthcare to underserved, and impoverished communities. I went on two separate occasions- once in Lima, Peru, and then in Tena, Ecuador. Both wonderful experiences, I got to help heakth professionals set up the clinics, sort medicine, translate, and take vitals and mecial history of the patients."
When and for how long: April 2012; December 2013
Provider contact: Side by side, watching them work! Sometimes I would translate from Spanish to English for other students observing.
Patient & community contact: Once again, very hands on, especially when writing down medical history and taking vitals. I got to learn a lot about the way certain people in communities live, by speaking to people who waited in line for care.
Liked best: It simply feels good to help people who need it.
More information: www.medlifeweb.org
Prep Step Health Care Scholar Program at Swedish Medical Center First Hill
"As a prep-step health care scholar I am assigned to a unit in the hospital on a 3 month rotation basis where I assist staff and patients with whatever they need. Duties can include stocking the unit, discharging patients, assisting NAC's and nurses with patient care, taking vitals, rounding on patients, and answering call lights."
When and for how long: I have been a prep-step for a little over 3 months and am currently in the program.
Provider contact: In this position you get a lot of contact with nurses and nursing assistants. The nurses are often willing to let you shadow them while they interact with patients and will answer questions and explain their tasks. Physicians, Physician Assistants, nutritionists, and physical therapists are on the floor less frequently so it is more difficult to talk with them but when they are around, they are often willing to let you watch procedures and ask questions.
Patient & community contact: This program provides lots of opportunity for interaction with patients and their visitors. Through rounding you have the opportunity to go into each patient's room and chat with them and their family if they engage you in conversation. Many of my best experiences I have had occurred through conversations with patients. You also are trained to assist NAC's and nurses with various patient care tasks like walking, taking vitals, feeding, and repositioning.
Liked best: The best part about this experience is being able to make a true difference in a patient's hospital stay. I have had many experiences with patients where I was able to make them feel cared for and comfortable while going through a painful and scary experience. I am also looking forward to experiencing different units in the hospital so I can get a better idea of what area of medicine is right for me.
More information: https://www.l3connect.org/prospective-applicants/cce-faq Program Director: Poornima Bajwa pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
UW Medical Center
"Transporting stable patients, restocking medical supplies, and bringing biological samples to the labs."
When and for how long: Summer 2013-Winter 2014
Provider contact: Being close to the patients allowed me to see how medical care providers interacted with them. This gave me a better sense of how to interact with and care for patients in difficult circumstances. I often observed doctors and nurses navigate through difficult conversations to give their patients hope for the next step of their treatment.
Patient & community contact: Transporting patients meant that I often was able to have conversations with them about life. From these chats I got a better sense of the patient perspective with regards to hospital settings and medicine in general.
Liked best: More often than not, patients were very willing to give me life advice or express their expectations of a good doctor. The experience made me realize that I can often get just as much support from patients as I can give to them.
More information: 206-598-4218
Seattle Children's Hospital
"Child Life volunteer. I was going to the patients' rooms or playing with the patients at the playroom."
When and for how long: Fall, Winter 2012
Provider contact: I need to check in/out with the nurses before and after I played with patients. I was sometimes allowed to stay in the room while doctors were examining the patients.
Patient & community contact: I was directly in contact with the parents/caregivers of the patients. I not only played with the kids and entertaining them, but also was giving some space for the parents so that they can have some free time for themselves.
Liked best: Making kids happy. The best reward was to seeing unhealthy and sometimes unhappy kids smiling and having fun.
More information: Alison Garrison, email: alison.garrison@seattlechildrens.org
University of Washington Medical Center
"Volunteer patient escort: escorting patients around the hospital via wheelchairs or walking Volunteer in ICU: cleaning/stocking medical supplies, retrieving items for patients, clerical duties (answering the phone, filing paperwork)"
When and for how long: 2011-2013
Provider contact: Opportunity to observe procedures performed by physicians
Patient & community contact: Reading to and/or feeding patients, escorting families and patients in and out of the hospital
Liked best: Interacting with patients, observing the harsh realities, and also the beauty of medicine
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
Seattle Children's Hospital
"I volunteer in the Child Life department - so my major role is to interact (basically spend time/hang out and play) with patients in need. This may be due to the patient's parents needing a break, or it can be a case where the patient's family is not in the same country. Either way, the goal is to let the patient feel more at home at the hospital by providing them with a better experience during their stay at Seattle Children's. Before and after spending time with patients, I help clean and organize toys for the playroom, as well as prepare and clean up the playroom itself."
When and for how long: Started in Fall of 2013, and still volunteering
Provider contact: Before I visit each patient, I get to speak with the nurse about any problems or concerns I should keep in mind about the patient. The nurse will occasionally visit the room (usually to check vitals) during my stay. Generally, the nurses are quite friendly, and will ask me about what I do, what I am studying and what my future goals are. On 'rare' occasions, a doctor (presumably the surgeon for the patient in some cases), and more often residences, will stop by as well. In these instances, they may also ask about my background - but usually they are concentrating on the patient! (Which does give a good insight on what they do)
Patient & community contact: My interactions with the patients are fairly direct - I get to play games, talk, watch movies and more with them. My contact with the patient's family members (usually their parents) is less frequent. However, most parents at the hospital are nice and enjoy talking with me for a little bit. They do enjoy being able to talk about their experiences and concerns about what is happening with their child - which they may not be able to do too often.
Liked best: For me, the people who I work with in this hospital - be it volunteers, doctors, nurses or receptionists - have really opened me up to an outstanding group of individuals. These people genuinely care about other's well-being; and wanting to go into a medical profession, I feel that that is the most important asset to have. Seattle Children's gives a fantastic example of how a family-friendly hospital should be like.
More information: amy.faris@seattlechildrens.org
Harborview Medical Center
"As a volunteer in the ER, my main responsibility was to make sure the rooms fully stocked with linens and other medical supplies, cleaning and making beds, as well as other random task the Medical Assistants or Nurses needed."
When and for how long: June 2013-September 2014
Provider contact: The main interactions were with Medical Assistants since they are the ones that we reported to and gave us tasks that needed to be done. I also interacted with nurses, physicians, medical students, pharmacists and EMTs by assisting them with tasks they needed, asking questions about procedures and observing some procedures being done.
Patient & community contact: During our volunteer shift we are encouraged to go around to patients and family to ask how they are doing or if they need anything.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was being completely submerged into a high volume and sometimes hectic ER environment, so you can get a real feel for this type of setting. Through this experience I was able to interact with many different types of health care professionals, all of which were really nice and were open to answering any questions I had. Since it is an ER, I was also able to see many different types of patients as well as a variety of reasons why they came in.
More information: Bridget Snow, bridsnow@uw.edu
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Soliciting in order to raise money for the medical supplies we were to bring on our trip. Contact other health professions to assist us on our trip because they are the only way how we can treat them. The volunteers and leaders who were mainly under-graduates were only able to observe, assist and scribe for the health professionals."
When and for how long: From the beginning of 2014 until late september of the same year.
Provider contact: Scribe for the medical care providers. Some students and I were able to become translators between the patients and the health professions. Medical care providers were also able to teach us diseases/sicknesses the patients had, and how we can tell from our diagnosis on how they have it.
Patient & community contact: Consulting with the villagers. Teaching them on how to take their medication. Teaching them what their sickness is. Teaching patients the basics of public health (Water sanitation, risks of drinking alcohol/smoking obsessively, brushing teeth), in order to prevent exposure to some microbes that can cause harm to us.
Liked best: Going to a different country and using my ability to interact with patients in a medical/clinical setting. Working in a clinic that was student ran. A lot of work and communication was required.
More information: info@vnhealth.org
Sea Mar Community Health Centers
"I perform music for residents and patients of the Sea Mar Community Care Center in White Center."
When and for how long: I have been volunteering since March 2014, taking a break over the summer.
Provider contact: I interact primarily with nurses, nursing assistants, and other care staff.
Patient & community contact: I interact with the patients directly when I play music for them. I try to engage them with songs they like and encourage them to sing along.
Liked best: I love seeing the patients/residents respond to my music and sing along with me. I like getting to know them on an individual basis and seeing them regularly.
More information: http://www.seamar.org/static_pages/volunteer.php
Fellowship Bible Church
"I was part of a Medical Outreach team providing medical relief in the jungles of Africa, specifically Liberia. My role was to screen patients, building medical history and symptom reports allowing our limited team of doctors to see more patients quickly."
When and for how long: June 2013 for 3 weeks
Provider contact: I worked side by side both nurses and doctors to bring direly needed medical supplies and aid to one of the poorest nations in the world. I made the initial contact with patients, separating the severely sick to those that are simply dehydrated but lack even the basic knowledge of health awareness to realize it. This allowed the Doctors to maximize time with the truly sick patients coming through our clinic.
Patient & community contact: I was able to have numerous one-on-one patient interactions seeing anywhere from 20-40 patients in a day. Putting the patient at ease, making them comfortable and then making an initial assessment of the patient needs.
Liked best: The best part of this experience was the patient interactions. I have never been exposed to such poverty, sickness and starvation. Meeting countless Africans every day who live incredibly difficult lives was a humbling experience. Learning how to communicate through cultural gaps was both difficult and rewarding. The singly most influential experience was my encounter with my very first patient, a mother bringing her 8 year old son. The boy was severely emaciated and paralyzed to the point that he could not support his own head nor move anything more than his eyes. He had been this way for 2 months and his body was rejecting any sustenance. With primitive medical diagnostic equipment our doctors were unable to do much more than guess what was causing the symptoms. This boy, Togba, stayed under my care for three days before he finally died. I will never forget Togba, and he is largely the reason for my pursuit of medical school.
UW Medical center
"I mainly work as a patient escort and transport patients in wheelchairs and sometimes deliver things like specimen."
When and for how long: Started in winter 2014 and have been there for three quarters
Provider contact: I don't have much contact with medical care providers. Most contact I have are with nurses about questions about patient transportation.
Patient & community contact: I have contact with patients and their family during transportation. I would need to confirm with them where they are going and explain how we are going to get there.
Liked best: meeting a lot of different people
More information: 206-598-4218
UWMC
"escort, greet patients, check on patients and see if they need anything, stocking, cleaning rooms, etc"
When and for how long: almost 2 years
Provider contact: Lots of opportunities to interact with medical care providers especially the nurses since you are often actively acting as a communication bridge between them and the patients while you are rounding on patients and checking if they are doing well. Many opportunities to see healthcare providers and patients contact too.
Patient & community contact: Talk to patients and family members to try to make sure they are staying in the hospital as comfortable as the conditions allowed. Listen to their medical concerns and notify the medical care providers if necessary.
Liked best: Lots of opportunities to interact with both patients and healthcare providers, and learn to deal with different kind of situations.
More information: Main phone: 206-598-4218 UWMC Room NN-303 Appointments may be necessary. Call for Volunteer Manager office hours.
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"As a participant I spent four days shadowing medical professionals in the North Valley Hospital in Tonasket, WA. On the fifth day I, along with my three colleagues, presented to four elementary school classrooms about pursuing higher education."
When and for how long: I participated during my junior year (2013). The program takes place during the week of spring break- between winter and spring quarters.
Provider contact: The beauty of HCASB is that because you are in a rural setting, the work load in the hospital isn't as high as in more urban areas and the doctors have more time to stop and converse. I spent a fair amount of time with both ER doctors, the radiologist, and the orthopedic and general surgeon. Not only were we able to see them work, but they took the time out to ensure that we learned something form our time with them.
Patient & community contact: Other than the family that hosted us, I didn't get too much contact with the patients beyond viewing the normal patient-doctor interactions.
Liked best: The variety. Each doctor was able to describe the benefits of their specific position in the hospital. They all also had a range of advice to give, from what to look for in medical schools to how to approach a first time patient.
More information: http://hcasb.org/
Harrison Medical Center
"My role as a volunteer for the hospital was to help guide patients around the hospital, help support staff provide family members with updates while loved ones were in surgery, and general office support such as filing papers, etc. Patient confidentiality is always a crucial component of working in the hospital setting and along with this responsibility it was crucial that I was efficient and knowledgeable at providing patient support."
When and for how long: Summer 2013, 3 months
Provider contact: During this time I had brief interactions with doctors, as most of my responsibilities and duties required more contact with support staff, receptionists, and nurses rather than direct support to the doctors themselves.
Patient & community contact: Most of my interactions on a day to day basis was with patients and their families, making sure they knew where to go for appointments and helping make them feel welcome and comfortable while in our care at the hospital. I was also in direct contact with other community volunteers who helped out in similar positions that I was in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was getting to understand the patient experience from the time they entered the front doors to the time they left. Having had contact with both patients and their families I got a unique insight into how they felt about their hospital experiences and how we could make changes to make patients and family members as comfortable as possible when having to seek medical care through the providers at our local hospital.
More information: harrisonmedical.org
Harborview Medical Center
"Located in the Emergency Department you assist the Medical Assistants and the Nursing staff with restocking and room set up. Work with patients to make their stay more comfortable, as well as transporting patients to various places. General housekeeping responsibilities."
When and for how long: Oct 2013 - Present
Provider contact: Very constant interactions with MA's and Nurses, by assisting them with their needs of stocking and running errands. Minimal contact with physicians and EMTs, mostly just observation of their interactions with patients.
Patient & community contact: Patient contact varies with the flow of the emergency department. Generally the patient contact includes delivering warm blankets and water to patients, occasionally escorting patients to waiting areas and the pharmacy.
Liked best: The best thing about volunteering in the Emergency Department is the wide variety of patients that you get to interact with and observe the doctor patient relationship. Each week you could interact with entirely different patients than you saw the previous week.
More information: hmcvol@u.washington.edu.
UWMC volunteer servicces
"Transport patients via wheelchair to appointments. Greet, direct and provide way-finding for patients and visitors. Maintain cleanliness of patient and public waiting areas. Escort/walk patients and visitors to clinic locations. Discharge patients to third floor lobby / UWMC entrance. Deliver flowers, mail, books and magazines to patients. Deliver charts, specimens and supplies throughout medical center All around help"
When and for how long: I've been a volunteer for two years
Provider contact: Contact with medical professionals is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Patient & community contact: Contact with medical professionals and families is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Liked best: As a volunteer at the UWMC your experience is entirely in your control. If you are nervous and alittle shyer you can hang back and just deliver specimens,organize paperwork, and direct patients very low key tasks. Or you can volunteer in a department like one of the ICU's and be very much in the middle of the chaos which can be alittle scarier but also very enlightening and a great learning opportunity. However, either way you're getting to see the hospital's inner workings in and get to soak in how the hospital runs while making a difference because have no doubt the UWMC would not work nearly as efficiently without their volunteers.
Other notes: They do not spoon feed you a volunteer position nor check in with how you are doing as a volunteer. To get started you have to take a lot of initiative and once you're a volunteer if you're unhappy in you're position it's up to you to go check in with volunteer services. They're happy to help once you go in but this isn't a volunteer program that cares if you're having a valuable experience or not. If you like a sense of leadership and community from programs you're involved in I wouldn't recommend this one because it is a very independent type of position at the UWMC.But very convenient in proximity.
More information: 206-598-4218 webpage: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
COPE Health Solutions
"Accountable for answering the patients’ call lights and assisting them with basic care requests on the assigned floor unit (about 25 patients) at Swedish Hopsital. Provide patient care after surgery, including assisting nursing staff with feeding patients, ambulating patients, changing linens, visiting with patients, and wound care."
When and for how long: I started August 2014 and am still in the program
Provider contact: There is a lot of contact with nurses and fewer with physicians, but there is still contact and interaction with physicians when they are rounding and checking-in with patients and conversing with them.
Patient & community contact: There is hands-on care with patients where some tasks are done by yourself or with assistance to nurse. The family of patients are often there during the recovery process.
Liked best: You get a lot of hands-on experience with patient care and interaction with health care team in the hospital.
More information: Poornima Bajwa
University of Washington Medical Center
"As a volunteer on the ICU, my main responsibility is to assist nurses. Here is pretty much what I do every time I volunteer... before entering the unit, I check the family waiting room for hot/cold water, napkins, cups etc to make sure there is enough for the patient families. I usually need to refill hot/cold water. After that I check the amount of coffee left in break room for nurses and make coffee for the nurses. There are usually some carts that need to be cleaned and restocked (each cart takes about 40 min to process), and volunteers need to clean the carts. If there is no more carts to clean, I usually stay near the front desk and assist PSS (answer phone calls, issue parking passes, collect blank patient charts, sending & receiving medicines etc). If I get lucky, there might be a chance to watch some procedures."
When and for how long: Since December 2012 till now
Provider contact: Most of the time I interact with nurses and watch busy physicians passing by. Everybody is very busy in the unit, but people are friendly.
Patient & community contact: Most of the patients I see on the unit are very sick and in a lot of pain. They are exhausted by their illnesses, and many of them are sedated. So there is not much interaction. Family members are very worried and stressed out, but they try to be nice if a volunteer offers help. Patient families typically do not ask for anything, but many are grateful that volunteers offer them warm blankets, water, pillow etc.
Liked best: It gives me an idea of the environment of a medical facility. People, especially those who are sick or stressed out, can be tough to deal with. I reassured myself that I like to "interact" with people like them.
More information: UWMC Volunteer Service
University of Washington Global Medical Brigade
"Global Medical Brigades develops sustainable health initiatives and provides relief where there is limited access to health care. Global Medical Brigades is just one part of the Global Brigades organization. Other programs include dental, public health, water, environmental, architecture, law, business, and microfinance. Together, these programs make up the world's largest student-led development organization and work off each other since there are many overlapping factors of our work. For Global Medical Brigades, students and recruited health professionals travel together to rural villages to provide free health care and conduct health education workshops to empower local leaders."
When and for how long: In the club for one year, travelled to Panama for a medical mission for one week of September 2013. (Now the group goes to Nicaragua)
Provider contact: We interacted with nurses and physicians. Triage is usually comprised of nurses and is the next stop for patients after intake. In triage, patients relay their symptoms and ailments while volunteers administer glucose tests, take blood pressure, weigh patients, etc. Nurses oversee any volunteer/patient conversations, aid in translation, description of symptoms, and vital taking. The consultation station is comprised of doctors who attend to patients after they have been through triage. Doctors consult, diagnose and then prescribe the medication they feel is best suited for each individual patient. If a doctor comes across an ailment they feel the brigade does not have the proper medication or equipment to address, that doctor can refer the patient to the clinic for further treatment provided free of cost by Global Medical Brigades. Students purely observe during this rotation with the opportunity to ask the physician questions about diagnosis and treatment plan.
Patient & community contact: Each brigade consists of different stations (typically intake, triage, physician consultation, pharmacy, and health education). Each volunteer will be rotated through each station, although it is much easier to place Spanish speaking volunteers to certain roles, such as translating and triage. Patients generally wait in line to be seen by students working in triage, then by the doctors in the consultation room. All patients receive prescribed medication and vitamins, in addition to attending health education workshops we put on. Volunteers interact with patients at each level, with more observation when shadowing the consultation. We also rotated through a "break" station and in this gap we played games with the children in the school yard.
Liked best: This was an incredible opportunity to experience the lifestyle and culture of a country very different from the US. I appreciated the exposure to diversity, the mode of rural health care in a third world country, and the role of healthcare in the every day context for Panamanians.
Other notes: There is a fee to participate and it's a competitive application. Apps usually open fall quarter with the trip planned for the end of summer following the application cycle.
More information: uwbrigades@gmail.com
Seattle Children's Hospital
"My volunteer title was :Child Life Volunteer. There are many different departments that volunteers can choose from but I chose child life because it had maximum patient interaction. I volunteered 3 hours per week. My role consisted of setting up and cleaning up the communal patient playroom. These tasks were completed at the beginning and end of the shift. In between these times I visited various patient rooms, bringing toys, books, etc. I would spend time with patients and allow parents/guardians to take a break, if they wished."
When and for how long: April 2013-October 2013
Provider contact: I spoke to nurses prior to entering each patient room in order to check base about specific patient precautions or other details.
Patient & community contact: I had direct contact with patients and family members. I visited them in their rooms. My role for the patient was to provide some sort of entertainment or distraction by being a non-medicine related interaction. My role for the parent was to offer assistance by giving them time to leave the patient room with the assurance that someone was still with the patient.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience was interacting with patients. My role was small but it was great to get to know patients/families. Another great aspect about volunteering was simply seeing the environment of Children's. Having volunteered at Swedish Edmonds Hospital prior, I was able to directly compare the environments. It was very eye-opening to see how different hospitals can tailor to the specific needs of their patients.
More information: Chelsea Sandlin
Seattle Children's Hospital in Belleuve
"I had a few different roles at the hospital. I started off as a greeter at the main entrance, making sure to answer that patients and their families feel welcomed and get all the information necessary while at the hospital. I would usually provide information about the facility, such as where the restrooms are, where the vending machines are, where they need to check in for their appointments, what is the closest restaurant or grocery store, how to get on I-5 or 520. My second position was at a Surgery Center desk where I served as a mediator between the medical staff and families of the patients getting the surgical procedure. I was the one to greet them as they walk out of the induction room after their child has been put the sleep, make sure they know around what time the procedure should be done, what are the next steps for them and for their child and to take them either straight to the recovery or to the waiting room. The third position that I am just starting is in the recovery room where I am making sure that recovery rooms are cleaned and set up for the next patient."
When and for how long: I am volunteering there since July 2014
Provider contact: As a volunteer are a surgery center, I had to keep track of the cases and families in the waiting area, recovery and rooms. Drs. needed everything to run smoothly at the waiting room with parents so they can talk to them about the procedure and move to the next case. I had a responsibility of making sure the family is in their assigned waiting room at the time the doctor walks in to talk to them. As the schedules sometimes get very busy, I needed to coordinate with the charge and induction room nurse to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Patient & community contact: Right after the induction room, I was the first person that family and parents would talk to. They would usually be very emotional after seeing their child go to sleep, and I would make sure they are ok. I would let them know how long the procedure is and when the doctor should be coming to talk to them. I would walk them to their waiting room and let them know as soon as they are able to go back to the recovery room and rejoin with their child. In the mean time, for anything they need I would be the first source. I made sure they knew my name and my role and that they are being the most comfortable during their stay.
Liked best: The best thing was to feel that you are making families the most comfortable with their stay in the hospital while their child is getting a procedure. Multiple times I have been thanked for the service as I have contributed to making their stay at the hospital the most pleasant as it can be. Additionally, I got to see how the whole hospital works and how many people and different professions it takes to make the hospital work properly. I as a volunteer had a clear role and felt that I was making a great contribution toward making the families and patients satisfied with the service at Seattle Children's.
More information: Patricia Hovik, patricia.hovik@seattlechildrens.org
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"My role was to plan the actual trip to Goldendale, and then make sure that things went smoothly once we arrived. Otherwise, my main responsibility was to be professional with all the doctors and clinic staff while we shadowed and with the host family after the work day was over."
When and for how long: I was in Goldendale, Washington for one week during UW's spring break.
Provider contact: It was pretty extensive. I shadowed four doctors, one PA, and one ARNP, so I was able to see a lot of different patients, procedures, and styles of care. In addition, I interacted with several nurses. From all of them, I learned a lot about medical care in rural areas and the struggles that can come with that. They came from a variety of areas, with some having lived in rural areas all their lives and others having chosen to move to a smaller town.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients was varied, usually depending on the healthcare provider that I was shadowing and how talkative the patient was. Some of them would talk to me of their own accord and ask about myself, and we would have conversations that way. Other times, the doctor had me take a closer look at something on the patient, so I would get a more scientific interaction with the patient as the doctor explained something to me.
Liked best: The best thing was the large variety in different types of things that I got to see when I was on this trip. Since everyone I shadowed was general practice, I got to see a lot of different types of people and issues. Watching doctors have to grapple with a wide array of issues looked challenging and exciting.
Other notes: HCASB is a good experience for people looking to shadow in rural areas as a way to see what kind of problems healthcare providers must deal with when they do not have all the resources and culture of a big city.
More information: The people in charge of me for HCASB last year all graduated, so I don't know how to contact them now, unfortunately.
Evergreen Hospital
"At the gift shop and the NICU, I didn't interact with any physicians or patients. However, at the Surgical Services desk, I had a nurse supervisor who worked with me. My duties included getting print outs of the surgery schedule for the next day, maintaining the cleanliness of the waiting room, compiling paperwork packets for patients and families to complete before surgery, check in patient family members and obtain their contact information, monitor the progress of the operating room board using online software, answer phone calls, accompany family members to the pre-operation care unit and post-anesthesia care unit, and direct physicians to family members after the surgery is complete."
When and for how long: I was there from 2010-2012, volunteering at the Gift Shop, NICU, and the Surgical Services desk
Provider contact: I worked alongside a nurse supervisor, who helped me with my duties. I also came in contact with surgical nurses who would pick up patients before surgery, as well as post-anesthesia care unit nurses when I went to check on the patients. Finally, I had contact with surgeons when they visited the family members after surgery. If the family member was absent, I would have to write down messages or instructions for the family members from the physician, or I'd have to go pick up a prescription that they'd sent to the pharmacy.
Patient & community contact: I had the most amount of contact with patient family members while they were in the waiting room. There was a wide spectrum of attitudes and behaviors that I saw, which is understandable since it's a very personal experience. Sometimes the family members would talk to me, and sometimes they'd just keep to themselves. At the very least, I always made sure to give them updates whenever the surgery status changed.
Liked best: I got to see a lot of things that I wouldn't have been able to as an outside observer. For instance, I knew next to nothing about the life of surgeons and healthcare policy, but after this experience, I definitely learned a lot. It shocked me that some patients would wait for hours after their scheduled surgery time in the pre-operation unit, because the surgeon had gone overtime on his last surgery. I thought there was a way to prevent that from happening, but it seems like there isn't. Furthermore, I got to see a really wide range of patients come through. Some of them just needed minor surgery (i.e to repair a knee injury), whereas others underwent major operations, like having a brain tumor removed. All of these people went through the Surgical Services desk.
Other notes: In order to work at surgical services, volunteers need to have Level 2 clearance due to exposure to patients. It's definitely a process, and you need to have a good amount of previous volunteer experience at the hospital.
More information: Volunteer office phone number: 425-899-1994
University of Washington Medical Center
"I was an escort at first. I discharged patients and did a lot of deliveries. I was then working as a volunteer in the Emergency Department. My main job was to check in with patients and do whatever the nurses and medical assistants assigned."
When and for how long: 2011 December - 2014 June, two and half years
Provider contact: I worked mainly with the nurses and medical assistants there. I passed on patients' request to them so they could check in with patients. I could also shadow them if there was something I would like to learn. There was once a patient who just had a serious car accident and a group of doctors were doing some procedures, and I was able to watch that.
Patient & community contact: I also communicated with these members a lot since my main job was to check in with them. I rounded in the department and asked everyone whether they were doing okay and if they would like anything. I got to talk to a lot of lonely patients a lot and brought them much comfort.
Liked best: I think I got the chance to talk to and comfort the patients there. Sometimes the Emergency Department was very busy and there were not enough nurses. Patients sometimes felt like they were ignored and I was able to be with them. This was something that nurses or medical assistants were not able to do.
More information: 206-598-4218
Evergreen Hospital
"Discharging patients, various administrative activities, delivering various packages, and escorting visitors."
When and for how long: 2008-2012
Provider contact: You were able to interact with nurses when discharging patients or delivering goods to various wards.
Patient & community contact: There was a lot of patient and visitor contact. The volunteer run information desk was the main location for patients and visitors to learn how to get around the hospital.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience was that the management allows you to think on your feet and problem solve under pressure without giving you direct commands unless the situation demands them.
More information: For more information, call the Volunteer office at 425.899.1994 or email mllong@evergreenhealthcare.org.
Swedish Hospital
"To assist all medical care providers with all types of tasks that promote the efficiency and quality of healthcare towards patients. These tasks can include rounding, transporting and comforting patients, as well as stocking and organizing medical supplies."
When and for how long: 4 hour shifts, past 2 years
Provider contact: I volunteer directly under the supervision and direction of medical care providers. I provide assistance with anything during medical preparations or procedures.
Patient & community contact: I am always checking in on patients during the brief or extended times that they are in the emergency department. My purpose is to provide comfort and information for patients and their families while they wait for procedures or results etc.
Liked best: My favorite experience was with a patient X. I recognized her from a different volunteering facility that I was a part of prior to this position. I had gotten to know her well with that other facility. She was an elderly woman with a severe hearing difficulty, and she too, recognized me when I checked in on her during my rounds at the ER. Her face lit up when she saw my familiar face in the hospital. She has a hard time hearing, and I knew that, so I already had a sense of how to make her feel comfortable and at ease. I spent a good time with her, sitting next to her and holding her hand to provide some comfort in such a busy and overwhelming ER. It really made me happy, and her too, to spend some time together in what can be an upsetting situation: sick and vulnerable at a busy ER.
More information: 425-640-4341
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Sacred Heart Medical Center
"I was an Emergency Room volunteer. I assisted with any non-clinical needs of the nurses, or physicians."
When and for how long: For one year, during march 2012-2013.
Provider contact: I shadowed doctors, was taught basic medical procedures, and observed a multitude of procedures with specialities including: trauma surgery, neurosurgery, pediatric ICU, raidology, and emergency medicine.
Patient & community contact: I was free to visit patients when appropriate, to talk to them and assist with non-clincal requests.
Liked best: Getting experience one on one with doctors and nurses. And learning how patients interact in different healtcare environments. I.E. how to make them feel less uncomfortable than they did.
More information: Brenda Johnson
Oregon Health and Science University Department of Vascular Surgery Summer Research Intern
"Primarily this volunteer opportunity was to conduct chart review studies, but also included clinical studies which involved consenting patients and collecting data from them. Besides conducting research I was also able to shadow the physicians in clinic, in the OR, and on occasion during rounds."
When and for how long: 3 sepearate summers for 3 months each
Provider contact: Because this was a clinical research internship my PI was a physician. The approach at OHSU's Department of Vascula Surgery is very team oriented and so I was able to interact quite a bit with all of the physicians on the team, which includes all of the attendings, the fellows, the residents, the interns, and the medical students. I also was able to interact with the circulation nurse and the scrub nurse down in the OR, as well as the MAs.
Patient & community contact: Through my opportunity I was able to shadow the physicians and attend clinic with them, where I got to interact with patients, and on occasion was also allowed to check for pulses. I interacted with patients in the PACU as well as interacted with patients that I approached to consent for my studies. There were also certain occasions during which I was allowed to shadow the physicians on their rounds.
Liked best: The best things about this experience was how hands on it was and the wide variety of experiences that I got to have was. I was able to do research, as well as shadow and contribute in journal club, it felt like a very comprehensive experience. Though this experiences I feel like I truly got a sense of what a similar career would look like, and I know exactly what I would be getting myself into.
More information: Amber Bruner @ OHSU
Nick of Time Foundation- UW
"To help the Nick of Time Foundation with their mission of increasing awareness of sudden cardiac arrest, as well as increasing availability of heart screenings to adolescents throughout Washington. Namely, to volunteer at their many events and help their cause."
When and for how long: I've been an active member since Fall 2013.
Provider contact: At the heart screenings the NOTF holds, I was able to work side by side with talented cardiologists towards a common goal. This has led to many opportunities to see these doctors in action, as well as talk to them about Medical School and the field in general.
Patient & community contact: Once again at the heart screenings, I have worked closely with patients. This involved placing EKG leads, talking to them prior to the doctor's visit, and teaching them CPR while they wait.
Liked best: Through my volunteer work with the NOTF, I have been given the opportunity to work with doctors towards something that we are all passionate about. It is an amazing chance to learn from them, learn from the patients, and give back to the community.
More information: notfuw@uw.edu
COPE Health Solutions
"Responsibilities include assisting nurses and other staff with tasks involved in patient care such as feeding, changing, and bathing patients. Other office type duties are performed as well as simply sitting in and watching various procedures."
When and for how long: June 2014-Current
Provider contact: This internship provides undergraduate students with 3 month rotations on varying units of the hospital to assist medical staff in providing comfort care tasks for the patients. Also there is the opportunity to shadow doctors and other specialists and sit in on varying procedures.
Patient & community contact: One of the best parts of this volunteer opportunity is that there is a significant amount of interaction with patients and their families. Most of the time the interactions are simple and brief, but other times the patients or family are looking for someone to talk to. One of the best parts about this volunteer position has simply been listening to the stories and experiences of those that I have interacted with.
Liked best: Networking with professionals in the field and seeing them at work
More information: Poornima Bajwa email: pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
Swedish Hospital Edmonds
"Working in the front desk, helping patients, wheel chairing patients."
When and for how long: High School for 1 year
Provider contact: Not very much. Mostly communicated with nurses.
Patient & community contact: Lots of patient interaction.
Liked best: Being in the hospital setting, which allowed me to see the interactions and hospital community. Seeing this actually deterred me away from becoming a doctor because I look more local and close interactions.
More information: Volunteer Coordinator
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"HCASB is a student run organization at UW that organizes healthcare shadowing trips to rural towns in Washington over spring break. It gives pre-health students a chance to understand the unique needs and opportunities of rural medicine, while also increasing their shadowing hours. I was a Team Leader, so I spent Winter quarter contacting different healthcare facilities in Sequim, WA to set up our week of shadowing and where to stay."
When and for how long: Spring Break 2014
Provider contact: I spent four full work days shadowing one on one with several different doctors, including family practice, opthamology, ob/gyn, and geriatric medicine.
Patient & community contact: I got to see healthcare providers working with many different types of patients, from young healthy people, to pregnant women, to elderly people in various states of health. While I did more shadowing than interacting, many patients were friendly and willing to answer questions or talk briefly. We also spent a few hours volunteering at an assisted living facility where we got to participate in the exercise activities with residents.
Liked best: Getting to meet and observe such a good range of medical specialties whom all share the same experience of working in a rural community was most valuable. It gave me insight to what career paths interested me more than others, and allowed me to contrast different perspectives on the benefits and challenges of urban vs. rural medicine.
Other notes: Applications for Team Leader positions close in Fall, and Participant applications close around the start of winter quarter, so its a good idea to start thinking about this beginning of Fall quarter.
More information: hcasb.org
Evergreen Medical Center
"Volunteered as front desk reception as well as delivered lab specimens and discharging of patients."
When and for how long: 170+ hours
Provider contact: Communicated with nurses as to when to discharge patients and any other possible tasks they needed our help with.
Patient & community contact: Talked to patients and family members regularly, whether it was at the front desk when family member were visiting and had question or if it was during the discharge.
Liked best: Interacting with patients and being able to make a, even if slight, difference at the hospital.
More information: Linda Watson

occupational therapists

Group Health Cooperative - Capitol Hill
"I volunteer in the Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy department, doing maintenance/cleaning duties and shadowing physical therapists, getting exposure and experience for the PT profession."
When and for how long: Spring 2014-Present
Provider contact: Contact with Physical Therapists included shadowing/assisting the PTs when needed where appropriate.
Patient & community contact: Assisted patients with some exercises, sometimes just observed and learned diagnostic/rehabilitative strategies & techniques.
Liked best: Group Health is a welcoming environment, and the PT department at Capitol Hill is filled with great role models for the profession. I have the utmost respect for the physical therapists there, and have enjoyed observing and learning from them. Your volunteer hours are flexible, and they help make the volunteering experience work for your schedule.
More information: Jeannette Flodin, flodin.j@ghc.org (Volunteer Coordinator)
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
COPE Health Solutions
"Responsibilities include assisting nurses and other staff with tasks involved in patient care such as feeding, changing, and bathing patients. Other office type duties are performed as well as simply sitting in and watching various procedures."
When and for how long: June 2014-Current
Provider contact: This internship provides undergraduate students with 3 month rotations on varying units of the hospital to assist medical staff in providing comfort care tasks for the patients. Also there is the opportunity to shadow doctors and other specialists and sit in on varying procedures.
Patient & community contact: One of the best parts of this volunteer opportunity is that there is a significant amount of interaction with patients and their families. Most of the time the interactions are simple and brief, but other times the patients or family are looking for someone to talk to. One of the best parts about this volunteer position has simply been listening to the stories and experiences of those that I have interacted with.
Liked best: Networking with professionals in the field and seeing them at work
More information: Poornima Bajwa email: pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org

optometrists

PCLI
"My role at the cataract eye surgery clinic: PCLI was to shadow optometrists, anesthesiologist, and ophthalmologist. as they prepared patients and went through routine checks before they were ready to go through cataract eye surgeries. Then I met the anesthesiologist that numbed the patients and finally the ophthalmologist performing all the surgeries."
When and for how long: September 2014, for one day.
Provider contact: I shadowed the optometrists as they prepared patients and went through routine checks before they were ready to go through cataract eye surgeries. Then I met the anesthesiologist that numbed the patients and finally the ophthalmologist performing all the surgeries.
Patient & community contact: I followed a patient every step of the way, from the waiting room all the way to the end of her surgery. This allowed me to build a strong connection with her because I had become her friend, holding her hand through every step, and was able to hear about her case through the numerous doctors perspectives and for her side as well, regarding her current eye health condition.
Liked best: The very up close experience of being in my very first surgery setting. I felt like I was a doctor at that moment because of how close I was during the process and the connection I had built with the patients and doctors, I felt as though I was one of them.
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"HCASB is a student run organization at UW that organizes healthcare shadowing trips to rural towns in Washington over spring break. It gives pre-health students a chance to understand the unique needs and opportunities of rural medicine, while also increasing their shadowing hours. I was a Team Leader, so I spent Winter quarter contacting different healthcare facilities in Sequim, WA to set up our week of shadowing and where to stay."
When and for how long: Spring Break 2014
Provider contact: I spent four full work days shadowing one on one with several different doctors, including family practice, opthamology, ob/gyn, and geriatric medicine.
Patient & community contact: I got to see healthcare providers working with many different types of patients, from young healthy people, to pregnant women, to elderly people in various states of health. While I did more shadowing than interacting, many patients were friendly and willing to answer questions or talk briefly. We also spent a few hours volunteering at an assisted living facility where we got to participate in the exercise activities with residents.
Liked best: Getting to meet and observe such a good range of medical specialties whom all share the same experience of working in a rural community was most valuable. It gave me insight to what career paths interested me more than others, and allowed me to contrast different perspectives on the benefits and challenges of urban vs. rural medicine.
Other notes: Applications for Team Leader positions close in Fall, and Participant applications close around the start of winter quarter, so its a good idea to start thinking about this beginning of Fall quarter.
More information: hcasb.org
Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute
"I job shadowed many Optometrists working in the medical aspect of optometry. I also sat in on multiple cataract surgeries in the Operating Room."
When and for how long: September 2014, one day
Provider contact: I was able to talk to the doctors and surgeon about what they did for a job. They told me about the pros and cons of their jobs. I was also able to learn a lot about the lifestyles of the doctors outside of the workday.
Patient & community contact: I was able to talk to patients about their symptoms as well as using some of the medical equipment in the office.
Liked best: The best thing about this job shadowing experience was that I was able to see the medical side of optometry that really appeals to me. I was also able to learn about the lifestyle of an optometrist which helped me realize that this is a field that I am very interested in pursuing. The doctors all were able to balance a social and family life outside of their jobs.
More information: Phone number: (360) 748-8632

other

HealthPoint
"My main role was to make reminder phone calls to patients that need to come in for their annual check up/well child check up/mammogram/etc. I would also aid in various other administrative duties when needed."
When and for how long: July-September 2012
Provider contact: I was introduced to all the medical care providers in the clinic and had the option to shadow but I was not able to do so at the time.
Patient & community contact: I would be given a list of patients of all ages to call. The patients were for the most part from the surrounding community. I spoke to many of the patients on these lists about coming into the clinic for the check up they were due for.
Liked best: This was where I first learned not to take negative comments people may say to heart. Often times patients would not know what I was calling for and think I was trying to sell them a product they were not interested in.
Other notes: Although this opportunity did not necessarily provide me experience with a doctor or nurse directly, I was grateful for the patient contact. I was able to talk to patients and learned about the language barriers that may come between a provider and a patient which was not something I had previously thought about before. Also, HealthPoint provides care for many low income families. It is difficult to provide preventative care when patients don't want to come in to see the doctor whether it is for financial reasons or because they don't understand what their check up is for.
More information: 425-277-1566
University of Washington Medical Center
"Escort services: transport of patients flower deliveries specimen deliveries"
When and for how long: September 2014- present (4 months)
Provider contact: very limited
Patient & community contact: lots of patient contact when discharging patients and or transporting them
Liked best: Being able to interact with patients is very helpful to discover how I personally am around sick people. It teaches you what it will be like to provide for all types of people with various illnesses, moods, conditions and personalities.
PCLI
"My role at the cataract eye surgery clinic: PCLI was to shadow optometrists, anesthesiologist, and ophthalmologist. as they prepared patients and went through routine checks before they were ready to go through cataract eye surgeries. Then I met the anesthesiologist that numbed the patients and finally the ophthalmologist performing all the surgeries."
When and for how long: September 2014, for one day.
Provider contact: I shadowed the optometrists as they prepared patients and went through routine checks before they were ready to go through cataract eye surgeries. Then I met the anesthesiologist that numbed the patients and finally the ophthalmologist performing all the surgeries.
Patient & community contact: I followed a patient every step of the way, from the waiting room all the way to the end of her surgery. This allowed me to build a strong connection with her because I had become her friend, holding her hand through every step, and was able to hear about her case through the numerous doctors perspectives and for her side as well, regarding her current eye health condition.
Liked best: The very up close experience of being in my very first surgery setting. I felt like I was a doctor at that moment because of how close I was during the process and the connection I had built with the patients and doctors, I felt as though I was one of them.
Prep Step Health Care Scholar Program at Swedish Medical Center First Hill
"As a prep-step health care scholar I am assigned to a unit in the hospital on a 3 month rotation basis where I assist staff and patients with whatever they need. Duties can include stocking the unit, discharging patients, assisting NAC's and nurses with patient care, taking vitals, rounding on patients, and answering call lights."
When and for how long: I have been a prep-step for a little over 3 months and am currently in the program.
Provider contact: In this position you get a lot of contact with nurses and nursing assistants. The nurses are often willing to let you shadow them while they interact with patients and will answer questions and explain their tasks. Physicians, Physician Assistants, nutritionists, and physical therapists are on the floor less frequently so it is more difficult to talk with them but when they are around, they are often willing to let you watch procedures and ask questions.
Patient & community contact: This program provides lots of opportunity for interaction with patients and their visitors. Through rounding you have the opportunity to go into each patient's room and chat with them and their family if they engage you in conversation. Many of my best experiences I have had occurred through conversations with patients. You also are trained to assist NAC's and nurses with various patient care tasks like walking, taking vitals, feeding, and repositioning.
Liked best: The best part about this experience is being able to make a true difference in a patient's hospital stay. I have had many experiences with patients where I was able to make them feel cared for and comfortable while going through a painful and scary experience. I am also looking forward to experiencing different units in the hospital so I can get a better idea of what area of medicine is right for me.
More information: https://www.l3connect.org/prospective-applicants/cce-faq Program Director: Poornima Bajwa pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
Sea Mar Community Health Centers
"I perform music for residents and patients of the Sea Mar Community Care Center in White Center."
When and for how long: I have been volunteering since March 2014, taking a break over the summer.
Provider contact: I interact primarily with nurses, nursing assistants, and other care staff.
Patient & community contact: I interact with the patients directly when I play music for them. I try to engage them with songs they like and encourage them to sing along.
Liked best: I love seeing the patients/residents respond to my music and sing along with me. I like getting to know them on an individual basis and seeing them regularly.
More information: http://www.seamar.org/static_pages/volunteer.php
Harrison Medical Center
"My role as a volunteer for the hospital was to help guide patients around the hospital, help support staff provide family members with updates while loved ones were in surgery, and general office support such as filing papers, etc. Patient confidentiality is always a crucial component of working in the hospital setting and along with this responsibility it was crucial that I was efficient and knowledgeable at providing patient support."
When and for how long: Summer 2013, 3 months
Provider contact: During this time I had brief interactions with doctors, as most of my responsibilities and duties required more contact with support staff, receptionists, and nurses rather than direct support to the doctors themselves.
Patient & community contact: Most of my interactions on a day to day basis was with patients and their families, making sure they knew where to go for appointments and helping make them feel welcome and comfortable while in our care at the hospital. I was also in direct contact with other community volunteers who helped out in similar positions that I was in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was getting to understand the patient experience from the time they entered the front doors to the time they left. Having had contact with both patients and their families I got a unique insight into how they felt about their hospital experiences and how we could make changes to make patients and family members as comfortable as possible when having to seek medical care through the providers at our local hospital.
More information: harrisonmedical.org
UWMC volunteer servicces
"Transport patients via wheelchair to appointments. Greet, direct and provide way-finding for patients and visitors. Maintain cleanliness of patient and public waiting areas. Escort/walk patients and visitors to clinic locations. Discharge patients to third floor lobby / UWMC entrance. Deliver flowers, mail, books and magazines to patients. Deliver charts, specimens and supplies throughout medical center All around help"
When and for how long: I've been a volunteer for two years
Provider contact: Contact with medical professionals is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Patient & community contact: Contact with medical professionals and families is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Liked best: As a volunteer at the UWMC your experience is entirely in your control. If you are nervous and alittle shyer you can hang back and just deliver specimens,organize paperwork, and direct patients very low key tasks. Or you can volunteer in a department like one of the ICU's and be very much in the middle of the chaos which can be alittle scarier but also very enlightening and a great learning opportunity. However, either way you're getting to see the hospital's inner workings in and get to soak in how the hospital runs while making a difference because have no doubt the UWMC would not work nearly as efficiently without their volunteers.
Other notes: They do not spoon feed you a volunteer position nor check in with how you are doing as a volunteer. To get started you have to take a lot of initiative and once you're a volunteer if you're unhappy in you're position it's up to you to go check in with volunteer services. They're happy to help once you go in but this isn't a volunteer program that cares if you're having a valuable experience or not. If you like a sense of leadership and community from programs you're involved in I wouldn't recommend this one because it is a very independent type of position at the UWMC.But very convenient in proximity.
More information: 206-598-4218 webpage: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
Union Gospel Mission Dental Clinic
"As volunteers, we make sure that the clinic is in order and clean. We also greet patients and set up the stations where they have their appointments. Volunteers learn to assist chair side with local dentists who also volunteer their time at the UGM dental clinic, take x-rays and develop film, and how to sterilize dental tools. Although volunteer work at the UGM dental clinic goes far beyond the office, as volunteers can also help by organizing fundraisers, applying for grants, and other activities that help organize the clinic."
When and for how long: I began volunteering there in August 2014 and still currently volunteer there
Provider contact: I get to work alongside the providers as they are treating and helping patients. It is really great to be able to do this as many of the dentists understand that the volunteers are aspiring to go to dental school, so they are very accommodating with explaining what they are doing and why.
Patient & community contact: At the UGM, we get to work directly with patients by taking their dental history, blood pressure, and encouraging them to consistently come in when they can for dental care. With the patients, our job is to make them feel welcomed and make sure they get the best care possible with the available resources.
Liked best: Not only do I get hands on experience volunteering at the UGM dental clinic, I get to learn so many things about other important aspects in dentistry other than just teeth. For example, I learn the importance of sterilization and how to do that, how to take x-rays, and the incredible work that dental assistants do for dentists. I also get to see a wide range of patients and learn more about them and their lives.
More information: Juanita Banks --> jbanks@ugm.org
Neighborcare Health
"Community outreach volunteer, did outreach to current medical patients to referred them to our dental clinic. Well child check reminders to infants and childrens."
When and for how long: Was there since 2012
Provider contact: Did not really have much contact with medical care providers. I did shadow the dental providers and have a great relationship with them.
Patient & community contact: Usually not much due to working in the office.
Liked best: Learning about how healthcare works.
More information: 206-461-6935 or info@neighborcare.org
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"My role was to plan the actual trip to Goldendale, and then make sure that things went smoothly once we arrived. Otherwise, my main responsibility was to be professional with all the doctors and clinic staff while we shadowed and with the host family after the work day was over."
When and for how long: I was in Goldendale, Washington for one week during UW's spring break.
Provider contact: It was pretty extensive. I shadowed four doctors, one PA, and one ARNP, so I was able to see a lot of different patients, procedures, and styles of care. In addition, I interacted with several nurses. From all of them, I learned a lot about medical care in rural areas and the struggles that can come with that. They came from a variety of areas, with some having lived in rural areas all their lives and others having chosen to move to a smaller town.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients was varied, usually depending on the healthcare provider that I was shadowing and how talkative the patient was. Some of them would talk to me of their own accord and ask about myself, and we would have conversations that way. Other times, the doctor had me take a closer look at something on the patient, so I would get a more scientific interaction with the patient as the doctor explained something to me.
Liked best: The best thing was the large variety in different types of things that I got to see when I was on this trip. Since everyone I shadowed was general practice, I got to see a lot of different types of people and issues. Watching doctors have to grapple with a wide array of issues looked challenging and exciting.
Other notes: HCASB is a good experience for people looking to shadow in rural areas as a way to see what kind of problems healthcare providers must deal with when they do not have all the resources and culture of a big city.
More information: The people in charge of me for HCASB last year all graduated, so I don't know how to contact them now, unfortunately.
Red Cross
"I was a volunteer at first aid stations at various events in Seattle such as Hempfest and alcoholics anonymous. I helped people who need care, from something as small as a bandaid to having a concussion and needing to go to the hospital. This was a very rewarding experience and the red cross gives you all the training for free."
When and for how long: spring/summer/fall 2014
Provider contact: You work with other volunteers and also AMR first responders, EMTs.
Patient & community contact: You have direct contact with community members and you directly treat/help them when you are at the first aid station or when you are doing rounds around the event.
Liked best: There is a lot of patient contact and a lot of opportunities to learn more about first aid and emergency response.
More information: Brendon.Bottle@redcross.org
Washington Oral Health Foundation (WOHF)
"I began by visiting the office once a week to help with office organization of their educational materials. A few months into the volunteering, I took on a larger role and began to make a new presentation for the organization to give to students about oral health. I did the majority of work on this from home on my own computer. In the end, I created 4 presentations for different age-groups that are still being used today by WOHF."
When and for how long: I volunteered there in 2013 for about 8 months.
Provider contact: I consulted a dentist that I job-shadowed for information to include in the presentation material.
Patient & community contact: I did not contact any patients.
Liked best: The best part was that the organization valued my work enough to actually use what I created.
Other notes: I hope to find the time to give the presentation to students soon.
More information: NA-my contact left the organization

pharmacists

Vietnam Health Clinic
"Translate for American doctors and dentists to diagnose Vietnamese villagers. Sort medicine into small bags for prescribing and explain to patients how to use."
When and for how long: 2 weeks but trained for 1 year
Provider contact: Become the voice for the doctors and dentists to help the patients understand dental treatments (usually teeth extractions) or diagnosis.
Patient & community contact: To fund the cost of the medicine and supplies we had to host a banquet which required contact with family and businesses to support us. That year we raised 28K in one night.
Liked best: Living in a foreign country for 2 weeks. Making new friends with the student volunteers and health professionals. Stark difference in the appreciation of care from Vietnamese patients vs American patients.
More information: Scott Fung
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Soliciting in order to raise money for the medical supplies we were to bring on our trip. Contact other health professions to assist us on our trip because they are the only way how we can treat them. The volunteers and leaders who were mainly under-graduates were only able to observe, assist and scribe for the health professionals."
When and for how long: From the beginning of 2014 until late september of the same year.
Provider contact: Scribe for the medical care providers. Some students and I were able to become translators between the patients and the health professions. Medical care providers were also able to teach us diseases/sicknesses the patients had, and how we can tell from our diagnosis on how they have it.
Patient & community contact: Consulting with the villagers. Teaching them on how to take their medication. Teaching them what their sickness is. Teaching patients the basics of public health (Water sanitation, risks of drinking alcohol/smoking obsessively, brushing teeth), in order to prevent exposure to some microbes that can cause harm to us.
Liked best: Going to a different country and using my ability to interact with patients in a medical/clinical setting. Working in a clinic that was student ran. A lot of work and communication was required.
More information: info@vnhealth.org
UWMC Pharmacy
"Re-stock vials, caps, bags and bottles. Filing the written prescriptions in daily bundles. Checking expirations dates (monthly), and identify soon to be outdated medications with expirations stickers."
When and for how long: April 2014, Less than a year
Provider contact: There's a lot of contact with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. They are the ones that assign duties and teach volunteers about their assignment.
Patient & community contact: There is almost no contact with patients for this position.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience is having the opportunity to observe the interaction between pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and patients. Also, volunteering at a pharmacy is insighful because you get to learn and see how a pharmacy operates and what actually takes to deliver the medicine to the patient.
More information: Jennifer Mehlberg
Fellowship Bible Church
"I was part of a Medical Outreach team providing medical relief in the jungles of Africa, specifically Liberia. My role was to screen patients, building medical history and symptom reports allowing our limited team of doctors to see more patients quickly."
When and for how long: June 2013 for 3 weeks
Provider contact: I worked side by side both nurses and doctors to bring direly needed medical supplies and aid to one of the poorest nations in the world. I made the initial contact with patients, separating the severely sick to those that are simply dehydrated but lack even the basic knowledge of health awareness to realize it. This allowed the Doctors to maximize time with the truly sick patients coming through our clinic.
Patient & community contact: I was able to have numerous one-on-one patient interactions seeing anywhere from 20-40 patients in a day. Putting the patient at ease, making them comfortable and then making an initial assessment of the patient needs.
Liked best: The best part of this experience was the patient interactions. I have never been exposed to such poverty, sickness and starvation. Meeting countless Africans every day who live incredibly difficult lives was a humbling experience. Learning how to communicate through cultural gaps was both difficult and rewarding. The singly most influential experience was my encounter with my very first patient, a mother bringing her 8 year old son. The boy was severely emaciated and paralyzed to the point that he could not support his own head nor move anything more than his eyes. He had been this way for 2 months and his body was rejecting any sustenance. With primitive medical diagnostic equipment our doctors were unable to do much more than guess what was causing the symptoms. This boy, Togba, stayed under my care for three days before he finally died. I will never forget Togba, and he is largely the reason for my pursuit of medical school.
University of Washington Medical Center
"I was volunteering at the Outpatient Pharmacy. The main role of the position is to assist the Pharmacy staff in providing the best patient care service by taking responsibilities such as re-stocking vials, caps, and bottles, archiving prescription files and other pharmacy documents, tracking expiration dates to prevent use of outdated medications, and restocking office supplies at individual pharmacy staff stations to increase work efficiency."
When and for how long: It's been half a year and I'm still volunteering at the same location.
Provider contact: Through this volunteer, you are able to closely interact with the pharmacist manager of the Outpatient Pharmacy. The manager takes charge of assigning most jobs done during the volunteer shift depending on the varying assistance needed within the pharmacy. However, I approach the pharmacy technicians for help in terms of identifying medications by category for returned medications to be shelved.
Patient & community contact: Unfortunately, there is no direct contact with patients/family/community members regarding this position. It is with cooperating with the pharmacy staffs only.
Liked best: It is in part a shadowing experience of how a pharmacy works. You are exposed to a team of pharmacy staffs who you can watch and learn what their main duties are and to talk with them during their lunch breaks. Also, as you assist in tracking outdates and placing back return medications, you are able to familiarize the names of the medications and hone your organizational skills.
More information: fossc@uw.edu (Cynnie Foss, Volunteer Program Manager)
Seattle Children's Hospital in Belleuve
"I had a few different roles at the hospital. I started off as a greeter at the main entrance, making sure to answer that patients and their families feel welcomed and get all the information necessary while at the hospital. I would usually provide information about the facility, such as where the restrooms are, where the vending machines are, where they need to check in for their appointments, what is the closest restaurant or grocery store, how to get on I-5 or 520. My second position was at a Surgery Center desk where I served as a mediator between the medical staff and families of the patients getting the surgical procedure. I was the one to greet them as they walk out of the induction room after their child has been put the sleep, make sure they know around what time the procedure should be done, what are the next steps for them and for their child and to take them either straight to the recovery or to the waiting room. The third position that I am just starting is in the recovery room where I am making sure that recovery rooms are cleaned and set up for the next patient."
When and for how long: I am volunteering there since July 2014
Provider contact: As a volunteer are a surgery center, I had to keep track of the cases and families in the waiting area, recovery and rooms. Drs. needed everything to run smoothly at the waiting room with parents so they can talk to them about the procedure and move to the next case. I had a responsibility of making sure the family is in their assigned waiting room at the time the doctor walks in to talk to them. As the schedules sometimes get very busy, I needed to coordinate with the charge and induction room nurse to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Patient & community contact: Right after the induction room, I was the first person that family and parents would talk to. They would usually be very emotional after seeing their child go to sleep, and I would make sure they are ok. I would let them know how long the procedure is and when the doctor should be coming to talk to them. I would walk them to their waiting room and let them know as soon as they are able to go back to the recovery room and rejoin with their child. In the mean time, for anything they need I would be the first source. I made sure they knew my name and my role and that they are being the most comfortable during their stay.
Liked best: The best thing was to feel that you are making families the most comfortable with their stay in the hospital while their child is getting a procedure. Multiple times I have been thanked for the service as I have contributed to making their stay at the hospital the most pleasant as it can be. Additionally, I got to see how the whole hospital works and how many people and different professions it takes to make the hospital work properly. I as a volunteer had a clear role and felt that I was making a great contribution toward making the families and patients satisfied with the service at Seattle Children's.
More information: Patricia Hovik, patricia.hovik@seattlechildrens.org
University of Washington Medical Center
"I was an escort at first. I discharged patients and did a lot of deliveries. I was then working as a volunteer in the Emergency Department. My main job was to check in with patients and do whatever the nurses and medical assistants assigned."
When and for how long: 2011 December - 2014 June, two and half years
Provider contact: I worked mainly with the nurses and medical assistants there. I passed on patients' request to them so they could check in with patients. I could also shadow them if there was something I would like to learn. There was once a patient who just had a serious car accident and a group of doctors were doing some procedures, and I was able to watch that.
Patient & community contact: I also communicated with these members a lot since my main job was to check in with them. I rounded in the department and asked everyone whether they were doing okay and if they would like anything. I got to talk to a lot of lonely patients a lot and brought them much comfort.
Liked best: I think I got the chance to talk to and comfort the patients there. Sometimes the Emergency Department was very busy and there were not enough nurses. Patients sometimes felt like they were ignored and I was able to be with them. This was something that nurses or medical assistants were not able to do.
More information: 206-598-4218
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218

physical therapists

Group Health Cooperative - Capitol Hill
"I volunteer in the Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy department, doing maintenance/cleaning duties and shadowing physical therapists, getting exposure and experience for the PT profession."
When and for how long: Spring 2014-Present
Provider contact: Contact with Physical Therapists included shadowing/assisting the PTs when needed where appropriate.
Patient & community contact: Assisted patients with some exercises, sometimes just observed and learned diagnostic/rehabilitative strategies & techniques.
Liked best: Group Health is a welcoming environment, and the PT department at Capitol Hill is filled with great role models for the profession. I have the utmost respect for the physical therapists there, and have enjoyed observing and learning from them. Your volunteer hours are flexible, and they help make the volunteering experience work for your schedule.
More information: Jeannette Flodin, flodin.j@ghc.org (Volunteer Coordinator)
University of Washington Athletic Department
"I am a sports medicine intern through the University of Washington Athletic department. I shadow different athletic trainers as they treat the athletes. I assist in some rehab and different modalities to help the student athletes in their recovery. I also help by disinfecting and cleaning different pieces of equipment as well as assisting in the set up of onsite first aid and water stations."
When and for how long: From August 2014-present
Provider contact: I work directly under one athletic trainer assigned to one sport and rotate to a different athletic trainer every month or so.
Patient & community contact: I am right beside the athletic trainer as they treat the different patients. I also directly work with the patient by providing them with different treatments such as massage, ice, deep muscle stimulating (DMS), etc.
Liked best: Being able to build a rapport with the athletes that came in for multiple treatments. Working with them directly and building a connection with them by helping them.
More information: Michael Dillon, mldillon@uw.edu
Prep Step Health Care Scholar Program at Swedish Medical Center First Hill
"As a prep-step health care scholar I am assigned to a unit in the hospital on a 3 month rotation basis where I assist staff and patients with whatever they need. Duties can include stocking the unit, discharging patients, assisting NAC's and nurses with patient care, taking vitals, rounding on patients, and answering call lights."
When and for how long: I have been a prep-step for a little over 3 months and am currently in the program.
Provider contact: In this position you get a lot of contact with nurses and nursing assistants. The nurses are often willing to let you shadow them while they interact with patients and will answer questions and explain their tasks. Physicians, Physician Assistants, nutritionists, and physical therapists are on the floor less frequently so it is more difficult to talk with them but when they are around, they are often willing to let you watch procedures and ask questions.
Patient & community contact: This program provides lots of opportunity for interaction with patients and their visitors. Through rounding you have the opportunity to go into each patient's room and chat with them and their family if they engage you in conversation. Many of my best experiences I have had occurred through conversations with patients. You also are trained to assist NAC's and nurses with various patient care tasks like walking, taking vitals, feeding, and repositioning.
Liked best: The best part about this experience is being able to make a true difference in a patient's hospital stay. I have had many experiences with patients where I was able to make them feel cared for and comfortable while going through a painful and scary experience. I am also looking forward to experiencing different units in the hospital so I can get a better idea of what area of medicine is right for me.
More information: https://www.l3connect.org/prospective-applicants/cce-faq Program Director: Poornima Bajwa pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
Little Bit Theraputic Riding Center
"Interact with horses and children with disabilities and their parents."
When and for how long: High school 4 years and college
Provider contact: Physical therapists control the class and give instructions.
Patient & community contact: Talk to parents before and after the class, help the kids ride and play games with them.
Liked best: Seeing the kids have fun and seeing the differences from week to week
More information: (425) 882-1554
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Soliciting in order to raise money for the medical supplies we were to bring on our trip. Contact other health professions to assist us on our trip because they are the only way how we can treat them. The volunteers and leaders who were mainly under-graduates were only able to observe, assist and scribe for the health professionals."
When and for how long: From the beginning of 2014 until late september of the same year.
Provider contact: Scribe for the medical care providers. Some students and I were able to become translators between the patients and the health professions. Medical care providers were also able to teach us diseases/sicknesses the patients had, and how we can tell from our diagnosis on how they have it.
Patient & community contact: Consulting with the villagers. Teaching them on how to take their medication. Teaching them what their sickness is. Teaching patients the basics of public health (Water sanitation, risks of drinking alcohol/smoking obsessively, brushing teeth), in order to prevent exposure to some microbes that can cause harm to us.
Liked best: Going to a different country and using my ability to interact with patients in a medical/clinical setting. Working in a clinic that was student ran. A lot of work and communication was required.
More information: info@vnhealth.org
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"HCASB is a student run organization at UW that organizes healthcare shadowing trips to rural towns in Washington over spring break. It gives pre-health students a chance to understand the unique needs and opportunities of rural medicine, while also increasing their shadowing hours. I was a Team Leader, so I spent Winter quarter contacting different healthcare facilities in Sequim, WA to set up our week of shadowing and where to stay."
When and for how long: Spring Break 2014
Provider contact: I spent four full work days shadowing one on one with several different doctors, including family practice, opthamology, ob/gyn, and geriatric medicine.
Patient & community contact: I got to see healthcare providers working with many different types of patients, from young healthy people, to pregnant women, to elderly people in various states of health. While I did more shadowing than interacting, many patients were friendly and willing to answer questions or talk briefly. We also spent a few hours volunteering at an assisted living facility where we got to participate in the exercise activities with residents.
Liked best: Getting to meet and observe such a good range of medical specialties whom all share the same experience of working in a rural community was most valuable. It gave me insight to what career paths interested me more than others, and allowed me to contrast different perspectives on the benefits and challenges of urban vs. rural medicine.
Other notes: Applications for Team Leader positions close in Fall, and Participant applications close around the start of winter quarter, so its a good idea to start thinking about this beginning of Fall quarter.
More information: hcasb.org

physician assistants

UWMC
"My role as a medical volunteer was to interact with many patients and keep the medical environment clean. By greeting people, helping them find their way throughout the center, and aid those who need help, I create an open and friendly environment for UWMC. By wiping down equipment after use, deliver paperwork and charts, and make sure equipment is stocked, I keep the medical environment clean and organized."
When and for how long: Flexible hours (4 hours a week) for one year.
Provider contact: My contact with medical care providers is through delivering charts and paperwork to those who request it. I also assist them with non-patient care duties.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients is to provide them with as much help as I can, including escorting patients to locations, transporting those in wheelchairs, and delivering items to patients, while maintaining a friendly environment.
Liked best: Lots of exposure. If you need a place to learn about the everyday workings of a medical institution, this is the place for you.
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
University of Washington Medical Center
"As a patient escort, my role was to provide services such as transporting patients in wheelchairs, blood refrigerators, patient test samples, letters, and gifts. In addition I also helped with paperwork by preparing mail, patient info forms, and filing patient charts. It was also common for me to act as a greeter with one or two other volunteer escorts by directing patients to where they need to go or walking them to their destination if possible."
When and for how long: Mostly on weekends, 4 hr a week for three years.
Provider contact: Little to no interaction with medical care providers. Never spoke to a doctor, spoke with some nurses but only to clarify objectives. Often spoke to med technicians and lab technicians on delivery pickup/dropoff.
Patient & community contact: High amount of patient interaction potential as well as with family members. A lot of experience with patient management is possible due to the nature of the escort position. Also worth noting is that you meet a lot of UW students and individuals from the Seattle area who are somewhere in the application process for a health related profession as well as members of the community (often retired) who are passionate about giving to the community.
Liked best: This was my first experience being in an environment where I was given responsibility of providing service to patients. Back in high school I was a really shy and quiet person, but volunteering as an escort forced me to be proactive and initiate conversations with patients and visitors in order to provide excellent service. Patient interaction was also a really eye opening experience. Being able to talk to patients span a wide range of backgrounds as well as handle stressful situations dealing with patient management are definitely skills that can be learned. I think this personal growth, in addition to being able to observe the mechanics of how one of the best hospitals in our nation come together, is really great.
Other notes: While volunteering I often heard others complain that they aren't able to interact with doctors, nurses, PAs, etc. while being an escort. In my opinion those types of experiences are acquired through shadowing. This experience is heavily correlated with how much personal effort a person makes to take on tasks and proactively provide service to patients. In addition, while volunteering I have seen lots of changes happen to the volunteer program. When I started there were many things escorts were able to do, but since then there have been more and more restrictions and cutbacks on the variety of tasks escorts can do. I think it's mostly limited to patient transport and greeting now. It's partially due to this that I chose to retire from volunteering at the UWMC after three years and move onto other volunteering projects.
More information: Volunteer Services: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer/requirements/application
RYGB Animal Mechanisms Lab, Surgical Outcomes Research Center (SORCE)
"As an intern at the RYGB Animal Mechanisms Lab, I cared for the pigs in my lab through daily animal husbandry procedures. After the pigs underwent the bariatric surgery per the lab's protocol, I carried out critical care procedures where I administered controlled substance pain medications to the pigs. I also received certification under the Department of Surgery at the UW to scrub-in to human and animal surgeries. I had to perform a kidney removal from a rat under supervision of a veterinarian in Veterinary Services. After successful completion of the kidney removal, I was then allowed to assist in the bariatric surgery on the pigs in my lab. I was also trained on how to suture following surgery."
When and for how long: I was an intern for a year from 2013-2014
Provider contact: I worked directly with veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary specialists.
Patient & community contact: I worked with animals.
Liked best: I received a lot of hands on experience working with and operating on animals.
Other notes: RYGB is no longer around, however SORCE provides volunteer internships similar to it that I would highly recommend!
More information: http://uwsurgery.org/divisions/surgerycenters/sorce/sorce-intro
Harborview
"Worked in the ER, helped RNs and doctors Restocked shelves Cleaned and prepared cots Observed Trauma Care"
When and for how long: Summer of Junior Year
Provider contact: Mostly observation
Patient & community contact: I did not interact with patients unless they requested my assistance
Liked best: I think the best part was observing the health care providers and seeing how a hospital ran from the inside.
Prep Step Health Care Scholar Program at Swedish Medical Center First Hill
"As a prep-step health care scholar I am assigned to a unit in the hospital on a 3 month rotation basis where I assist staff and patients with whatever they need. Duties can include stocking the unit, discharging patients, assisting NAC's and nurses with patient care, taking vitals, rounding on patients, and answering call lights."
When and for how long: I have been a prep-step for a little over 3 months and am currently in the program.
Provider contact: In this position you get a lot of contact with nurses and nursing assistants. The nurses are often willing to let you shadow them while they interact with patients and will answer questions and explain their tasks. Physicians, Physician Assistants, nutritionists, and physical therapists are on the floor less frequently so it is more difficult to talk with them but when they are around, they are often willing to let you watch procedures and ask questions.
Patient & community contact: This program provides lots of opportunity for interaction with patients and their visitors. Through rounding you have the opportunity to go into each patient's room and chat with them and their family if they engage you in conversation. Many of my best experiences I have had occurred through conversations with patients. You also are trained to assist NAC's and nurses with various patient care tasks like walking, taking vitals, feeding, and repositioning.
Liked best: The best part about this experience is being able to make a true difference in a patient's hospital stay. I have had many experiences with patients where I was able to make them feel cared for and comfortable while going through a painful and scary experience. I am also looking forward to experiencing different units in the hospital so I can get a better idea of what area of medicine is right for me.
More information: https://www.l3connect.org/prospective-applicants/cce-faq Program Director: Poornima Bajwa pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
Harborview Medical Center
"As a volunteer in the ER, my main responsibility was to make sure the rooms fully stocked with linens and other medical supplies, cleaning and making beds, as well as other random task the Medical Assistants or Nurses needed."
When and for how long: June 2013-September 2014
Provider contact: The main interactions were with Medical Assistants since they are the ones that we reported to and gave us tasks that needed to be done. I also interacted with nurses, physicians, medical students, pharmacists and EMTs by assisting them with tasks they needed, asking questions about procedures and observing some procedures being done.
Patient & community contact: During our volunteer shift we are encouraged to go around to patients and family to ask how they are doing or if they need anything.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was being completely submerged into a high volume and sometimes hectic ER environment, so you can get a real feel for this type of setting. Through this experience I was able to interact with many different types of health care professionals, all of which were really nice and were open to answering any questions I had. Since it is an ER, I was also able to see many different types of patients as well as a variety of reasons why they came in.
More information: Bridget Snow, bridsnow@uw.edu
UWMC
"escort, greet patients, check on patients and see if they need anything, stocking, cleaning rooms, etc"
When and for how long: almost 2 years
Provider contact: Lots of opportunities to interact with medical care providers especially the nurses since you are often actively acting as a communication bridge between them and the patients while you are rounding on patients and checking if they are doing well. Many opportunities to see healthcare providers and patients contact too.
Patient & community contact: Talk to patients and family members to try to make sure they are staying in the hospital as comfortable as the conditions allowed. Listen to their medical concerns and notify the medical care providers if necessary.
Liked best: Lots of opportunities to interact with both patients and healthcare providers, and learn to deal with different kind of situations.
More information: Main phone: 206-598-4218 UWMC Room NN-303 Appointments may be necessary. Call for Volunteer Manager office hours.
Harrison Medical Center
"My role as a volunteer for the hospital was to help guide patients around the hospital, help support staff provide family members with updates while loved ones were in surgery, and general office support such as filing papers, etc. Patient confidentiality is always a crucial component of working in the hospital setting and along with this responsibility it was crucial that I was efficient and knowledgeable at providing patient support."
When and for how long: Summer 2013, 3 months
Provider contact: During this time I had brief interactions with doctors, as most of my responsibilities and duties required more contact with support staff, receptionists, and nurses rather than direct support to the doctors themselves.
Patient & community contact: Most of my interactions on a day to day basis was with patients and their families, making sure they knew where to go for appointments and helping make them feel welcome and comfortable while in our care at the hospital. I was also in direct contact with other community volunteers who helped out in similar positions that I was in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was getting to understand the patient experience from the time they entered the front doors to the time they left. Having had contact with both patients and their families I got a unique insight into how they felt about their hospital experiences and how we could make changes to make patients and family members as comfortable as possible when having to seek medical care through the providers at our local hospital.
More information: harrisonmedical.org
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"My role was to plan the actual trip to Goldendale, and then make sure that things went smoothly once we arrived. Otherwise, my main responsibility was to be professional with all the doctors and clinic staff while we shadowed and with the host family after the work day was over."
When and for how long: I was in Goldendale, Washington for one week during UW's spring break.
Provider contact: It was pretty extensive. I shadowed four doctors, one PA, and one ARNP, so I was able to see a lot of different patients, procedures, and styles of care. In addition, I interacted with several nurses. From all of them, I learned a lot about medical care in rural areas and the struggles that can come with that. They came from a variety of areas, with some having lived in rural areas all their lives and others having chosen to move to a smaller town.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients was varied, usually depending on the healthcare provider that I was shadowing and how talkative the patient was. Some of them would talk to me of their own accord and ask about myself, and we would have conversations that way. Other times, the doctor had me take a closer look at something on the patient, so I would get a more scientific interaction with the patient as the doctor explained something to me.
Liked best: The best thing was the large variety in different types of things that I got to see when I was on this trip. Since everyone I shadowed was general practice, I got to see a lot of different types of people and issues. Watching doctors have to grapple with a wide array of issues looked challenging and exciting.
Other notes: HCASB is a good experience for people looking to shadow in rural areas as a way to see what kind of problems healthcare providers must deal with when they do not have all the resources and culture of a big city.
More information: The people in charge of me for HCASB last year all graduated, so I don't know how to contact them now, unfortunately.
University of Washington Medical Center
"I was an escort at first. I discharged patients and did a lot of deliveries. I was then working as a volunteer in the Emergency Department. My main job was to check in with patients and do whatever the nurses and medical assistants assigned."
When and for how long: 2011 December - 2014 June, two and half years
Provider contact: I worked mainly with the nurses and medical assistants there. I passed on patients' request to them so they could check in with patients. I could also shadow them if there was something I would like to learn. There was once a patient who just had a serious car accident and a group of doctors were doing some procedures, and I was able to watch that.
Patient & community contact: I also communicated with these members a lot since my main job was to check in with them. I rounded in the department and asked everyone whether they were doing okay and if they would like anything. I got to talk to a lot of lonely patients a lot and brought them much comfort.
Liked best: I think I got the chance to talk to and comfort the patients there. Sometimes the Emergency Department was very busy and there were not enough nurses. Patients sometimes felt like they were ignored and I was able to be with them. This was something that nurses or medical assistants were not able to do.
More information: 206-598-4218
Swedish Hospital
"To assist all medical care providers with all types of tasks that promote the efficiency and quality of healthcare towards patients. These tasks can include rounding, transporting and comforting patients, as well as stocking and organizing medical supplies."
When and for how long: 4 hour shifts, past 2 years
Provider contact: I volunteer directly under the supervision and direction of medical care providers. I provide assistance with anything during medical preparations or procedures.
Patient & community contact: I am always checking in on patients during the brief or extended times that they are in the emergency department. My purpose is to provide comfort and information for patients and their families while they wait for procedures or results etc.
Liked best: My favorite experience was with a patient X. I recognized her from a different volunteering facility that I was a part of prior to this position. I had gotten to know her well with that other facility. She was an elderly woman with a severe hearing difficulty, and she too, recognized me when I checked in on her during my rounds at the ER. Her face lit up when she saw my familiar face in the hospital. She has a hard time hearing, and I knew that, so I already had a sense of how to make her feel comfortable and at ease. I spent a good time with her, sitting next to her and holding her hand to provide some comfort in such a busy and overwhelming ER. It really made me happy, and her too, to spend some time together in what can be an upsetting situation: sick and vulnerable at a busy ER.
More information: 425-640-4341
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Sacred Heart Medical Center
"I was an Emergency Room volunteer. I assisted with any non-clinical needs of the nurses, or physicians."
When and for how long: For one year, during march 2012-2013.
Provider contact: I shadowed doctors, was taught basic medical procedures, and observed a multitude of procedures with specialities including: trauma surgery, neurosurgery, pediatric ICU, raidology, and emergency medicine.
Patient & community contact: I was free to visit patients when appropriate, to talk to them and assist with non-clincal requests.
Liked best: Getting experience one on one with doctors and nurses. And learning how patients interact in different healtcare environments. I.E. how to make them feel less uncomfortable than they did.
More information: Brenda Johnson
Oregon Health and Science University Department of Vascular Surgery Summer Research Intern
"Primarily this volunteer opportunity was to conduct chart review studies, but also included clinical studies which involved consenting patients and collecting data from them. Besides conducting research I was also able to shadow the physicians in clinic, in the OR, and on occasion during rounds."
When and for how long: 3 sepearate summers for 3 months each
Provider contact: Because this was a clinical research internship my PI was a physician. The approach at OHSU's Department of Vascula Surgery is very team oriented and so I was able to interact quite a bit with all of the physicians on the team, which includes all of the attendings, the fellows, the residents, the interns, and the medical students. I also was able to interact with the circulation nurse and the scrub nurse down in the OR, as well as the MAs.
Patient & community contact: Through my opportunity I was able to shadow the physicians and attend clinic with them, where I got to interact with patients, and on occasion was also allowed to check for pulses. I interacted with patients in the PACU as well as interacted with patients that I approached to consent for my studies. There were also certain occasions during which I was allowed to shadow the physicians on their rounds.
Liked best: The best things about this experience was how hands on it was and the wide variety of experiences that I got to have was. I was able to do research, as well as shadow and contribute in journal club, it felt like a very comprehensive experience. Though this experiences I feel like I truly got a sense of what a similar career would look like, and I know exactly what I would be getting myself into.
More information: Amber Bruner @ OHSU
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"HCASB is a student run organization at UW that organizes healthcare shadowing trips to rural towns in Washington over spring break. It gives pre-health students a chance to understand the unique needs and opportunities of rural medicine, while also increasing their shadowing hours. I was a Team Leader, so I spent Winter quarter contacting different healthcare facilities in Sequim, WA to set up our week of shadowing and where to stay."
When and for how long: Spring Break 2014
Provider contact: I spent four full work days shadowing one on one with several different doctors, including family practice, opthamology, ob/gyn, and geriatric medicine.
Patient & community contact: I got to see healthcare providers working with many different types of patients, from young healthy people, to pregnant women, to elderly people in various states of health. While I did more shadowing than interacting, many patients were friendly and willing to answer questions or talk briefly. We also spent a few hours volunteering at an assisted living facility where we got to participate in the exercise activities with residents.
Liked best: Getting to meet and observe such a good range of medical specialties whom all share the same experience of working in a rural community was most valuable. It gave me insight to what career paths interested me more than others, and allowed me to contrast different perspectives on the benefits and challenges of urban vs. rural medicine.
Other notes: Applications for Team Leader positions close in Fall, and Participant applications close around the start of winter quarter, so its a good idea to start thinking about this beginning of Fall quarter.
More information: hcasb.org

physicians

UWMC
"My role as a medical volunteer was to interact with many patients and keep the medical environment clean. By greeting people, helping them find their way throughout the center, and aid those who need help, I create an open and friendly environment for UWMC. By wiping down equipment after use, deliver paperwork and charts, and make sure equipment is stocked, I keep the medical environment clean and organized."
When and for how long: Flexible hours (4 hours a week) for one year.
Provider contact: My contact with medical care providers is through delivering charts and paperwork to those who request it. I also assist them with non-patient care duties.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients is to provide them with as much help as I can, including escorting patients to locations, transporting those in wheelchairs, and delivering items to patients, while maintaining a friendly environment.
Liked best: Lots of exposure. If you need a place to learn about the everyday workings of a medical institution, this is the place for you.
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
Camp Korey
"Take care of the campers (campers were separated into cabins by age groups) and take whole cabin activity to activity, as well as make sure the campers take their designated medicine at the appropriate times."
When and for how long: Summer 2014, week-long
Provider contact: We mainly checked in with our designated cabin's nurse to make sure the campers have taken their medications and if there was anything to watch out for, but there was a constant direct contact.
Patient & community contact: Family wasn't allowed at the camp other than to drop and pick off their kids. But we oversaw everything the patients (campers) did throughout the week and watched out for their wellbeing. We kept the spirit and energy up as well!
Liked best: Being able to be around children, who are facing life's biggest struggles, and still see them be overjoyed by life's small, happy moments is incredibly heartwarming. It was an exhausting volunteer position, but it was very rewarding seeing how you can make an impact on these kids' lives.
More information: Janelle Kitson: 425-844-3190, jkitson@campkorey.org
Seattle Children's (Observership)
"Shadowing neurosurgeons in the OR."
When and for how long: Fall Quarter 2014
Provider contact: Spoke with surgeons, residents, nurses and other medical assistants.
Patient & community contact: None.
Liked best: Being in the OR was incredible! I was right by the bed as the surgeries took place.
More information: Search for "Observership" on the web site under "Education"; this is an application
Seattle Children's (Observership)
"This program guaranteed 20 shadowing hours over the course of a quarter. I was paired with a neurosurgeon and was able to shadow him in the operating room and during his clinic times."
When and for how long: Fall 2013, one quarter
Provider contact: I had direct contact with the attending physician, the fellows, the residents, the nurses, and the technicians.
Patient & community contact: I had very limited direct interaction with patients or family members, but I was able to observe their interactions with the physician.
Liked best: This experience gave me great insight into "the day in the life" of a physician. I learned a lot about how a doctor interacts with patients and coworkers and how a hospital is organized and run.
More information: search for "Observership", within the "Education" section of the web site; this is an application
RYGB Animal Mechanisms Lab, Surgical Outcomes Research Center (SORCE)
"As an intern at the RYGB Animal Mechanisms Lab, I cared for the pigs in my lab through daily animal husbandry procedures. After the pigs underwent the bariatric surgery per the lab's protocol, I carried out critical care procedures where I administered controlled substance pain medications to the pigs. I also received certification under the Department of Surgery at the UW to scrub-in to human and animal surgeries. I had to perform a kidney removal from a rat under supervision of a veterinarian in Veterinary Services. After successful completion of the kidney removal, I was then allowed to assist in the bariatric surgery on the pigs in my lab. I was also trained on how to suture following surgery."
When and for how long: I was an intern for a year from 2013-2014
Provider contact: I worked directly with veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary specialists.
Patient & community contact: I worked with animals.
Liked best: I received a lot of hands on experience working with and operating on animals.
Other notes: RYGB is no longer around, however SORCE provides volunteer internships similar to it that I would highly recommend!
More information: http://uwsurgery.org/divisions/surgerycenters/sorce/sorce-intro
Prep-Step Health Care Scholarship Program
"Help out the nursing staff and NAC staff on the patient floors with patient care such as: cleaning up, providing meals, talking to patients, running messages to the staff, and ambulating patients."
When and for how long: Since August 2014 to currently
Provider contact: I directly get instruction and advice from the healthcare staff. Physicians are relatively rare throughout the day, but I get to see the constant work that the nurses and NAC's do all day.
Patient & community contact: I have the opportunity to speak directly with patients and their family members. Sometimes patients want to be left alone, but sometimes they want more interaction than the nurses can provide with their busy schedules.
Liked best: Getting to spend extended time with the nursing staff and seeing how important treating patients as individual people is to their overall care and experience in the hospital.
More information: 206-386-3879
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Translate for American doctors and dentists to diagnose Vietnamese villagers. Sort medicine into small bags for prescribing and explain to patients how to use."
When and for how long: 2 weeks but trained for 1 year
Provider contact: Become the voice for the doctors and dentists to help the patients understand dental treatments (usually teeth extractions) or diagnosis.
Patient & community contact: To fund the cost of the medicine and supplies we had to host a banquet which required contact with family and businesses to support us. That year we raised 28K in one night.
Liked best: Living in a foreign country for 2 weeks. Making new friends with the student volunteers and health professionals. Stark difference in the appreciation of care from Vietnamese patients vs American patients.
More information: Scott Fung
Harborview
"Worked in the ER, helped RNs and doctors Restocked shelves Cleaned and prepared cots Observed Trauma Care"
When and for how long: Summer of Junior Year
Provider contact: Mostly observation
Patient & community contact: I did not interact with patients unless they requested my assistance
Liked best: I think the best part was observing the health care providers and seeing how a hospital ran from the inside.
Med Life
"Volunteer for a medical brigade- to bring free medicine/healthcare to underserved, and impoverished communities. I went on two separate occasions- once in Lima, Peru, and then in Tena, Ecuador. Both wonderful experiences, I got to help heakth professionals set up the clinics, sort medicine, translate, and take vitals and mecial history of the patients."
When and for how long: April 2012; December 2013
Provider contact: Side by side, watching them work! Sometimes I would translate from Spanish to English for other students observing.
Patient & community contact: Once again, very hands on, especially when writing down medical history and taking vitals. I got to learn a lot about the way certain people in communities live, by speaking to people who waited in line for care.
Liked best: It simply feels good to help people who need it.
More information: www.medlifeweb.org
Prep Step Health Care Scholar Program at Swedish Medical Center First Hill
"As a prep-step health care scholar I am assigned to a unit in the hospital on a 3 month rotation basis where I assist staff and patients with whatever they need. Duties can include stocking the unit, discharging patients, assisting NAC's and nurses with patient care, taking vitals, rounding on patients, and answering call lights."
When and for how long: I have been a prep-step for a little over 3 months and am currently in the program.
Provider contact: In this position you get a lot of contact with nurses and nursing assistants. The nurses are often willing to let you shadow them while they interact with patients and will answer questions and explain their tasks. Physicians, Physician Assistants, nutritionists, and physical therapists are on the floor less frequently so it is more difficult to talk with them but when they are around, they are often willing to let you watch procedures and ask questions.
Patient & community contact: This program provides lots of opportunity for interaction with patients and their visitors. Through rounding you have the opportunity to go into each patient's room and chat with them and their family if they engage you in conversation. Many of my best experiences I have had occurred through conversations with patients. You also are trained to assist NAC's and nurses with various patient care tasks like walking, taking vitals, feeding, and repositioning.
Liked best: The best part about this experience is being able to make a true difference in a patient's hospital stay. I have had many experiences with patients where I was able to make them feel cared for and comfortable while going through a painful and scary experience. I am also looking forward to experiencing different units in the hospital so I can get a better idea of what area of medicine is right for me.
More information: https://www.l3connect.org/prospective-applicants/cce-faq Program Director: Poornima Bajwa pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
UW Medical Center
"Transporting stable patients, restocking medical supplies, and bringing biological samples to the labs."
When and for how long: Summer 2013-Winter 2014
Provider contact: Being close to the patients allowed me to see how medical care providers interacted with them. This gave me a better sense of how to interact with and care for patients in difficult circumstances. I often observed doctors and nurses navigate through difficult conversations to give their patients hope for the next step of their treatment.
Patient & community contact: Transporting patients meant that I often was able to have conversations with them about life. From these chats I got a better sense of the patient perspective with regards to hospital settings and medicine in general.
Liked best: More often than not, patients were very willing to give me life advice or express their expectations of a good doctor. The experience made me realize that I can often get just as much support from patients as I can give to them.
More information: 206-598-4218
Seattle Children's Hospital
"Child Life volunteer. I was going to the patients' rooms or playing with the patients at the playroom."
When and for how long: Fall, Winter 2012
Provider contact: I need to check in/out with the nurses before and after I played with patients. I was sometimes allowed to stay in the room while doctors were examining the patients.
Patient & community contact: I was directly in contact with the parents/caregivers of the patients. I not only played with the kids and entertaining them, but also was giving some space for the parents so that they can have some free time for themselves.
Liked best: Making kids happy. The best reward was to seeing unhealthy and sometimes unhappy kids smiling and having fun.
More information: Alison Garrison, email: alison.garrison@seattlechildrens.org
University of Washington Medical Center
"Volunteer patient escort: escorting patients around the hospital via wheelchairs or walking Volunteer in ICU: cleaning/stocking medical supplies, retrieving items for patients, clerical duties (answering the phone, filing paperwork)"
When and for how long: 2011-2013
Provider contact: Opportunity to observe procedures performed by physicians
Patient & community contact: Reading to and/or feeding patients, escorting families and patients in and out of the hospital
Liked best: Interacting with patients, observing the harsh realities, and also the beauty of medicine
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
Seattle Children's Hospital
"I volunteer in the Child Life department - so my major role is to interact (basically spend time/hang out and play) with patients in need. This may be due to the patient's parents needing a break, or it can be a case where the patient's family is not in the same country. Either way, the goal is to let the patient feel more at home at the hospital by providing them with a better experience during their stay at Seattle Children's. Before and after spending time with patients, I help clean and organize toys for the playroom, as well as prepare and clean up the playroom itself."
When and for how long: Started in Fall of 2013, and still volunteering
Provider contact: Before I visit each patient, I get to speak with the nurse about any problems or concerns I should keep in mind about the patient. The nurse will occasionally visit the room (usually to check vitals) during my stay. Generally, the nurses are quite friendly, and will ask me about what I do, what I am studying and what my future goals are. On 'rare' occasions, a doctor (presumably the surgeon for the patient in some cases), and more often residences, will stop by as well. In these instances, they may also ask about my background - but usually they are concentrating on the patient! (Which does give a good insight on what they do)
Patient & community contact: My interactions with the patients are fairly direct - I get to play games, talk, watch movies and more with them. My contact with the patient's family members (usually their parents) is less frequent. However, most parents at the hospital are nice and enjoy talking with me for a little bit. They do enjoy being able to talk about their experiences and concerns about what is happening with their child - which they may not be able to do too often.
Liked best: For me, the people who I work with in this hospital - be it volunteers, doctors, nurses or receptionists - have really opened me up to an outstanding group of individuals. These people genuinely care about other's well-being; and wanting to go into a medical profession, I feel that that is the most important asset to have. Seattle Children's gives a fantastic example of how a family-friendly hospital should be like.
More information: amy.faris@seattlechildrens.org
Harborview Medical Center
"As a volunteer in the ER, my main responsibility was to make sure the rooms fully stocked with linens and other medical supplies, cleaning and making beds, as well as other random task the Medical Assistants or Nurses needed."
When and for how long: June 2013-September 2014
Provider contact: The main interactions were with Medical Assistants since they are the ones that we reported to and gave us tasks that needed to be done. I also interacted with nurses, physicians, medical students, pharmacists and EMTs by assisting them with tasks they needed, asking questions about procedures and observing some procedures being done.
Patient & community contact: During our volunteer shift we are encouraged to go around to patients and family to ask how they are doing or if they need anything.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was being completely submerged into a high volume and sometimes hectic ER environment, so you can get a real feel for this type of setting. Through this experience I was able to interact with many different types of health care professionals, all of which were really nice and were open to answering any questions I had. Since it is an ER, I was also able to see many different types of patients as well as a variety of reasons why they came in.
More information: Bridget Snow, bridsnow@uw.edu
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Soliciting in order to raise money for the medical supplies we were to bring on our trip. Contact other health professions to assist us on our trip because they are the only way how we can treat them. The volunteers and leaders who were mainly under-graduates were only able to observe, assist and scribe for the health professionals."
When and for how long: From the beginning of 2014 until late september of the same year.
Provider contact: Scribe for the medical care providers. Some students and I were able to become translators between the patients and the health professions. Medical care providers were also able to teach us diseases/sicknesses the patients had, and how we can tell from our diagnosis on how they have it.
Patient & community contact: Consulting with the villagers. Teaching them on how to take their medication. Teaching them what their sickness is. Teaching patients the basics of public health (Water sanitation, risks of drinking alcohol/smoking obsessively, brushing teeth), in order to prevent exposure to some microbes that can cause harm to us.
Liked best: Going to a different country and using my ability to interact with patients in a medical/clinical setting. Working in a clinic that was student ran. A lot of work and communication was required.
More information: info@vnhealth.org
Fellowship Bible Church
"I was part of a Medical Outreach team providing medical relief in the jungles of Africa, specifically Liberia. My role was to screen patients, building medical history and symptom reports allowing our limited team of doctors to see more patients quickly."
When and for how long: June 2013 for 3 weeks
Provider contact: I worked side by side both nurses and doctors to bring direly needed medical supplies and aid to one of the poorest nations in the world. I made the initial contact with patients, separating the severely sick to those that are simply dehydrated but lack even the basic knowledge of health awareness to realize it. This allowed the Doctors to maximize time with the truly sick patients coming through our clinic.
Patient & community contact: I was able to have numerous one-on-one patient interactions seeing anywhere from 20-40 patients in a day. Putting the patient at ease, making them comfortable and then making an initial assessment of the patient needs.
Liked best: The best part of this experience was the patient interactions. I have never been exposed to such poverty, sickness and starvation. Meeting countless Africans every day who live incredibly difficult lives was a humbling experience. Learning how to communicate through cultural gaps was both difficult and rewarding. The singly most influential experience was my encounter with my very first patient, a mother bringing her 8 year old son. The boy was severely emaciated and paralyzed to the point that he could not support his own head nor move anything more than his eyes. He had been this way for 2 months and his body was rejecting any sustenance. With primitive medical diagnostic equipment our doctors were unable to do much more than guess what was causing the symptoms. This boy, Togba, stayed under my care for three days before he finally died. I will never forget Togba, and he is largely the reason for my pursuit of medical school.
Sea Mar Community Health Center
"I was in charge of leading small groups of the migrant children in short lessons and educational activities concerning preventive dental health care techniques, including proper teeth brushing and flossing methods."
When and for how long: For approx. 3 hours during 3 different mobile medical and dental education clinics at a migrant workers camp in Mount Vernon, WA. Summer 2013.
Provider contact: I worked with the dental health care providers while preparing the material I was in charge of presenting the children with. When my presentations were over, I also helped run supplies to the stations where the dental health care providers were.
Patient & community contact: I was able to work closely with the children of the migrant workers to help give them some basic preventive health care education. Several times that day, I also had to translate for one of the other volunteers while they were giving their presentation and running through their activity. I was able to help answer the children's questions, mostly in English and a bit in Spanish to the best of my ability.
Liked best: It was a really unique experience and not something I would have pictured myself doing when I thought about volunteering in the health care field. The mobile clinic not only provided education workshops for the children and adults in this migrant camp, they also provided free dental and medical check ups to the people there and even performed basic procedures on patients (some of which I was able to observe). The work I did may have been centered a little more on education but it was really rewarding to be able to show someone how they can avoid bad oral health so it doesn't come back to bite them in the future. I really enjoyed how hands on and interactive of an experience it was, especially with a population that is typically underserved in the health care field.
More information: Sea Mar CHC - Mount Vernon Dental Clinic 1400 N LaVenture Mount Vernon, Washington 98273
UWMC
"escort, greet patients, check on patients and see if they need anything, stocking, cleaning rooms, etc"
When and for how long: almost 2 years
Provider contact: Lots of opportunities to interact with medical care providers especially the nurses since you are often actively acting as a communication bridge between them and the patients while you are rounding on patients and checking if they are doing well. Many opportunities to see healthcare providers and patients contact too.
Patient & community contact: Talk to patients and family members to try to make sure they are staying in the hospital as comfortable as the conditions allowed. Listen to their medical concerns and notify the medical care providers if necessary.
Liked best: Lots of opportunities to interact with both patients and healthcare providers, and learn to deal with different kind of situations.
More information: Main phone: 206-598-4218 UWMC Room NN-303 Appointments may be necessary. Call for Volunteer Manager office hours.
Atlantis Project
"As an Atlantis Project fellow, I was able to travel to the Canary Islands in Spain and earn over 100 hours of shadowing experience. I spent a week each in 5 different specialties and was able to observe physicians overseas to gain experience in the medical field. I had to learn how to speak Spanish before I went, but was able to learn enough to understand what was going on in the hospitals."
When and for how long: July-August 2014, 5 weeks
Provider contact: I interacted the most with medical care providers. As I was shadowing them, they explained everything that was going on at a given moment and spent time really teaching me their procedures and course of action. I was able to learn from them and watch them give patient care, both in consultations and surgeries.
Patient & community contact: I did not have any physical contact with patients. However, I was able to watch their appointments and have friendly conversation with them while in the room.
Liked best: I was able to travel the world while earning both shadowing experience and volunteer experience in their hospitals. It was an amazing experience that taught me a lot about healthcare as well as myself. I was able to see a lot of different kinds of specialties, which was a great opportunity. I shadowed some that were never even on my radar, but learned that they were fields I was very interested in. Seeing healthcare outside of the US really put a lot of things into perspective for me, and I would recommend exploring these kinds of opportunities while in school.
More information: Meagan Wilson; admissions@atlantis-project.org
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"As a participant I spent four days shadowing medical professionals in the North Valley Hospital in Tonasket, WA. On the fifth day I, along with my three colleagues, presented to four elementary school classrooms about pursuing higher education."
When and for how long: I participated during my junior year (2013). The program takes place during the week of spring break- between winter and spring quarters.
Provider contact: The beauty of HCASB is that because you are in a rural setting, the work load in the hospital isn't as high as in more urban areas and the doctors have more time to stop and converse. I spent a fair amount of time with both ER doctors, the radiologist, and the orthopedic and general surgeon. Not only were we able to see them work, but they took the time out to ensure that we learned something form our time with them.
Patient & community contact: Other than the family that hosted us, I didn't get too much contact with the patients beyond viewing the normal patient-doctor interactions.
Liked best: The variety. Each doctor was able to describe the benefits of their specific position in the hospital. They all also had a range of advice to give, from what to look for in medical schools to how to approach a first time patient.
More information: http://hcasb.org/
Swedish Medical Center
"Shadowing a group of Interventional Radiologists. I learned how to tie surgical knots, the OR scrub-in procedure, and the names and uses of various catheters."
When and for how long: June 2011 for two weeks
Provider contact: It was a very great learning experience and I was able to ask a lot of questions. Before every procedure the doctor would teach me what way through the body they would need to take and taught me briefly about fluoroscopy and MRI/X-ray reading.
Patient & community contact: I had little contact with the patients but the contact that I did have was insightful. Since the procedures were mostly out-patient procedures, the appointment where they discussed the procedure and determined the need for the procedure had already occurred.
Liked best: I learned a lot about this area of medicine and got a glimpse into the life of a surgeon. It made me have a greater passion for medicine.
More information: N/A
UWMC volunteer servicces
"Transport patients via wheelchair to appointments. Greet, direct and provide way-finding for patients and visitors. Maintain cleanliness of patient and public waiting areas. Escort/walk patients and visitors to clinic locations. Discharge patients to third floor lobby / UWMC entrance. Deliver flowers, mail, books and magazines to patients. Deliver charts, specimens and supplies throughout medical center All around help"
When and for how long: I've been a volunteer for two years
Provider contact: Contact with medical professionals is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Patient & community contact: Contact with medical professionals and families is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Liked best: As a volunteer at the UWMC your experience is entirely in your control. If you are nervous and alittle shyer you can hang back and just deliver specimens,organize paperwork, and direct patients very low key tasks. Or you can volunteer in a department like one of the ICU's and be very much in the middle of the chaos which can be alittle scarier but also very enlightening and a great learning opportunity. However, either way you're getting to see the hospital's inner workings in and get to soak in how the hospital runs while making a difference because have no doubt the UWMC would not work nearly as efficiently without their volunteers.
Other notes: They do not spoon feed you a volunteer position nor check in with how you are doing as a volunteer. To get started you have to take a lot of initiative and once you're a volunteer if you're unhappy in you're position it's up to you to go check in with volunteer services. They're happy to help once you go in but this isn't a volunteer program that cares if you're having a valuable experience or not. If you like a sense of leadership and community from programs you're involved in I wouldn't recommend this one because it is a very independent type of position at the UWMC.But very convenient in proximity.
More information: 206-598-4218 webpage: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
University of Washington Global Medical Brigade
"Global Medical Brigades develops sustainable health initiatives and provides relief where there is limited access to health care. Global Medical Brigades is just one part of the Global Brigades organization. Other programs include dental, public health, water, environmental, architecture, law, business, and microfinance. Together, these programs make up the world's largest student-led development organization and work off each other since there are many overlapping factors of our work. For Global Medical Brigades, students and recruited health professionals travel together to rural villages to provide free health care and conduct health education workshops to empower local leaders."
When and for how long: In the club for one year, travelled to Panama for a medical mission for one week of September 2013. (Now the group goes to Nicaragua)
Provider contact: We interacted with nurses and physicians. Triage is usually comprised of nurses and is the next stop for patients after intake. In triage, patients relay their symptoms and ailments while volunteers administer glucose tests, take blood pressure, weigh patients, etc. Nurses oversee any volunteer/patient conversations, aid in translation, description of symptoms, and vital taking. The consultation station is comprised of doctors who attend to patients after they have been through triage. Doctors consult, diagnose and then prescribe the medication they feel is best suited for each individual patient. If a doctor comes across an ailment they feel the brigade does not have the proper medication or equipment to address, that doctor can refer the patient to the clinic for further treatment provided free of cost by Global Medical Brigades. Students purely observe during this rotation with the opportunity to ask the physician questions about diagnosis and treatment plan.
Patient & community contact: Each brigade consists of different stations (typically intake, triage, physician consultation, pharmacy, and health education). Each volunteer will be rotated through each station, although it is much easier to place Spanish speaking volunteers to certain roles, such as translating and triage. Patients generally wait in line to be seen by students working in triage, then by the doctors in the consultation room. All patients receive prescribed medication and vitamins, in addition to attending health education workshops we put on. Volunteers interact with patients at each level, with more observation when shadowing the consultation. We also rotated through a "break" station and in this gap we played games with the children in the school yard.
Liked best: This was an incredible opportunity to experience the lifestyle and culture of a country very different from the US. I appreciated the exposure to diversity, the mode of rural health care in a third world country, and the role of healthcare in the every day context for Panamanians.
Other notes: There is a fee to participate and it's a competitive application. Apps usually open fall quarter with the trip planned for the end of summer following the application cycle.
More information: uwbrigades@gmail.com
UW General Internal Medicine Center
"Stocking examination rooms, sorting faxes, and any miscellaneous projects that may come up."
When and for how long: Fall 2013 to present. 4 hours a week.
Provider contact: The clinic itself is relatively small, so you will always pass by a medical care provider. This clinic also trains resident doctors, which you can shadow.
Patient & community contact: Little to none during volunteer hours as most duties do not require you to be in the presence of a patient. On some rare occasions you may be asked to push a patient and their wheelchair to the lobby.
Liked best: The abundance of shadowing opportunities.
Other notes: This clinic is located at UWMC-Roosevelt, not the main hospital.
More information: UWMC Volunteer services. Volunteer manager: Cynnie Foss
Seattle Children's Hospital in Belleuve
"I had a few different roles at the hospital. I started off as a greeter at the main entrance, making sure to answer that patients and their families feel welcomed and get all the information necessary while at the hospital. I would usually provide information about the facility, such as where the restrooms are, where the vending machines are, where they need to check in for their appointments, what is the closest restaurant or grocery store, how to get on I-5 or 520. My second position was at a Surgery Center desk where I served as a mediator between the medical staff and families of the patients getting the surgical procedure. I was the one to greet them as they walk out of the induction room after their child has been put the sleep, make sure they know around what time the procedure should be done, what are the next steps for them and for their child and to take them either straight to the recovery or to the waiting room. The third position that I am just starting is in the recovery room where I am making sure that recovery rooms are cleaned and set up for the next patient."
When and for how long: I am volunteering there since July 2014
Provider contact: As a volunteer are a surgery center, I had to keep track of the cases and families in the waiting area, recovery and rooms. Drs. needed everything to run smoothly at the waiting room with parents so they can talk to them about the procedure and move to the next case. I had a responsibility of making sure the family is in their assigned waiting room at the time the doctor walks in to talk to them. As the schedules sometimes get very busy, I needed to coordinate with the charge and induction room nurse to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Patient & community contact: Right after the induction room, I was the first person that family and parents would talk to. They would usually be very emotional after seeing their child go to sleep, and I would make sure they are ok. I would let them know how long the procedure is and when the doctor should be coming to talk to them. I would walk them to their waiting room and let them know as soon as they are able to go back to the recovery room and rejoin with their child. In the mean time, for anything they need I would be the first source. I made sure they knew my name and my role and that they are being the most comfortable during their stay.
Liked best: The best thing was to feel that you are making families the most comfortable with their stay in the hospital while their child is getting a procedure. Multiple times I have been thanked for the service as I have contributed to making their stay at the hospital the most pleasant as it can be. Additionally, I got to see how the whole hospital works and how many people and different professions it takes to make the hospital work properly. I as a volunteer had a clear role and felt that I was making a great contribution toward making the families and patients satisfied with the service at Seattle Children's.
More information: Patricia Hovik, patricia.hovik@seattlechildrens.org
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"My role was to plan the actual trip to Goldendale, and then make sure that things went smoothly once we arrived. Otherwise, my main responsibility was to be professional with all the doctors and clinic staff while we shadowed and with the host family after the work day was over."
When and for how long: I was in Goldendale, Washington for one week during UW's spring break.
Provider contact: It was pretty extensive. I shadowed four doctors, one PA, and one ARNP, so I was able to see a lot of different patients, procedures, and styles of care. In addition, I interacted with several nurses. From all of them, I learned a lot about medical care in rural areas and the struggles that can come with that. They came from a variety of areas, with some having lived in rural areas all their lives and others having chosen to move to a smaller town.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients was varied, usually depending on the healthcare provider that I was shadowing and how talkative the patient was. Some of them would talk to me of their own accord and ask about myself, and we would have conversations that way. Other times, the doctor had me take a closer look at something on the patient, so I would get a more scientific interaction with the patient as the doctor explained something to me.
Liked best: The best thing was the large variety in different types of things that I got to see when I was on this trip. Since everyone I shadowed was general practice, I got to see a lot of different types of people and issues. Watching doctors have to grapple with a wide array of issues looked challenging and exciting.
Other notes: HCASB is a good experience for people looking to shadow in rural areas as a way to see what kind of problems healthcare providers must deal with when they do not have all the resources and culture of a big city.
More information: The people in charge of me for HCASB last year all graduated, so I don't know how to contact them now, unfortunately.
Evergreen Hospital
"At the gift shop and the NICU, I didn't interact with any physicians or patients. However, at the Surgical Services desk, I had a nurse supervisor who worked with me. My duties included getting print outs of the surgery schedule for the next day, maintaining the cleanliness of the waiting room, compiling paperwork packets for patients and families to complete before surgery, check in patient family members and obtain their contact information, monitor the progress of the operating room board using online software, answer phone calls, accompany family members to the pre-operation care unit and post-anesthesia care unit, and direct physicians to family members after the surgery is complete."
When and for how long: I was there from 2010-2012, volunteering at the Gift Shop, NICU, and the Surgical Services desk
Provider contact: I worked alongside a nurse supervisor, who helped me with my duties. I also came in contact with surgical nurses who would pick up patients before surgery, as well as post-anesthesia care unit nurses when I went to check on the patients. Finally, I had contact with surgeons when they visited the family members after surgery. If the family member was absent, I would have to write down messages or instructions for the family members from the physician, or I'd have to go pick up a prescription that they'd sent to the pharmacy.
Patient & community contact: I had the most amount of contact with patient family members while they were in the waiting room. There was a wide spectrum of attitudes and behaviors that I saw, which is understandable since it's a very personal experience. Sometimes the family members would talk to me, and sometimes they'd just keep to themselves. At the very least, I always made sure to give them updates whenever the surgery status changed.
Liked best: I got to see a lot of things that I wouldn't have been able to as an outside observer. For instance, I knew next to nothing about the life of surgeons and healthcare policy, but after this experience, I definitely learned a lot. It shocked me that some patients would wait for hours after their scheduled surgery time in the pre-operation unit, because the surgeon had gone overtime on his last surgery. I thought there was a way to prevent that from happening, but it seems like there isn't. Furthermore, I got to see a really wide range of patients come through. Some of them just needed minor surgery (i.e to repair a knee injury), whereas others underwent major operations, like having a brain tumor removed. All of these people went through the Surgical Services desk.
Other notes: In order to work at surgical services, volunteers need to have Level 2 clearance due to exposure to patients. It's definitely a process, and you need to have a good amount of previous volunteer experience at the hospital.
More information: Volunteer office phone number: 425-899-1994
Swedish Hospital
"To assist all medical care providers with all types of tasks that promote the efficiency and quality of healthcare towards patients. These tasks can include rounding, transporting and comforting patients, as well as stocking and organizing medical supplies."
When and for how long: 4 hour shifts, past 2 years
Provider contact: I volunteer directly under the supervision and direction of medical care providers. I provide assistance with anything during medical preparations or procedures.
Patient & community contact: I am always checking in on patients during the brief or extended times that they are in the emergency department. My purpose is to provide comfort and information for patients and their families while they wait for procedures or results etc.
Liked best: My favorite experience was with a patient X. I recognized her from a different volunteering facility that I was a part of prior to this position. I had gotten to know her well with that other facility. She was an elderly woman with a severe hearing difficulty, and she too, recognized me when I checked in on her during my rounds at the ER. Her face lit up when she saw my familiar face in the hospital. She has a hard time hearing, and I knew that, so I already had a sense of how to make her feel comfortable and at ease. I spent a good time with her, sitting next to her and holding her hand to provide some comfort in such a busy and overwhelming ER. It really made me happy, and her too, to spend some time together in what can be an upsetting situation: sick and vulnerable at a busy ER.
More information: 425-640-4341
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Sacred Heart Medical Center
"I was an Emergency Room volunteer. I assisted with any non-clinical needs of the nurses, or physicians."
When and for how long: For one year, during march 2012-2013.
Provider contact: I shadowed doctors, was taught basic medical procedures, and observed a multitude of procedures with specialities including: trauma surgery, neurosurgery, pediatric ICU, raidology, and emergency medicine.
Patient & community contact: I was free to visit patients when appropriate, to talk to them and assist with non-clincal requests.
Liked best: Getting experience one on one with doctors and nurses. And learning how patients interact in different healtcare environments. I.E. how to make them feel less uncomfortable than they did.
More information: Brenda Johnson
Rural Mobile Health Clinic
"I was part of a rural mobile health clinic located in Surin, Thailand as a medical volunteer and some of the tasks were making medicine kits, dressing wounds, measuring blood pressure, etc."
When and for how long: 15 days
Provider contact: I had direct contact with the local doctors and nurses there.
Patient & community contact: I also had close, direct contact with the patients that came to the community clinic through dressing wounds and basic health measurements.
Liked best: It really changed my way of pursuing medicine in that I strived with a less self-centered approach and more humanitarian.
More information: N/A
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"I shadowed primary care physicians in Moses Lake from Monday through Thursday, then went to a local high school on Friday morning to talk about the values of higher education."
When and for how long: Spring break, the whole week
Provider contact: I shadowed a different physician each day, and got to chat with them during down times and ask about medicine.
Patient & community contact: We lived with a woman in a trailer park, and learned a lot about the community. We also heard a lot about the issues facing the community from the doctors we shadowed and the staff at the clinic.
Liked best: This experience solidified my desire to go to medical school, and piqued my interest in primary care.
More information: hcasb@uw.edu
Oregon Health and Science University Department of Vascular Surgery Summer Research Intern
"Primarily this volunteer opportunity was to conduct chart review studies, but also included clinical studies which involved consenting patients and collecting data from them. Besides conducting research I was also able to shadow the physicians in clinic, in the OR, and on occasion during rounds."
When and for how long: 3 sepearate summers for 3 months each
Provider contact: Because this was a clinical research internship my PI was a physician. The approach at OHSU's Department of Vascula Surgery is very team oriented and so I was able to interact quite a bit with all of the physicians on the team, which includes all of the attendings, the fellows, the residents, the interns, and the medical students. I also was able to interact with the circulation nurse and the scrub nurse down in the OR, as well as the MAs.
Patient & community contact: Through my opportunity I was able to shadow the physicians and attend clinic with them, where I got to interact with patients, and on occasion was also allowed to check for pulses. I interacted with patients in the PACU as well as interacted with patients that I approached to consent for my studies. There were also certain occasions during which I was allowed to shadow the physicians on their rounds.
Liked best: The best things about this experience was how hands on it was and the wide variety of experiences that I got to have was. I was able to do research, as well as shadow and contribute in journal club, it felt like a very comprehensive experience. Though this experiences I feel like I truly got a sense of what a similar career would look like, and I know exactly what I would be getting myself into.
More information: Amber Bruner @ OHSU
Nick of Time Foundation- UW
"To help the Nick of Time Foundation with their mission of increasing awareness of sudden cardiac arrest, as well as increasing availability of heart screenings to adolescents throughout Washington. Namely, to volunteer at their many events and help their cause."
When and for how long: I've been an active member since Fall 2013.
Provider contact: At the heart screenings the NOTF holds, I was able to work side by side with talented cardiologists towards a common goal. This has led to many opportunities to see these doctors in action, as well as talk to them about Medical School and the field in general.
Patient & community contact: Once again at the heart screenings, I have worked closely with patients. This involved placing EKG leads, talking to them prior to the doctor's visit, and teaching them CPR while they wait.
Liked best: Through my volunteer work with the NOTF, I have been given the opportunity to work with doctors towards something that we are all passionate about. It is an amazing chance to learn from them, learn from the patients, and give back to the community.
More information: notfuw@uw.edu
COPE Health Solutions
"Responsibilities include assisting nurses and other staff with tasks involved in patient care such as feeding, changing, and bathing patients. Other office type duties are performed as well as simply sitting in and watching various procedures."
When and for how long: June 2014-Current
Provider contact: This internship provides undergraduate students with 3 month rotations on varying units of the hospital to assist medical staff in providing comfort care tasks for the patients. Also there is the opportunity to shadow doctors and other specialists and sit in on varying procedures.
Patient & community contact: One of the best parts of this volunteer opportunity is that there is a significant amount of interaction with patients and their families. Most of the time the interactions are simple and brief, but other times the patients or family are looking for someone to talk to. One of the best parts about this volunteer position has simply been listening to the stories and experiences of those that I have interacted with.
Liked best: Networking with professionals in the field and seeing them at work
More information: Poornima Bajwa email: pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
Swedish Hospital Edmonds
"Working in the front desk, helping patients, wheel chairing patients."
When and for how long: High School for 1 year
Provider contact: Not very much. Mostly communicated with nurses.
Patient & community contact: Lots of patient interaction.
Liked best: Being in the hospital setting, which allowed me to see the interactions and hospital community. Seeing this actually deterred me away from becoming a doctor because I look more local and close interactions.
More information: Volunteer Coordinator
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"HCASB is a student run organization at UW that organizes healthcare shadowing trips to rural towns in Washington over spring break. It gives pre-health students a chance to understand the unique needs and opportunities of rural medicine, while also increasing their shadowing hours. I was a Team Leader, so I spent Winter quarter contacting different healthcare facilities in Sequim, WA to set up our week of shadowing and where to stay."
When and for how long: Spring Break 2014
Provider contact: I spent four full work days shadowing one on one with several different doctors, including family practice, opthamology, ob/gyn, and geriatric medicine.
Patient & community contact: I got to see healthcare providers working with many different types of patients, from young healthy people, to pregnant women, to elderly people in various states of health. While I did more shadowing than interacting, many patients were friendly and willing to answer questions or talk briefly. We also spent a few hours volunteering at an assisted living facility where we got to participate in the exercise activities with residents.
Liked best: Getting to meet and observe such a good range of medical specialties whom all share the same experience of working in a rural community was most valuable. It gave me insight to what career paths interested me more than others, and allowed me to contrast different perspectives on the benefits and challenges of urban vs. rural medicine.
Other notes: Applications for Team Leader positions close in Fall, and Participant applications close around the start of winter quarter, so its a good idea to start thinking about this beginning of Fall quarter.
More information: hcasb.org

podiatrists

UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218

veterinarian

RYGB Animal Mechanisms Lab, Surgical Outcomes Research Center (SORCE)
"As an intern at the RYGB Animal Mechanisms Lab, I cared for the pigs in my lab through daily animal husbandry procedures. After the pigs underwent the bariatric surgery per the lab's protocol, I carried out critical care procedures where I administered controlled substance pain medications to the pigs. I also received certification under the Department of Surgery at the UW to scrub-in to human and animal surgeries. I had to perform a kidney removal from a rat under supervision of a veterinarian in Veterinary Services. After successful completion of the kidney removal, I was then allowed to assist in the bariatric surgery on the pigs in my lab. I was also trained on how to suture following surgery."
When and for how long: I was an intern for a year from 2013-2014
Provider contact: I worked directly with veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary specialists.
Patient & community contact: I worked with animals.
Liked best: I received a lot of hands on experience working with and operating on animals.
Other notes: RYGB is no longer around, however SORCE provides volunteer internships similar to it that I would highly recommend!
More information: http://uwsurgery.org/divisions/surgerycenters/sorce/sorce-intro
hospice centerhospitalmental health providernursing homeotheroutpatient clinic with multiple providersrehabilitation centersmall business/clinic (e.g., independent dentist)

hospice center

Dental Mission Trips
"Simple assisting jobs such as sterilizing equipment and calling patients because I am not trained to be a dentist and do not yet have the ability to work on patients."
When and for how long: 3 weeks
Provider contact: Some days I would have more contact with the care providers that others. On days I had the most contact with them, I was with them while they were working on a patient and handing them tools. On the days that I had less contact with them, I would be sterilizing instruments or calling patients.
Patient & community contact: Like with the care providers, the amount of contact I had with the patients fluctuated. Depending on the day, I would have short conversations with them, or I would only check them in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was being able to make a difference in the daily lives of the patients and being able to see how grateful they were for something that I often take for granted. It really changed the way I viewed my everyday health care.
More information: dentalmissiontrips@gmail.com
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Evergreen Medical Center
"Volunteered as front desk reception as well as delivered lab specimens and discharging of patients."
When and for how long: 170+ hours
Provider contact: Communicated with nurses as to when to discharge patients and any other possible tasks they needed our help with.
Patient & community contact: Talked to patients and family members regularly, whether it was at the front desk when family member were visiting and had question or if it was during the discharge.
Liked best: Interacting with patients and being able to make a, even if slight, difference at the hospital.
More information: Linda Watson

hospital

UWMC
"My role as a medical volunteer was to interact with many patients and keep the medical environment clean. By greeting people, helping them find their way throughout the center, and aid those who need help, I create an open and friendly environment for UWMC. By wiping down equipment after use, deliver paperwork and charts, and make sure equipment is stocked, I keep the medical environment clean and organized."
When and for how long: Flexible hours (4 hours a week) for one year.
Provider contact: My contact with medical care providers is through delivering charts and paperwork to those who request it. I also assist them with non-patient care duties.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients is to provide them with as much help as I can, including escorting patients to locations, transporting those in wheelchairs, and delivering items to patients, while maintaining a friendly environment.
Liked best: Lots of exposure. If you need a place to learn about the everyday workings of a medical institution, this is the place for you.
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
University of Washington Medical Center
"As a patient escort, my role was to provide services such as transporting patients in wheelchairs, blood refrigerators, patient test samples, letters, and gifts. In addition I also helped with paperwork by preparing mail, patient info forms, and filing patient charts. It was also common for me to act as a greeter with one or two other volunteer escorts by directing patients to where they need to go or walking them to their destination if possible."
When and for how long: Mostly on weekends, 4 hr a week for three years.
Provider contact: Little to no interaction with medical care providers. Never spoke to a doctor, spoke with some nurses but only to clarify objectives. Often spoke to med technicians and lab technicians on delivery pickup/dropoff.
Patient & community contact: High amount of patient interaction potential as well as with family members. A lot of experience with patient management is possible due to the nature of the escort position. Also worth noting is that you meet a lot of UW students and individuals from the Seattle area who are somewhere in the application process for a health related profession as well as members of the community (often retired) who are passionate about giving to the community.
Liked best: This was my first experience being in an environment where I was given responsibility of providing service to patients. Back in high school I was a really shy and quiet person, but volunteering as an escort forced me to be proactive and initiate conversations with patients and visitors in order to provide excellent service. Patient interaction was also a really eye opening experience. Being able to talk to patients span a wide range of backgrounds as well as handle stressful situations dealing with patient management are definitely skills that can be learned. I think this personal growth, in addition to being able to observe the mechanics of how one of the best hospitals in our nation come together, is really great.
Other notes: While volunteering I often heard others complain that they aren't able to interact with doctors, nurses, PAs, etc. while being an escort. In my opinion those types of experiences are acquired through shadowing. This experience is heavily correlated with how much personal effort a person makes to take on tasks and proactively provide service to patients. In addition, while volunteering I have seen lots of changes happen to the volunteer program. When I started there were many things escorts were able to do, but since then there have been more and more restrictions and cutbacks on the variety of tasks escorts can do. I think it's mostly limited to patient transport and greeting now. It's partially due to this that I chose to retire from volunteering at the UWMC after three years and move onto other volunteering projects.
More information: Volunteer Services: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer/requirements/application
Lady of the Sea Hospital: Surgical Department (Los Angeles)
"I would mainly catalog, label, and put away all of the surgical supplies. I would also help the nurses with other work including helping to set up operating rooms for a procedure."
When and for how long: 3 years ago. I was there a couple days a week for a month or so.
Provider contact: I was mostly in contact with the nurses, although I would meet the surgeons when they came. I also met the anesthesiologist and he showed me his equipment, and described the work that he did.
Patient & community contact: They didn't let me contact any of the patients.
Liked best: I thought it was beneficial because I was able to witness all the work that goes on in a surgical department before a surgeon arrives and after he leaves. I saw how much of a team effort it was to provide medical care. The nurses would show me about the equipment and supplies that they use during operations and describe different procedures and their experiences with them.
More information: (985) 632-6401
University of Washington Medical Center
"Escort services: transport of patients flower deliveries specimen deliveries"
When and for how long: September 2014- present (4 months)
Provider contact: very limited
Patient & community contact: lots of patient contact when discharging patients and or transporting them
Liked best: Being able to interact with patients is very helpful to discover how I personally am around sick people. It teaches you what it will be like to provide for all types of people with various illnesses, moods, conditions and personalities.
Seattle Children's (Observership)
"Shadowing neurosurgeons in the OR."
When and for how long: Fall Quarter 2014
Provider contact: Spoke with surgeons, residents, nurses and other medical assistants.
Patient & community contact: None.
Liked best: Being in the OR was incredible! I was right by the bed as the surgeries took place.
More information: Search for "Observership" on the web site under "Education"; this is an application
Seattle Children's (Observership)
"This program guaranteed 20 shadowing hours over the course of a quarter. I was paired with a neurosurgeon and was able to shadow him in the operating room and during his clinic times."
When and for how long: Fall 2013, one quarter
Provider contact: I had direct contact with the attending physician, the fellows, the residents, the nurses, and the technicians.
Patient & community contact: I had very limited direct interaction with patients or family members, but I was able to observe their interactions with the physician.
Liked best: This experience gave me great insight into "the day in the life" of a physician. I learned a lot about how a doctor interacts with patients and coworkers and how a hospital is organized and run.
More information: search for "Observership", within the "Education" section of the web site; this is an application
RYGB Animal Mechanisms Lab, Surgical Outcomes Research Center (SORCE)
"As an intern at the RYGB Animal Mechanisms Lab, I cared for the pigs in my lab through daily animal husbandry procedures. After the pigs underwent the bariatric surgery per the lab's protocol, I carried out critical care procedures where I administered controlled substance pain medications to the pigs. I also received certification under the Department of Surgery at the UW to scrub-in to human and animal surgeries. I had to perform a kidney removal from a rat under supervision of a veterinarian in Veterinary Services. After successful completion of the kidney removal, I was then allowed to assist in the bariatric surgery on the pigs in my lab. I was also trained on how to suture following surgery."
When and for how long: I was an intern for a year from 2013-2014
Provider contact: I worked directly with veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary specialists.
Patient & community contact: I worked with animals.
Liked best: I received a lot of hands on experience working with and operating on animals.
Other notes: RYGB is no longer around, however SORCE provides volunteer internships similar to it that I would highly recommend!
More information: http://uwsurgery.org/divisions/surgerycenters/sorce/sorce-intro
Prep-Step Health Care Scholarship Program
"Help out the nursing staff and NAC staff on the patient floors with patient care such as: cleaning up, providing meals, talking to patients, running messages to the staff, and ambulating patients."
When and for how long: Since August 2014 to currently
Provider contact: I directly get instruction and advice from the healthcare staff. Physicians are relatively rare throughout the day, but I get to see the constant work that the nurses and NAC's do all day.
Patient & community contact: I have the opportunity to speak directly with patients and their family members. Sometimes patients want to be left alone, but sometimes they want more interaction than the nurses can provide with their busy schedules.
Liked best: Getting to spend extended time with the nursing staff and seeing how important treating patients as individual people is to their overall care and experience in the hospital.
More information: 206-386-3879
Harborview
"Worked in the ER, helped RNs and doctors Restocked shelves Cleaned and prepared cots Observed Trauma Care"
When and for how long: Summer of Junior Year
Provider contact: Mostly observation
Patient & community contact: I did not interact with patients unless they requested my assistance
Liked best: I think the best part was observing the health care providers and seeing how a hospital ran from the inside.
Prep Step Health Care Scholar Program at Swedish Medical Center First Hill
"As a prep-step health care scholar I am assigned to a unit in the hospital on a 3 month rotation basis where I assist staff and patients with whatever they need. Duties can include stocking the unit, discharging patients, assisting NAC's and nurses with patient care, taking vitals, rounding on patients, and answering call lights."
When and for how long: I have been a prep-step for a little over 3 months and am currently in the program.
Provider contact: In this position you get a lot of contact with nurses and nursing assistants. The nurses are often willing to let you shadow them while they interact with patients and will answer questions and explain their tasks. Physicians, Physician Assistants, nutritionists, and physical therapists are on the floor less frequently so it is more difficult to talk with them but when they are around, they are often willing to let you watch procedures and ask questions.
Patient & community contact: This program provides lots of opportunity for interaction with patients and their visitors. Through rounding you have the opportunity to go into each patient's room and chat with them and their family if they engage you in conversation. Many of my best experiences I have had occurred through conversations with patients. You also are trained to assist NAC's and nurses with various patient care tasks like walking, taking vitals, feeding, and repositioning.
Liked best: The best part about this experience is being able to make a true difference in a patient's hospital stay. I have had many experiences with patients where I was able to make them feel cared for and comfortable while going through a painful and scary experience. I am also looking forward to experiencing different units in the hospital so I can get a better idea of what area of medicine is right for me.
More information: https://www.l3connect.org/prospective-applicants/cce-faq Program Director: Poornima Bajwa pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
UW Medical Center
"Transporting stable patients, restocking medical supplies, and bringing biological samples to the labs."
When and for how long: Summer 2013-Winter 2014
Provider contact: Being close to the patients allowed me to see how medical care providers interacted with them. This gave me a better sense of how to interact with and care for patients in difficult circumstances. I often observed doctors and nurses navigate through difficult conversations to give their patients hope for the next step of their treatment.
Patient & community contact: Transporting patients meant that I often was able to have conversations with them about life. From these chats I got a better sense of the patient perspective with regards to hospital settings and medicine in general.
Liked best: More often than not, patients were very willing to give me life advice or express their expectations of a good doctor. The experience made me realize that I can often get just as much support from patients as I can give to them.
More information: 206-598-4218
Seattle Children's Hospital
"Child Life volunteer. I was going to the patients' rooms or playing with the patients at the playroom."
When and for how long: Fall, Winter 2012
Provider contact: I need to check in/out with the nurses before and after I played with patients. I was sometimes allowed to stay in the room while doctors were examining the patients.
Patient & community contact: I was directly in contact with the parents/caregivers of the patients. I not only played with the kids and entertaining them, but also was giving some space for the parents so that they can have some free time for themselves.
Liked best: Making kids happy. The best reward was to seeing unhealthy and sometimes unhappy kids smiling and having fun.
More information: Alison Garrison, email: alison.garrison@seattlechildrens.org
University of Washington Medical Center
"Volunteer patient escort: escorting patients around the hospital via wheelchairs or walking Volunteer in ICU: cleaning/stocking medical supplies, retrieving items for patients, clerical duties (answering the phone, filing paperwork)"
When and for how long: 2011-2013
Provider contact: Opportunity to observe procedures performed by physicians
Patient & community contact: Reading to and/or feeding patients, escorting families and patients in and out of the hospital
Liked best: Interacting with patients, observing the harsh realities, and also the beauty of medicine
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
Seattle Children's Hospital
"I volunteer in the Child Life department - so my major role is to interact (basically spend time/hang out and play) with patients in need. This may be due to the patient's parents needing a break, or it can be a case where the patient's family is not in the same country. Either way, the goal is to let the patient feel more at home at the hospital by providing them with a better experience during their stay at Seattle Children's. Before and after spending time with patients, I help clean and organize toys for the playroom, as well as prepare and clean up the playroom itself."
When and for how long: Started in Fall of 2013, and still volunteering
Provider contact: Before I visit each patient, I get to speak with the nurse about any problems or concerns I should keep in mind about the patient. The nurse will occasionally visit the room (usually to check vitals) during my stay. Generally, the nurses are quite friendly, and will ask me about what I do, what I am studying and what my future goals are. On 'rare' occasions, a doctor (presumably the surgeon for the patient in some cases), and more often residences, will stop by as well. In these instances, they may also ask about my background - but usually they are concentrating on the patient! (Which does give a good insight on what they do)
Patient & community contact: My interactions with the patients are fairly direct - I get to play games, talk, watch movies and more with them. My contact with the patient's family members (usually their parents) is less frequent. However, most parents at the hospital are nice and enjoy talking with me for a little bit. They do enjoy being able to talk about their experiences and concerns about what is happening with their child - which they may not be able to do too often.
Liked best: For me, the people who I work with in this hospital - be it volunteers, doctors, nurses or receptionists - have really opened me up to an outstanding group of individuals. These people genuinely care about other's well-being; and wanting to go into a medical profession, I feel that that is the most important asset to have. Seattle Children's gives a fantastic example of how a family-friendly hospital should be like.
More information: amy.faris@seattlechildrens.org
Harborview Medical Center
"As a volunteer in the ER, my main responsibility was to make sure the rooms fully stocked with linens and other medical supplies, cleaning and making beds, as well as other random task the Medical Assistants or Nurses needed."
When and for how long: June 2013-September 2014
Provider contact: The main interactions were with Medical Assistants since they are the ones that we reported to and gave us tasks that needed to be done. I also interacted with nurses, physicians, medical students, pharmacists and EMTs by assisting them with tasks they needed, asking questions about procedures and observing some procedures being done.
Patient & community contact: During our volunteer shift we are encouraged to go around to patients and family to ask how they are doing or if they need anything.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was being completely submerged into a high volume and sometimes hectic ER environment, so you can get a real feel for this type of setting. Through this experience I was able to interact with many different types of health care professionals, all of which were really nice and were open to answering any questions I had. Since it is an ER, I was also able to see many different types of patients as well as a variety of reasons why they came in.
More information: Bridget Snow, bridsnow@uw.edu
UWMC Pharmacy
"Re-stock vials, caps, bags and bottles. Filing the written prescriptions in daily bundles. Checking expirations dates (monthly), and identify soon to be outdated medications with expirations stickers."
When and for how long: April 2014, Less than a year
Provider contact: There's a lot of contact with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. They are the ones that assign duties and teach volunteers about their assignment.
Patient & community contact: There is almost no contact with patients for this position.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience is having the opportunity to observe the interaction between pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and patients. Also, volunteering at a pharmacy is insighful because you get to learn and see how a pharmacy operates and what actually takes to deliver the medicine to the patient.
More information: Jennifer Mehlberg
UW Medical center
"I mainly work as a patient escort and transport patients in wheelchairs and sometimes deliver things like specimen."
When and for how long: Started in winter 2014 and have been there for three quarters
Provider contact: I don't have much contact with medical care providers. Most contact I have are with nurses about questions about patient transportation.
Patient & community contact: I have contact with patients and their family during transportation. I would need to confirm with them where they are going and explain how we are going to get there.
Liked best: meeting a lot of different people
More information: 206-598-4218
UWMC
"escort, greet patients, check on patients and see if they need anything, stocking, cleaning rooms, etc"
When and for how long: almost 2 years
Provider contact: Lots of opportunities to interact with medical care providers especially the nurses since you are often actively acting as a communication bridge between them and the patients while you are rounding on patients and checking if they are doing well. Many opportunities to see healthcare providers and patients contact too.
Patient & community contact: Talk to patients and family members to try to make sure they are staying in the hospital as comfortable as the conditions allowed. Listen to their medical concerns and notify the medical care providers if necessary.
Liked best: Lots of opportunities to interact with both patients and healthcare providers, and learn to deal with different kind of situations.
More information: Main phone: 206-598-4218 UWMC Room NN-303 Appointments may be necessary. Call for Volunteer Manager office hours.
Atlantis Project
"As an Atlantis Project fellow, I was able to travel to the Canary Islands in Spain and earn over 100 hours of shadowing experience. I spent a week each in 5 different specialties and was able to observe physicians overseas to gain experience in the medical field. I had to learn how to speak Spanish before I went, but was able to learn enough to understand what was going on in the hospitals."
When and for how long: July-August 2014, 5 weeks
Provider contact: I interacted the most with medical care providers. As I was shadowing them, they explained everything that was going on at a given moment and spent time really teaching me their procedures and course of action. I was able to learn from them and watch them give patient care, both in consultations and surgeries.
Patient & community contact: I did not have any physical contact with patients. However, I was able to watch their appointments and have friendly conversation with them while in the room.
Liked best: I was able to travel the world while earning both shadowing experience and volunteer experience in their hospitals. It was an amazing experience that taught me a lot about healthcare as well as myself. I was able to see a lot of different kinds of specialties, which was a great opportunity. I shadowed some that were never even on my radar, but learned that they were fields I was very interested in. Seeing healthcare outside of the US really put a lot of things into perspective for me, and I would recommend exploring these kinds of opportunities while in school.
More information: Meagan Wilson; admissions@atlantis-project.org
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"As a participant I spent four days shadowing medical professionals in the North Valley Hospital in Tonasket, WA. On the fifth day I, along with my three colleagues, presented to four elementary school classrooms about pursuing higher education."
When and for how long: I participated during my junior year (2013). The program takes place during the week of spring break- between winter and spring quarters.
Provider contact: The beauty of HCASB is that because you are in a rural setting, the work load in the hospital isn't as high as in more urban areas and the doctors have more time to stop and converse. I spent a fair amount of time with both ER doctors, the radiologist, and the orthopedic and general surgeon. Not only were we able to see them work, but they took the time out to ensure that we learned something form our time with them.
Patient & community contact: Other than the family that hosted us, I didn't get too much contact with the patients beyond viewing the normal patient-doctor interactions.
Liked best: The variety. Each doctor was able to describe the benefits of their specific position in the hospital. They all also had a range of advice to give, from what to look for in medical schools to how to approach a first time patient.
More information: http://hcasb.org/
Swedish Medical Center
"Shadowing a group of Interventional Radiologists. I learned how to tie surgical knots, the OR scrub-in procedure, and the names and uses of various catheters."
When and for how long: June 2011 for two weeks
Provider contact: It was a very great learning experience and I was able to ask a lot of questions. Before every procedure the doctor would teach me what way through the body they would need to take and taught me briefly about fluoroscopy and MRI/X-ray reading.
Patient & community contact: I had little contact with the patients but the contact that I did have was insightful. Since the procedures were mostly out-patient procedures, the appointment where they discussed the procedure and determined the need for the procedure had already occurred.
Liked best: I learned a lot about this area of medicine and got a glimpse into the life of a surgeon. It made me have a greater passion for medicine.
More information: N/A
Harrison Medical Center
"My role as a volunteer for the hospital was to help guide patients around the hospital, help support staff provide family members with updates while loved ones were in surgery, and general office support such as filing papers, etc. Patient confidentiality is always a crucial component of working in the hospital setting and along with this responsibility it was crucial that I was efficient and knowledgeable at providing patient support."
When and for how long: Summer 2013, 3 months
Provider contact: During this time I had brief interactions with doctors, as most of my responsibilities and duties required more contact with support staff, receptionists, and nurses rather than direct support to the doctors themselves.
Patient & community contact: Most of my interactions on a day to day basis was with patients and their families, making sure they knew where to go for appointments and helping make them feel welcome and comfortable while in our care at the hospital. I was also in direct contact with other community volunteers who helped out in similar positions that I was in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was getting to understand the patient experience from the time they entered the front doors to the time they left. Having had contact with both patients and their families I got a unique insight into how they felt about their hospital experiences and how we could make changes to make patients and family members as comfortable as possible when having to seek medical care through the providers at our local hospital.
More information: harrisonmedical.org
Harborview Medical Center
"Located in the Emergency Department you assist the Medical Assistants and the Nursing staff with restocking and room set up. Work with patients to make their stay more comfortable, as well as transporting patients to various places. General housekeeping responsibilities."
When and for how long: Oct 2013 - Present
Provider contact: Very constant interactions with MA's and Nurses, by assisting them with their needs of stocking and running errands. Minimal contact with physicians and EMTs, mostly just observation of their interactions with patients.
Patient & community contact: Patient contact varies with the flow of the emergency department. Generally the patient contact includes delivering warm blankets and water to patients, occasionally escorting patients to waiting areas and the pharmacy.
Liked best: The best thing about volunteering in the Emergency Department is the wide variety of patients that you get to interact with and observe the doctor patient relationship. Each week you could interact with entirely different patients than you saw the previous week.
More information: hmcvol@u.washington.edu.
UWMC volunteer servicces
"Transport patients via wheelchair to appointments. Greet, direct and provide way-finding for patients and visitors. Maintain cleanliness of patient and public waiting areas. Escort/walk patients and visitors to clinic locations. Discharge patients to third floor lobby / UWMC entrance. Deliver flowers, mail, books and magazines to patients. Deliver charts, specimens and supplies throughout medical center All around help"
When and for how long: I've been a volunteer for two years
Provider contact: Contact with medical professionals is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Patient & community contact: Contact with medical professionals and families is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Liked best: As a volunteer at the UWMC your experience is entirely in your control. If you are nervous and alittle shyer you can hang back and just deliver specimens,organize paperwork, and direct patients very low key tasks. Or you can volunteer in a department like one of the ICU's and be very much in the middle of the chaos which can be alittle scarier but also very enlightening and a great learning opportunity. However, either way you're getting to see the hospital's inner workings in and get to soak in how the hospital runs while making a difference because have no doubt the UWMC would not work nearly as efficiently without their volunteers.
Other notes: They do not spoon feed you a volunteer position nor check in with how you are doing as a volunteer. To get started you have to take a lot of initiative and once you're a volunteer if you're unhappy in you're position it's up to you to go check in with volunteer services. They're happy to help once you go in but this isn't a volunteer program that cares if you're having a valuable experience or not. If you like a sense of leadership and community from programs you're involved in I wouldn't recommend this one because it is a very independent type of position at the UWMC.But very convenient in proximity.
More information: 206-598-4218 webpage: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
COPE Health Solutions
"Accountable for answering the patients’ call lights and assisting them with basic care requests on the assigned floor unit (about 25 patients) at Swedish Hopsital. Provide patient care after surgery, including assisting nursing staff with feeding patients, ambulating patients, changing linens, visiting with patients, and wound care."
When and for how long: I started August 2014 and am still in the program
Provider contact: There is a lot of contact with nurses and fewer with physicians, but there is still contact and interaction with physicians when they are rounding and checking-in with patients and conversing with them.
Patient & community contact: There is hands-on care with patients where some tasks are done by yourself or with assistance to nurse. The family of patients are often there during the recovery process.
Liked best: You get a lot of hands-on experience with patient care and interaction with health care team in the hospital.
More information: Poornima Bajwa
University of Washington Medical Center
"As a volunteer on the ICU, my main responsibility is to assist nurses. Here is pretty much what I do every time I volunteer... before entering the unit, I check the family waiting room for hot/cold water, napkins, cups etc to make sure there is enough for the patient families. I usually need to refill hot/cold water. After that I check the amount of coffee left in break room for nurses and make coffee for the nurses. There are usually some carts that need to be cleaned and restocked (each cart takes about 40 min to process), and volunteers need to clean the carts. If there is no more carts to clean, I usually stay near the front desk and assist PSS (answer phone calls, issue parking passes, collect blank patient charts, sending & receiving medicines etc). If I get lucky, there might be a chance to watch some procedures."
When and for how long: Since December 2012 till now
Provider contact: Most of the time I interact with nurses and watch busy physicians passing by. Everybody is very busy in the unit, but people are friendly.
Patient & community contact: Most of the patients I see on the unit are very sick and in a lot of pain. They are exhausted by their illnesses, and many of them are sedated. So there is not much interaction. Family members are very worried and stressed out, but they try to be nice if a volunteer offers help. Patient families typically do not ask for anything, but many are grateful that volunteers offer them warm blankets, water, pillow etc.
Liked best: It gives me an idea of the environment of a medical facility. People, especially those who are sick or stressed out, can be tough to deal with. I reassured myself that I like to "interact" with people like them.
More information: UWMC Volunteer Service
University of Washington Medical Center
"I was volunteering at the Outpatient Pharmacy. The main role of the position is to assist the Pharmacy staff in providing the best patient care service by taking responsibilities such as re-stocking vials, caps, and bottles, archiving prescription files and other pharmacy documents, tracking expiration dates to prevent use of outdated medications, and restocking office supplies at individual pharmacy staff stations to increase work efficiency."
When and for how long: It's been half a year and I'm still volunteering at the same location.
Provider contact: Through this volunteer, you are able to closely interact with the pharmacist manager of the Outpatient Pharmacy. The manager takes charge of assigning most jobs done during the volunteer shift depending on the varying assistance needed within the pharmacy. However, I approach the pharmacy technicians for help in terms of identifying medications by category for returned medications to be shelved.
Patient & community contact: Unfortunately, there is no direct contact with patients/family/community members regarding this position. It is with cooperating with the pharmacy staffs only.
Liked best: It is in part a shadowing experience of how a pharmacy works. You are exposed to a team of pharmacy staffs who you can watch and learn what their main duties are and to talk with them during their lunch breaks. Also, as you assist in tracking outdates and placing back return medications, you are able to familiarize the names of the medications and hone your organizational skills.
More information: fossc@uw.edu (Cynnie Foss, Volunteer Program Manager)
Seattle Children's Hospital
"My volunteer title was :Child Life Volunteer. There are many different departments that volunteers can choose from but I chose child life because it had maximum patient interaction. I volunteered 3 hours per week. My role consisted of setting up and cleaning up the communal patient playroom. These tasks were completed at the beginning and end of the shift. In between these times I visited various patient rooms, bringing toys, books, etc. I would spend time with patients and allow parents/guardians to take a break, if they wished."
When and for how long: April 2013-October 2013
Provider contact: I spoke to nurses prior to entering each patient room in order to check base about specific patient precautions or other details.
Patient & community contact: I had direct contact with patients and family members. I visited them in their rooms. My role for the patient was to provide some sort of entertainment or distraction by being a non-medicine related interaction. My role for the parent was to offer assistance by giving them time to leave the patient room with the assurance that someone was still with the patient.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience was interacting with patients. My role was small but it was great to get to know patients/families. Another great aspect about volunteering was simply seeing the environment of Children's. Having volunteered at Swedish Edmonds Hospital prior, I was able to directly compare the environments. It was very eye-opening to see how different hospitals can tailor to the specific needs of their patients.
More information: Chelsea Sandlin
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"My role was to plan the actual trip to Goldendale, and then make sure that things went smoothly once we arrived. Otherwise, my main responsibility was to be professional with all the doctors and clinic staff while we shadowed and with the host family after the work day was over."
When and for how long: I was in Goldendale, Washington for one week during UW's spring break.
Provider contact: It was pretty extensive. I shadowed four doctors, one PA, and one ARNP, so I was able to see a lot of different patients, procedures, and styles of care. In addition, I interacted with several nurses. From all of them, I learned a lot about medical care in rural areas and the struggles that can come with that. They came from a variety of areas, with some having lived in rural areas all their lives and others having chosen to move to a smaller town.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients was varied, usually depending on the healthcare provider that I was shadowing and how talkative the patient was. Some of them would talk to me of their own accord and ask about myself, and we would have conversations that way. Other times, the doctor had me take a closer look at something on the patient, so I would get a more scientific interaction with the patient as the doctor explained something to me.
Liked best: The best thing was the large variety in different types of things that I got to see when I was on this trip. Since everyone I shadowed was general practice, I got to see a lot of different types of people and issues. Watching doctors have to grapple with a wide array of issues looked challenging and exciting.
Other notes: HCASB is a good experience for people looking to shadow in rural areas as a way to see what kind of problems healthcare providers must deal with when they do not have all the resources and culture of a big city.
More information: The people in charge of me for HCASB last year all graduated, so I don't know how to contact them now, unfortunately.
Evergreen Hospital
"At the gift shop and the NICU, I didn't interact with any physicians or patients. However, at the Surgical Services desk, I had a nurse supervisor who worked with me. My duties included getting print outs of the surgery schedule for the next day, maintaining the cleanliness of the waiting room, compiling paperwork packets for patients and families to complete before surgery, check in patient family members and obtain their contact information, monitor the progress of the operating room board using online software, answer phone calls, accompany family members to the pre-operation care unit and post-anesthesia care unit, and direct physicians to family members after the surgery is complete."
When and for how long: I was there from 2010-2012, volunteering at the Gift Shop, NICU, and the Surgical Services desk
Provider contact: I worked alongside a nurse supervisor, who helped me with my duties. I also came in contact with surgical nurses who would pick up patients before surgery, as well as post-anesthesia care unit nurses when I went to check on the patients. Finally, I had contact with surgeons when they visited the family members after surgery. If the family member was absent, I would have to write down messages or instructions for the family members from the physician, or I'd have to go pick up a prescription that they'd sent to the pharmacy.
Patient & community contact: I had the most amount of contact with patient family members while they were in the waiting room. There was a wide spectrum of attitudes and behaviors that I saw, which is understandable since it's a very personal experience. Sometimes the family members would talk to me, and sometimes they'd just keep to themselves. At the very least, I always made sure to give them updates whenever the surgery status changed.
Liked best: I got to see a lot of things that I wouldn't have been able to as an outside observer. For instance, I knew next to nothing about the life of surgeons and healthcare policy, but after this experience, I definitely learned a lot. It shocked me that some patients would wait for hours after their scheduled surgery time in the pre-operation unit, because the surgeon had gone overtime on his last surgery. I thought there was a way to prevent that from happening, but it seems like there isn't. Furthermore, I got to see a really wide range of patients come through. Some of them just needed minor surgery (i.e to repair a knee injury), whereas others underwent major operations, like having a brain tumor removed. All of these people went through the Surgical Services desk.
Other notes: In order to work at surgical services, volunteers need to have Level 2 clearance due to exposure to patients. It's definitely a process, and you need to have a good amount of previous volunteer experience at the hospital.
More information: Volunteer office phone number: 425-899-1994
University of Washington Medical Center
"I was an escort at first. I discharged patients and did a lot of deliveries. I was then working as a volunteer in the Emergency Department. My main job was to check in with patients and do whatever the nurses and medical assistants assigned."
When and for how long: 2011 December - 2014 June, two and half years
Provider contact: I worked mainly with the nurses and medical assistants there. I passed on patients' request to them so they could check in with patients. I could also shadow them if there was something I would like to learn. There was once a patient who just had a serious car accident and a group of doctors were doing some procedures, and I was able to watch that.
Patient & community contact: I also communicated with these members a lot since my main job was to check in with them. I rounded in the department and asked everyone whether they were doing okay and if they would like anything. I got to talk to a lot of lonely patients a lot and brought them much comfort.
Liked best: I think I got the chance to talk to and comfort the patients there. Sometimes the Emergency Department was very busy and there were not enough nurses. Patients sometimes felt like they were ignored and I was able to be with them. This was something that nurses or medical assistants were not able to do.
More information: 206-598-4218
Evergreen Hospital
"Discharging patients, various administrative activities, delivering various packages, and escorting visitors."
When and for how long: 2008-2012
Provider contact: You were able to interact with nurses when discharging patients or delivering goods to various wards.
Patient & community contact: There was a lot of patient and visitor contact. The volunteer run information desk was the main location for patients and visitors to learn how to get around the hospital.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience was that the management allows you to think on your feet and problem solve under pressure without giving you direct commands unless the situation demands them.
More information: For more information, call the Volunteer office at 425.899.1994 or email mllong@evergreenhealthcare.org.
Swedish Hospital
"To assist all medical care providers with all types of tasks that promote the efficiency and quality of healthcare towards patients. These tasks can include rounding, transporting and comforting patients, as well as stocking and organizing medical supplies."
When and for how long: 4 hour shifts, past 2 years
Provider contact: I volunteer directly under the supervision and direction of medical care providers. I provide assistance with anything during medical preparations or procedures.
Patient & community contact: I am always checking in on patients during the brief or extended times that they are in the emergency department. My purpose is to provide comfort and information for patients and their families while they wait for procedures or results etc.
Liked best: My favorite experience was with a patient X. I recognized her from a different volunteering facility that I was a part of prior to this position. I had gotten to know her well with that other facility. She was an elderly woman with a severe hearing difficulty, and she too, recognized me when I checked in on her during my rounds at the ER. Her face lit up when she saw my familiar face in the hospital. She has a hard time hearing, and I knew that, so I already had a sense of how to make her feel comfortable and at ease. I spent a good time with her, sitting next to her and holding her hand to provide some comfort in such a busy and overwhelming ER. It really made me happy, and her too, to spend some time together in what can be an upsetting situation: sick and vulnerable at a busy ER.
More information: 425-640-4341
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Sacred Heart Medical Center
"I was an Emergency Room volunteer. I assisted with any non-clinical needs of the nurses, or physicians."
When and for how long: For one year, during march 2012-2013.
Provider contact: I shadowed doctors, was taught basic medical procedures, and observed a multitude of procedures with specialities including: trauma surgery, neurosurgery, pediatric ICU, raidology, and emergency medicine.
Patient & community contact: I was free to visit patients when appropriate, to talk to them and assist with non-clincal requests.
Liked best: Getting experience one on one with doctors and nurses. And learning how patients interact in different healtcare environments. I.E. how to make them feel less uncomfortable than they did.
More information: Brenda Johnson
Rural Mobile Health Clinic
"I was part of a rural mobile health clinic located in Surin, Thailand as a medical volunteer and some of the tasks were making medicine kits, dressing wounds, measuring blood pressure, etc."
When and for how long: 15 days
Provider contact: I had direct contact with the local doctors and nurses there.
Patient & community contact: I also had close, direct contact with the patients that came to the community clinic through dressing wounds and basic health measurements.
Liked best: It really changed my way of pursuing medicine in that I strived with a less self-centered approach and more humanitarian.
More information: N/A
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"I shadowed primary care physicians in Moses Lake from Monday through Thursday, then went to a local high school on Friday morning to talk about the values of higher education."
When and for how long: Spring break, the whole week
Provider contact: I shadowed a different physician each day, and got to chat with them during down times and ask about medicine.
Patient & community contact: We lived with a woman in a trailer park, and learned a lot about the community. We also heard a lot about the issues facing the community from the doctors we shadowed and the staff at the clinic.
Liked best: This experience solidified my desire to go to medical school, and piqued my interest in primary care.
More information: hcasb@uw.edu
Oregon Health and Science University Department of Vascular Surgery Summer Research Intern
"Primarily this volunteer opportunity was to conduct chart review studies, but also included clinical studies which involved consenting patients and collecting data from them. Besides conducting research I was also able to shadow the physicians in clinic, in the OR, and on occasion during rounds."
When and for how long: 3 sepearate summers for 3 months each
Provider contact: Because this was a clinical research internship my PI was a physician. The approach at OHSU's Department of Vascula Surgery is very team oriented and so I was able to interact quite a bit with all of the physicians on the team, which includes all of the attendings, the fellows, the residents, the interns, and the medical students. I also was able to interact with the circulation nurse and the scrub nurse down in the OR, as well as the MAs.
Patient & community contact: Through my opportunity I was able to shadow the physicians and attend clinic with them, where I got to interact with patients, and on occasion was also allowed to check for pulses. I interacted with patients in the PACU as well as interacted with patients that I approached to consent for my studies. There were also certain occasions during which I was allowed to shadow the physicians on their rounds.
Liked best: The best things about this experience was how hands on it was and the wide variety of experiences that I got to have was. I was able to do research, as well as shadow and contribute in journal club, it felt like a very comprehensive experience. Though this experiences I feel like I truly got a sense of what a similar career would look like, and I know exactly what I would be getting myself into.
More information: Amber Bruner @ OHSU
COPE Health Solutions
"Responsibilities include assisting nurses and other staff with tasks involved in patient care such as feeding, changing, and bathing patients. Other office type duties are performed as well as simply sitting in and watching various procedures."
When and for how long: June 2014-Current
Provider contact: This internship provides undergraduate students with 3 month rotations on varying units of the hospital to assist medical staff in providing comfort care tasks for the patients. Also there is the opportunity to shadow doctors and other specialists and sit in on varying procedures.
Patient & community contact: One of the best parts of this volunteer opportunity is that there is a significant amount of interaction with patients and their families. Most of the time the interactions are simple and brief, but other times the patients or family are looking for someone to talk to. One of the best parts about this volunteer position has simply been listening to the stories and experiences of those that I have interacted with.
Liked best: Networking with professionals in the field and seeing them at work
More information: Poornima Bajwa email: pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
Swedish Hospital Edmonds
"Working in the front desk, helping patients, wheel chairing patients."
When and for how long: High School for 1 year
Provider contact: Not very much. Mostly communicated with nurses.
Patient & community contact: Lots of patient interaction.
Liked best: Being in the hospital setting, which allowed me to see the interactions and hospital community. Seeing this actually deterred me away from becoming a doctor because I look more local and close interactions.
More information: Volunteer Coordinator
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"HCASB is a student run organization at UW that organizes healthcare shadowing trips to rural towns in Washington over spring break. It gives pre-health students a chance to understand the unique needs and opportunities of rural medicine, while also increasing their shadowing hours. I was a Team Leader, so I spent Winter quarter contacting different healthcare facilities in Sequim, WA to set up our week of shadowing and where to stay."
When and for how long: Spring Break 2014
Provider contact: I spent four full work days shadowing one on one with several different doctors, including family practice, opthamology, ob/gyn, and geriatric medicine.
Patient & community contact: I got to see healthcare providers working with many different types of patients, from young healthy people, to pregnant women, to elderly people in various states of health. While I did more shadowing than interacting, many patients were friendly and willing to answer questions or talk briefly. We also spent a few hours volunteering at an assisted living facility where we got to participate in the exercise activities with residents.
Liked best: Getting to meet and observe such a good range of medical specialties whom all share the same experience of working in a rural community was most valuable. It gave me insight to what career paths interested me more than others, and allowed me to contrast different perspectives on the benefits and challenges of urban vs. rural medicine.
Other notes: Applications for Team Leader positions close in Fall, and Participant applications close around the start of winter quarter, so its a good idea to start thinking about this beginning of Fall quarter.
More information: hcasb.org
Evergreen Medical Center
"Volunteered as front desk reception as well as delivered lab specimens and discharging of patients."
When and for how long: 170+ hours
Provider contact: Communicated with nurses as to when to discharge patients and any other possible tasks they needed our help with.
Patient & community contact: Talked to patients and family members regularly, whether it was at the front desk when family member were visiting and had question or if it was during the discharge.
Liked best: Interacting with patients and being able to make a, even if slight, difference at the hospital.
More information: Linda Watson

mental health provider

UW General Internal Medicine Center
"Stocking examination rooms, sorting faxes, and any miscellaneous projects that may come up."
When and for how long: Fall 2013 to present. 4 hours a week.
Provider contact: The clinic itself is relatively small, so you will always pass by a medical care provider. This clinic also trains resident doctors, which you can shadow.
Patient & community contact: Little to none during volunteer hours as most duties do not require you to be in the presence of a patient. On some rare occasions you may be asked to push a patient and their wheelchair to the lobby.
Liked best: The abundance of shadowing opportunities.
Other notes: This clinic is located at UWMC-Roosevelt, not the main hospital.
More information: UWMC Volunteer services. Volunteer manager: Cynnie Foss

nursing home

Sea Mar Community Health Centers
"I perform music for residents and patients of the Sea Mar Community Care Center in White Center."
When and for how long: I have been volunteering since March 2014, taking a break over the summer.
Provider contact: I interact primarily with nurses, nursing assistants, and other care staff.
Patient & community contact: I interact with the patients directly when I play music for them. I try to engage them with songs they like and encourage them to sing along.
Liked best: I love seeing the patients/residents respond to my music and sing along with me. I like getting to know them on an individual basis and seeing them regularly.
More information: http://www.seamar.org/static_pages/volunteer.php
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"HCASB is a student run organization at UW that organizes healthcare shadowing trips to rural towns in Washington over spring break. It gives pre-health students a chance to understand the unique needs and opportunities of rural medicine, while also increasing their shadowing hours. I was a Team Leader, so I spent Winter quarter contacting different healthcare facilities in Sequim, WA to set up our week of shadowing and where to stay."
When and for how long: Spring Break 2014
Provider contact: I spent four full work days shadowing one on one with several different doctors, including family practice, opthamology, ob/gyn, and geriatric medicine.
Patient & community contact: I got to see healthcare providers working with many different types of patients, from young healthy people, to pregnant women, to elderly people in various states of health. While I did more shadowing than interacting, many patients were friendly and willing to answer questions or talk briefly. We also spent a few hours volunteering at an assisted living facility where we got to participate in the exercise activities with residents.
Liked best: Getting to meet and observe such a good range of medical specialties whom all share the same experience of working in a rural community was most valuable. It gave me insight to what career paths interested me more than others, and allowed me to contrast different perspectives on the benefits and challenges of urban vs. rural medicine.
Other notes: Applications for Team Leader positions close in Fall, and Participant applications close around the start of winter quarter, so its a good idea to start thinking about this beginning of Fall quarter.
More information: hcasb.org

other

University of Washington Medical Center
"As a patient escort, my role was to provide services such as transporting patients in wheelchairs, blood refrigerators, patient test samples, letters, and gifts. In addition I also helped with paperwork by preparing mail, patient info forms, and filing patient charts. It was also common for me to act as a greeter with one or two other volunteer escorts by directing patients to where they need to go or walking them to their destination if possible."
When and for how long: Mostly on weekends, 4 hr a week for three years.
Provider contact: Little to no interaction with medical care providers. Never spoke to a doctor, spoke with some nurses but only to clarify objectives. Often spoke to med technicians and lab technicians on delivery pickup/dropoff.
Patient & community contact: High amount of patient interaction potential as well as with family members. A lot of experience with patient management is possible due to the nature of the escort position. Also worth noting is that you meet a lot of UW students and individuals from the Seattle area who are somewhere in the application process for a health related profession as well as members of the community (often retired) who are passionate about giving to the community.
Liked best: This was my first experience being in an environment where I was given responsibility of providing service to patients. Back in high school I was a really shy and quiet person, but volunteering as an escort forced me to be proactive and initiate conversations with patients and visitors in order to provide excellent service. Patient interaction was also a really eye opening experience. Being able to talk to patients span a wide range of backgrounds as well as handle stressful situations dealing with patient management are definitely skills that can be learned. I think this personal growth, in addition to being able to observe the mechanics of how one of the best hospitals in our nation come together, is really great.
Other notes: While volunteering I often heard others complain that they aren't able to interact with doctors, nurses, PAs, etc. while being an escort. In my opinion those types of experiences are acquired through shadowing. This experience is heavily correlated with how much personal effort a person makes to take on tasks and proactively provide service to patients. In addition, while volunteering I have seen lots of changes happen to the volunteer program. When I started there were many things escorts were able to do, but since then there have been more and more restrictions and cutbacks on the variety of tasks escorts can do. I think it's mostly limited to patient transport and greeting now. It's partially due to this that I chose to retire from volunteering at the UWMC after three years and move onto other volunteering projects.
More information: Volunteer Services: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer/requirements/application
Camp Korey
"Take care of the campers (campers were separated into cabins by age groups) and take whole cabin activity to activity, as well as make sure the campers take their designated medicine at the appropriate times."
When and for how long: Summer 2014, week-long
Provider contact: We mainly checked in with our designated cabin's nurse to make sure the campers have taken their medications and if there was anything to watch out for, but there was a constant direct contact.
Patient & community contact: Family wasn't allowed at the camp other than to drop and pick off their kids. But we oversaw everything the patients (campers) did throughout the week and watched out for their wellbeing. We kept the spirit and energy up as well!
Liked best: Being able to be around children, who are facing life's biggest struggles, and still see them be overjoyed by life's small, happy moments is incredibly heartwarming. It was an exhausting volunteer position, but it was very rewarding seeing how you can make an impact on these kids' lives.
More information: Janelle Kitson: 425-844-3190, jkitson@campkorey.org
Global Dental Brigades UW Chapter
"I was in charge of holding charlas where I showed kids how to brush. I also got the chance to shadowing a dentist while she performed dental procedures."
When and for how long: Summer of 2013, 9 days
Provider contact: I shadowed a dentist and got to ask any questions I had.
Patient & community contact: I got to teach them how to brush and take care of there oral hygiene.
Liked best: The best part was when the kids got there brushes and they treated it as if they had just got there hands on the newest piece of technology.
More information: Depends who is president of the club that year
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Translate for American doctors and dentists to diagnose Vietnamese villagers. Sort medicine into small bags for prescribing and explain to patients how to use."
When and for how long: 2 weeks but trained for 1 year
Provider contact: Become the voice for the doctors and dentists to help the patients understand dental treatments (usually teeth extractions) or diagnosis.
Patient & community contact: To fund the cost of the medicine and supplies we had to host a banquet which required contact with family and businesses to support us. That year we raised 28K in one night.
Liked best: Living in a foreign country for 2 weeks. Making new friends with the student volunteers and health professionals. Stark difference in the appreciation of care from Vietnamese patients vs American patients.
More information: Scott Fung
Med Life
"Volunteer for a medical brigade- to bring free medicine/healthcare to underserved, and impoverished communities. I went on two separate occasions- once in Lima, Peru, and then in Tena, Ecuador. Both wonderful experiences, I got to help heakth professionals set up the clinics, sort medicine, translate, and take vitals and mecial history of the patients."
When and for how long: April 2012; December 2013
Provider contact: Side by side, watching them work! Sometimes I would translate from Spanish to English for other students observing.
Patient & community contact: Once again, very hands on, especially when writing down medical history and taking vitals. I got to learn a lot about the way certain people in communities live, by speaking to people who waited in line for care.
Liked best: It simply feels good to help people who need it.
More information: www.medlifeweb.org
PCLI
"My role at the cataract eye surgery clinic: PCLI was to shadow optometrists, anesthesiologist, and ophthalmologist. as they prepared patients and went through routine checks before they were ready to go through cataract eye surgeries. Then I met the anesthesiologist that numbed the patients and finally the ophthalmologist performing all the surgeries."
When and for how long: September 2014, for one day.
Provider contact: I shadowed the optometrists as they prepared patients and went through routine checks before they were ready to go through cataract eye surgeries. Then I met the anesthesiologist that numbed the patients and finally the ophthalmologist performing all the surgeries.
Patient & community contact: I followed a patient every step of the way, from the waiting room all the way to the end of her surgery. This allowed me to build a strong connection with her because I had become her friend, holding her hand through every step, and was able to hear about her case through the numerous doctors perspectives and for her side as well, regarding her current eye health condition.
Liked best: The very up close experience of being in my very first surgery setting. I felt like I was a doctor at that moment because of how close I was during the process and the connection I had built with the patients and doctors, I felt as though I was one of them.
University of Washington Athletic Department
"I am a sports medicine intern through the University of Washington Athletic department. I shadow different athletic trainers as they treat the athletes. I assist in some rehab and different modalities to help the student athletes in their recovery. I also help by disinfecting and cleaning different pieces of equipment as well as assisting in the set up of onsite first aid and water stations."
When and for how long: From August 2014-present
Provider contact: I work directly under one athletic trainer assigned to one sport and rotate to a different athletic trainer every month or so.
Patient & community contact: I am right beside the athletic trainer as they treat the different patients. I also directly work with the patient by providing them with different treatments such as massage, ice, deep muscle stimulating (DMS), etc.
Liked best: Being able to build a rapport with the athletes that came in for multiple treatments. Working with them directly and building a connection with them by helping them.
More information: Michael Dillon, mldillon@uw.edu
Fellowship Bible Church
"I was part of a Medical Outreach team providing medical relief in the jungles of Africa, specifically Liberia. My role was to screen patients, building medical history and symptom reports allowing our limited team of doctors to see more patients quickly."
When and for how long: June 2013 for 3 weeks
Provider contact: I worked side by side both nurses and doctors to bring direly needed medical supplies and aid to one of the poorest nations in the world. I made the initial contact with patients, separating the severely sick to those that are simply dehydrated but lack even the basic knowledge of health awareness to realize it. This allowed the Doctors to maximize time with the truly sick patients coming through our clinic.
Patient & community contact: I was able to have numerous one-on-one patient interactions seeing anywhere from 20-40 patients in a day. Putting the patient at ease, making them comfortable and then making an initial assessment of the patient needs.
Liked best: The best part of this experience was the patient interactions. I have never been exposed to such poverty, sickness and starvation. Meeting countless Africans every day who live incredibly difficult lives was a humbling experience. Learning how to communicate through cultural gaps was both difficult and rewarding. The singly most influential experience was my encounter with my very first patient, a mother bringing her 8 year old son. The boy was severely emaciated and paralyzed to the point that he could not support his own head nor move anything more than his eyes. He had been this way for 2 months and his body was rejecting any sustenance. With primitive medical diagnostic equipment our doctors were unable to do much more than guess what was causing the symptoms. This boy, Togba, stayed under my care for three days before he finally died. I will never forget Togba, and he is largely the reason for my pursuit of medical school.
Sea Mar Community Health Center
"I was in charge of leading small groups of the migrant children in short lessons and educational activities concerning preventive dental health care techniques, including proper teeth brushing and flossing methods."
When and for how long: For approx. 3 hours during 3 different mobile medical and dental education clinics at a migrant workers camp in Mount Vernon, WA. Summer 2013.
Provider contact: I worked with the dental health care providers while preparing the material I was in charge of presenting the children with. When my presentations were over, I also helped run supplies to the stations where the dental health care providers were.
Patient & community contact: I was able to work closely with the children of the migrant workers to help give them some basic preventive health care education. Several times that day, I also had to translate for one of the other volunteers while they were giving their presentation and running through their activity. I was able to help answer the children's questions, mostly in English and a bit in Spanish to the best of my ability.
Liked best: It was a really unique experience and not something I would have pictured myself doing when I thought about volunteering in the health care field. The mobile clinic not only provided education workshops for the children and adults in this migrant camp, they also provided free dental and medical check ups to the people there and even performed basic procedures on patients (some of which I was able to observe). The work I did may have been centered a little more on education but it was really rewarding to be able to show someone how they can avoid bad oral health so it doesn't come back to bite them in the future. I really enjoyed how hands on and interactive of an experience it was, especially with a population that is typically underserved in the health care field.
More information: Sea Mar CHC - Mount Vernon Dental Clinic 1400 N LaVenture Mount Vernon, Washington 98273
University of Washington Global Medical Brigade
"Global Medical Brigades develops sustainable health initiatives and provides relief where there is limited access to health care. Global Medical Brigades is just one part of the Global Brigades organization. Other programs include dental, public health, water, environmental, architecture, law, business, and microfinance. Together, these programs make up the world's largest student-led development organization and work off each other since there are many overlapping factors of our work. For Global Medical Brigades, students and recruited health professionals travel together to rural villages to provide free health care and conduct health education workshops to empower local leaders."
When and for how long: In the club for one year, travelled to Panama for a medical mission for one week of September 2013. (Now the group goes to Nicaragua)
Provider contact: We interacted with nurses and physicians. Triage is usually comprised of nurses and is the next stop for patients after intake. In triage, patients relay their symptoms and ailments while volunteers administer glucose tests, take blood pressure, weigh patients, etc. Nurses oversee any volunteer/patient conversations, aid in translation, description of symptoms, and vital taking. The consultation station is comprised of doctors who attend to patients after they have been through triage. Doctors consult, diagnose and then prescribe the medication they feel is best suited for each individual patient. If a doctor comes across an ailment they feel the brigade does not have the proper medication or equipment to address, that doctor can refer the patient to the clinic for further treatment provided free of cost by Global Medical Brigades. Students purely observe during this rotation with the opportunity to ask the physician questions about diagnosis and treatment plan.
Patient & community contact: Each brigade consists of different stations (typically intake, triage, physician consultation, pharmacy, and health education). Each volunteer will be rotated through each station, although it is much easier to place Spanish speaking volunteers to certain roles, such as translating and triage. Patients generally wait in line to be seen by students working in triage, then by the doctors in the consultation room. All patients receive prescribed medication and vitamins, in addition to attending health education workshops we put on. Volunteers interact with patients at each level, with more observation when shadowing the consultation. We also rotated through a "break" station and in this gap we played games with the children in the school yard.
Liked best: This was an incredible opportunity to experience the lifestyle and culture of a country very different from the US. I appreciated the exposure to diversity, the mode of rural health care in a third world country, and the role of healthcare in the every day context for Panamanians.
Other notes: There is a fee to participate and it's a competitive application. Apps usually open fall quarter with the trip planned for the end of summer following the application cycle.
More information: uwbrigades@gmail.com
Seattle Union Gospel Mission
"Sterilization, Assistant chair-side with dentist, cleaning, preparing and taking down rooms, maintenance of facility"
When and for how long: November 2014 - present
Provider contact: The volunteers mostly talk to the dental assistant(s) there, but since the facility is so small, talking with dentists are very common as well
Patient & community contact: I have no contact to the patients
Liked best: Being in a dental enviroment and learning about the preliminary skills someone who wants to go into dentistry should have.
More information: ugm.com/volunteer
Red Cross
"I was a volunteer at first aid stations at various events in Seattle such as Hempfest and alcoholics anonymous. I helped people who need care, from something as small as a bandaid to having a concussion and needing to go to the hospital. This was a very rewarding experience and the red cross gives you all the training for free."
When and for how long: spring/summer/fall 2014
Provider contact: You work with other volunteers and also AMR first responders, EMTs.
Patient & community contact: You have direct contact with community members and you directly treat/help them when you are at the first aid station or when you are doing rounds around the event.
Liked best: There is a lot of patient contact and a lot of opportunities to learn more about first aid and emergency response.
More information: Brendon.Bottle@redcross.org
Washington Oral Health Foundation (WOHF)
"I began by visiting the office once a week to help with office organization of their educational materials. A few months into the volunteering, I took on a larger role and began to make a new presentation for the organization to give to students about oral health. I did the majority of work on this from home on my own computer. In the end, I created 4 presentations for different age-groups that are still being used today by WOHF."
When and for how long: I volunteered there in 2013 for about 8 months.
Provider contact: I consulted a dentist that I job-shadowed for information to include in the presentation material.
Patient & community contact: I did not contact any patients.
Liked best: The best part was that the organization valued my work enough to actually use what I created.
Other notes: I hope to find the time to give the presentation to students soon.
More information: NA-my contact left the organization
Nick of Time Foundation- UW
"To help the Nick of Time Foundation with their mission of increasing awareness of sudden cardiac arrest, as well as increasing availability of heart screenings to adolescents throughout Washington. Namely, to volunteer at their many events and help their cause."
When and for how long: I've been an active member since Fall 2013.
Provider contact: At the heart screenings the NOTF holds, I was able to work side by side with talented cardiologists towards a common goal. This has led to many opportunities to see these doctors in action, as well as talk to them about Medical School and the field in general.
Patient & community contact: Once again at the heart screenings, I have worked closely with patients. This involved placing EKG leads, talking to them prior to the doctor's visit, and teaching them CPR while they wait.
Liked best: Through my volunteer work with the NOTF, I have been given the opportunity to work with doctors towards something that we are all passionate about. It is an amazing chance to learn from them, learn from the patients, and give back to the community.
More information: notfuw@uw.edu

outpatient clinic with multiple providers

University of Washington Medical Center
"As a patient escort, my role was to provide services such as transporting patients in wheelchairs, blood refrigerators, patient test samples, letters, and gifts. In addition I also helped with paperwork by preparing mail, patient info forms, and filing patient charts. It was also common for me to act as a greeter with one or two other volunteer escorts by directing patients to where they need to go or walking them to their destination if possible."
When and for how long: Mostly on weekends, 4 hr a week for three years.
Provider contact: Little to no interaction with medical care providers. Never spoke to a doctor, spoke with some nurses but only to clarify objectives. Often spoke to med technicians and lab technicians on delivery pickup/dropoff.
Patient & community contact: High amount of patient interaction potential as well as with family members. A lot of experience with patient management is possible due to the nature of the escort position. Also worth noting is that you meet a lot of UW students and individuals from the Seattle area who are somewhere in the application process for a health related profession as well as members of the community (often retired) who are passionate about giving to the community.
Liked best: This was my first experience being in an environment where I was given responsibility of providing service to patients. Back in high school I was a really shy and quiet person, but volunteering as an escort forced me to be proactive and initiate conversations with patients and visitors in order to provide excellent service. Patient interaction was also a really eye opening experience. Being able to talk to patients span a wide range of backgrounds as well as handle stressful situations dealing with patient management are definitely skills that can be learned. I think this personal growth, in addition to being able to observe the mechanics of how one of the best hospitals in our nation come together, is really great.
Other notes: While volunteering I often heard others complain that they aren't able to interact with doctors, nurses, PAs, etc. while being an escort. In my opinion those types of experiences are acquired through shadowing. This experience is heavily correlated with how much personal effort a person makes to take on tasks and proactively provide service to patients. In addition, while volunteering I have seen lots of changes happen to the volunteer program. When I started there were many things escorts were able to do, but since then there have been more and more restrictions and cutbacks on the variety of tasks escorts can do. I think it's mostly limited to patient transport and greeting now. It's partially due to this that I chose to retire from volunteering at the UWMC after three years and move onto other volunteering projects.
More information: Volunteer Services: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer/requirements/application
Group Health Cooperative - Capitol Hill
"I volunteer in the Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy department, doing maintenance/cleaning duties and shadowing physical therapists, getting exposure and experience for the PT profession."
When and for how long: Spring 2014-Present
Provider contact: Contact with Physical Therapists included shadowing/assisting the PTs when needed where appropriate.
Patient & community contact: Assisted patients with some exercises, sometimes just observed and learned diagnostic/rehabilitative strategies & techniques.
Liked best: Group Health is a welcoming environment, and the PT department at Capitol Hill is filled with great role models for the profession. I have the utmost respect for the physical therapists there, and have enjoyed observing and learning from them. Your volunteer hours are flexible, and they help make the volunteering experience work for your schedule.
More information: Jeannette Flodin, flodin.j@ghc.org (Volunteer Coordinator)
PCLI
"My role at the cataract eye surgery clinic: PCLI was to shadow optometrists, anesthesiologist, and ophthalmologist. as they prepared patients and went through routine checks before they were ready to go through cataract eye surgeries. Then I met the anesthesiologist that numbed the patients and finally the ophthalmologist performing all the surgeries."
When and for how long: September 2014, for one day.
Provider contact: I shadowed the optometrists as they prepared patients and went through routine checks before they were ready to go through cataract eye surgeries. Then I met the anesthesiologist that numbed the patients and finally the ophthalmologist performing all the surgeries.
Patient & community contact: I followed a patient every step of the way, from the waiting room all the way to the end of her surgery. This allowed me to build a strong connection with her because I had become her friend, holding her hand through every step, and was able to hear about her case through the numerous doctors perspectives and for her side as well, regarding her current eye health condition.
Liked best: The very up close experience of being in my very first surgery setting. I felt like I was a doctor at that moment because of how close I was during the process and the connection I had built with the patients and doctors, I felt as though I was one of them.
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Soliciting in order to raise money for the medical supplies we were to bring on our trip. Contact other health professions to assist us on our trip because they are the only way how we can treat them. The volunteers and leaders who were mainly under-graduates were only able to observe, assist and scribe for the health professionals."
When and for how long: From the beginning of 2014 until late september of the same year.
Provider contact: Scribe for the medical care providers. Some students and I were able to become translators between the patients and the health professions. Medical care providers were also able to teach us diseases/sicknesses the patients had, and how we can tell from our diagnosis on how they have it.
Patient & community contact: Consulting with the villagers. Teaching them on how to take their medication. Teaching them what their sickness is. Teaching patients the basics of public health (Water sanitation, risks of drinking alcohol/smoking obsessively, brushing teeth), in order to prevent exposure to some microbes that can cause harm to us.
Liked best: Going to a different country and using my ability to interact with patients in a medical/clinical setting. Working in a clinic that was student ran. A lot of work and communication was required.
More information: info@vnhealth.org
Sea Mar Community Health Centers
"I perform music for residents and patients of the Sea Mar Community Care Center in White Center."
When and for how long: I have been volunteering since March 2014, taking a break over the summer.
Provider contact: I interact primarily with nurses, nursing assistants, and other care staff.
Patient & community contact: I interact with the patients directly when I play music for them. I try to engage them with songs they like and encourage them to sing along.
Liked best: I love seeing the patients/residents respond to my music and sing along with me. I like getting to know them on an individual basis and seeing them regularly.
More information: http://www.seamar.org/static_pages/volunteer.php
UW General Internal Medicine Center
"Stocking examination rooms, sorting faxes, and any miscellaneous projects that may come up."
When and for how long: Fall 2013 to present. 4 hours a week.
Provider contact: The clinic itself is relatively small, so you will always pass by a medical care provider. This clinic also trains resident doctors, which you can shadow.
Patient & community contact: Little to none during volunteer hours as most duties do not require you to be in the presence of a patient. On some rare occasions you may be asked to push a patient and their wheelchair to the lobby.
Liked best: The abundance of shadowing opportunities.
Other notes: This clinic is located at UWMC-Roosevelt, not the main hospital.
More information: UWMC Volunteer services. Volunteer manager: Cynnie Foss
Neighborcare Health
"Community outreach volunteer, did outreach to current medical patients to referred them to our dental clinic. Well child check reminders to infants and childrens."
When and for how long: Was there since 2012
Provider contact: Did not really have much contact with medical care providers. I did shadow the dental providers and have a great relationship with them.
Patient & community contact: Usually not much due to working in the office.
Liked best: Learning about how healthcare works.
More information: 206-461-6935 or info@neighborcare.org
Seattle Children's Hospital in Belleuve
"I had a few different roles at the hospital. I started off as a greeter at the main entrance, making sure to answer that patients and their families feel welcomed and get all the information necessary while at the hospital. I would usually provide information about the facility, such as where the restrooms are, where the vending machines are, where they need to check in for their appointments, what is the closest restaurant or grocery store, how to get on I-5 or 520. My second position was at a Surgery Center desk where I served as a mediator between the medical staff and families of the patients getting the surgical procedure. I was the one to greet them as they walk out of the induction room after their child has been put the sleep, make sure they know around what time the procedure should be done, what are the next steps for them and for their child and to take them either straight to the recovery or to the waiting room. The third position that I am just starting is in the recovery room where I am making sure that recovery rooms are cleaned and set up for the next patient."
When and for how long: I am volunteering there since July 2014
Provider contact: As a volunteer are a surgery center, I had to keep track of the cases and families in the waiting area, recovery and rooms. Drs. needed everything to run smoothly at the waiting room with parents so they can talk to them about the procedure and move to the next case. I had a responsibility of making sure the family is in their assigned waiting room at the time the doctor walks in to talk to them. As the schedules sometimes get very busy, I needed to coordinate with the charge and induction room nurse to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Patient & community contact: Right after the induction room, I was the first person that family and parents would talk to. They would usually be very emotional after seeing their child go to sleep, and I would make sure they are ok. I would let them know how long the procedure is and when the doctor should be coming to talk to them. I would walk them to their waiting room and let them know as soon as they are able to go back to the recovery room and rejoin with their child. In the mean time, for anything they need I would be the first source. I made sure they knew my name and my role and that they are being the most comfortable during their stay.
Liked best: The best thing was to feel that you are making families the most comfortable with their stay in the hospital while their child is getting a procedure. Multiple times I have been thanked for the service as I have contributed to making their stay at the hospital the most pleasant as it can be. Additionally, I got to see how the whole hospital works and how many people and different professions it takes to make the hospital work properly. I as a volunteer had a clear role and felt that I was making a great contribution toward making the families and patients satisfied with the service at Seattle Children's.
More information: Patricia Hovik, patricia.hovik@seattlechildrens.org
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"My role was to plan the actual trip to Goldendale, and then make sure that things went smoothly once we arrived. Otherwise, my main responsibility was to be professional with all the doctors and clinic staff while we shadowed and with the host family after the work day was over."
When and for how long: I was in Goldendale, Washington for one week during UW's spring break.
Provider contact: It was pretty extensive. I shadowed four doctors, one PA, and one ARNP, so I was able to see a lot of different patients, procedures, and styles of care. In addition, I interacted with several nurses. From all of them, I learned a lot about medical care in rural areas and the struggles that can come with that. They came from a variety of areas, with some having lived in rural areas all their lives and others having chosen to move to a smaller town.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients was varied, usually depending on the healthcare provider that I was shadowing and how talkative the patient was. Some of them would talk to me of their own accord and ask about myself, and we would have conversations that way. Other times, the doctor had me take a closer look at something on the patient, so I would get a more scientific interaction with the patient as the doctor explained something to me.
Liked best: The best thing was the large variety in different types of things that I got to see when I was on this trip. Since everyone I shadowed was general practice, I got to see a lot of different types of people and issues. Watching doctors have to grapple with a wide array of issues looked challenging and exciting.
Other notes: HCASB is a good experience for people looking to shadow in rural areas as a way to see what kind of problems healthcare providers must deal with when they do not have all the resources and culture of a big city.
More information: The people in charge of me for HCASB last year all graduated, so I don't know how to contact them now, unfortunately.
Rural Mobile Health Clinic
"I was part of a rural mobile health clinic located in Surin, Thailand as a medical volunteer and some of the tasks were making medicine kits, dressing wounds, measuring blood pressure, etc."
When and for how long: 15 days
Provider contact: I had direct contact with the local doctors and nurses there.
Patient & community contact: I also had close, direct contact with the patients that came to the community clinic through dressing wounds and basic health measurements.
Liked best: It really changed my way of pursuing medicine in that I strived with a less self-centered approach and more humanitarian.
More information: N/A
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"I shadowed primary care physicians in Moses Lake from Monday through Thursday, then went to a local high school on Friday morning to talk about the values of higher education."
When and for how long: Spring break, the whole week
Provider contact: I shadowed a different physician each day, and got to chat with them during down times and ask about medicine.
Patient & community contact: We lived with a woman in a trailer park, and learned a lot about the community. We also heard a lot about the issues facing the community from the doctors we shadowed and the staff at the clinic.
Liked best: This experience solidified my desire to go to medical school, and piqued my interest in primary care.
More information: hcasb@uw.edu
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"HCASB is a student run organization at UW that organizes healthcare shadowing trips to rural towns in Washington over spring break. It gives pre-health students a chance to understand the unique needs and opportunities of rural medicine, while also increasing their shadowing hours. I was a Team Leader, so I spent Winter quarter contacting different healthcare facilities in Sequim, WA to set up our week of shadowing and where to stay."
When and for how long: Spring Break 2014
Provider contact: I spent four full work days shadowing one on one with several different doctors, including family practice, opthamology, ob/gyn, and geriatric medicine.
Patient & community contact: I got to see healthcare providers working with many different types of patients, from young healthy people, to pregnant women, to elderly people in various states of health. While I did more shadowing than interacting, many patients were friendly and willing to answer questions or talk briefly. We also spent a few hours volunteering at an assisted living facility where we got to participate in the exercise activities with residents.
Liked best: Getting to meet and observe such a good range of medical specialties whom all share the same experience of working in a rural community was most valuable. It gave me insight to what career paths interested me more than others, and allowed me to contrast different perspectives on the benefits and challenges of urban vs. rural medicine.
Other notes: Applications for Team Leader positions close in Fall, and Participant applications close around the start of winter quarter, so its a good idea to start thinking about this beginning of Fall quarter.
More information: hcasb.org
Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute
"I job shadowed many Optometrists working in the medical aspect of optometry. I also sat in on multiple cataract surgeries in the Operating Room."
When and for how long: September 2014, one day
Provider contact: I was able to talk to the doctors and surgeon about what they did for a job. They told me about the pros and cons of their jobs. I was also able to learn a lot about the lifestyles of the doctors outside of the workday.
Patient & community contact: I was able to talk to patients about their symptoms as well as using some of the medical equipment in the office.
Liked best: The best thing about this job shadowing experience was that I was able to see the medical side of optometry that really appeals to me. I was also able to learn about the lifestyle of an optometrist which helped me realize that this is a field that I am very interested in pursuing. The doctors all were able to balance a social and family life outside of their jobs.
More information: Phone number: (360) 748-8632

rehabilitation center

University of Washington Athletic Department
"I am a sports medicine intern through the University of Washington Athletic department. I shadow different athletic trainers as they treat the athletes. I assist in some rehab and different modalities to help the student athletes in their recovery. I also help by disinfecting and cleaning different pieces of equipment as well as assisting in the set up of onsite first aid and water stations."
When and for how long: From August 2014-present
Provider contact: I work directly under one athletic trainer assigned to one sport and rotate to a different athletic trainer every month or so.
Patient & community contact: I am right beside the athletic trainer as they treat the different patients. I also directly work with the patient by providing them with different treatments such as massage, ice, deep muscle stimulating (DMS), etc.
Liked best: Being able to build a rapport with the athletes that came in for multiple treatments. Working with them directly and building a connection with them by helping them.
More information: Michael Dillon, mldillon@uw.edu
Seattle Children's Hospital
"I volunteer in the Child Life department - so my major role is to interact (basically spend time/hang out and play) with patients in need. This may be due to the patient's parents needing a break, or it can be a case where the patient's family is not in the same country. Either way, the goal is to let the patient feel more at home at the hospital by providing them with a better experience during their stay at Seattle Children's. Before and after spending time with patients, I help clean and organize toys for the playroom, as well as prepare and clean up the playroom itself."
When and for how long: Started in Fall of 2013, and still volunteering
Provider contact: Before I visit each patient, I get to speak with the nurse about any problems or concerns I should keep in mind about the patient. The nurse will occasionally visit the room (usually to check vitals) during my stay. Generally, the nurses are quite friendly, and will ask me about what I do, what I am studying and what my future goals are. On 'rare' occasions, a doctor (presumably the surgeon for the patient in some cases), and more often residences, will stop by as well. In these instances, they may also ask about my background - but usually they are concentrating on the patient! (Which does give a good insight on what they do)
Patient & community contact: My interactions with the patients are fairly direct - I get to play games, talk, watch movies and more with them. My contact with the patient's family members (usually their parents) is less frequent. However, most parents at the hospital are nice and enjoy talking with me for a little bit. They do enjoy being able to talk about their experiences and concerns about what is happening with their child - which they may not be able to do too often.
Liked best: For me, the people who I work with in this hospital - be it volunteers, doctors, nurses or receptionists - have really opened me up to an outstanding group of individuals. These people genuinely care about other's well-being; and wanting to go into a medical profession, I feel that that is the most important asset to have. Seattle Children's gives a fantastic example of how a family-friendly hospital should be like.
More information: amy.faris@seattlechildrens.org
Little Bit Theraputic Riding Center
"Interact with horses and children with disabilities and their parents."
When and for how long: High school 4 years and college
Provider contact: Physical therapists control the class and give instructions.
Patient & community contact: Talk to parents before and after the class, help the kids ride and play games with them.
Liked best: Seeing the kids have fun and seeing the differences from week to week
More information: (425) 882-1554
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"HCASB is a student run organization at UW that organizes healthcare shadowing trips to rural towns in Washington over spring break. It gives pre-health students a chance to understand the unique needs and opportunities of rural medicine, while also increasing their shadowing hours. I was a Team Leader, so I spent Winter quarter contacting different healthcare facilities in Sequim, WA to set up our week of shadowing and where to stay."
When and for how long: Spring Break 2014
Provider contact: I spent four full work days shadowing one on one with several different doctors, including family practice, opthamology, ob/gyn, and geriatric medicine.
Patient & community contact: I got to see healthcare providers working with many different types of patients, from young healthy people, to pregnant women, to elderly people in various states of health. While I did more shadowing than interacting, many patients were friendly and willing to answer questions or talk briefly. We also spent a few hours volunteering at an assisted living facility where we got to participate in the exercise activities with residents.
Liked best: Getting to meet and observe such a good range of medical specialties whom all share the same experience of working in a rural community was most valuable. It gave me insight to what career paths interested me more than others, and allowed me to contrast different perspectives on the benefits and challenges of urban vs. rural medicine.
Other notes: Applications for Team Leader positions close in Fall, and Participant applications close around the start of winter quarter, so its a good idea to start thinking about this beginning of Fall quarter.
More information: hcasb.org
Evergreen Medical Center
"Volunteered as front desk reception as well as delivered lab specimens and discharging of patients."
When and for how long: 170+ hours
Provider contact: Communicated with nurses as to when to discharge patients and any other possible tasks they needed our help with.
Patient & community contact: Talked to patients and family members regularly, whether it was at the front desk when family member were visiting and had question or if it was during the discharge.
Liked best: Interacting with patients and being able to make a, even if slight, difference at the hospital.
More information: Linda Watson

small business/clinic (e.g., independent dentist)

HealthPoint
"My main role was to make reminder phone calls to patients that need to come in for their annual check up/well child check up/mammogram/etc. I would also aid in various other administrative duties when needed."
When and for how long: July-September 2012
Provider contact: I was introduced to all the medical care providers in the clinic and had the option to shadow but I was not able to do so at the time.
Patient & community contact: I would be given a list of patients of all ages to call. The patients were for the most part from the surrounding community. I spoke to many of the patients on these lists about coming into the clinic for the check up they were due for.
Liked best: This was where I first learned not to take negative comments people may say to heart. Often times patients would not know what I was calling for and think I was trying to sell them a product they were not interested in.
Other notes: Although this opportunity did not necessarily provide me experience with a doctor or nurse directly, I was grateful for the patient contact. I was able to talk to patients and learned about the language barriers that may come between a provider and a patient which was not something I had previously thought about before. Also, HealthPoint provides care for many low income families. It is difficult to provide preventative care when patients don't want to come in to see the doctor whether it is for financial reasons or because they don't understand what their check up is for.
More information: 425-277-1566
Union Gospel Mission Dental Clinic
"As volunteers, we make sure that the clinic is in order and clean. We also greet patients and set up the stations where they have their appointments. Volunteers learn to assist chair side with local dentists who also volunteer their time at the UGM dental clinic, take x-rays and develop film, and how to sterilize dental tools. Although volunteer work at the UGM dental clinic goes far beyond the office, as volunteers can also help by organizing fundraisers, applying for grants, and other activities that help organize the clinic."
When and for how long: I began volunteering there in August 2014 and still currently volunteer there
Provider contact: I get to work alongside the providers as they are treating and helping patients. It is really great to be able to do this as many of the dentists understand that the volunteers are aspiring to go to dental school, so they are very accommodating with explaining what they are doing and why.
Patient & community contact: At the UGM, we get to work directly with patients by taking their dental history, blood pressure, and encouraging them to consistently come in when they can for dental care. With the patients, our job is to make them feel welcomed and make sure they get the best care possible with the available resources.
Liked best: Not only do I get hands on experience volunteering at the UGM dental clinic, I get to learn so many things about other important aspects in dentistry other than just teeth. For example, I learn the importance of sterilization and how to do that, how to take x-rays, and the incredible work that dental assistants do for dentists. I also get to see a wide range of patients and learn more about them and their lives.
More information: Juanita Banks --> jbanks@ugm.org
Dental Mission Trips
"Simple assisting jobs such as sterilizing equipment and calling patients because I am not trained to be a dentist and do not yet have the ability to work on patients."
When and for how long: 3 weeks
Provider contact: Some days I would have more contact with the care providers that others. On days I had the most contact with them, I was with them while they were working on a patient and handing them tools. On the days that I had less contact with them, I would be sterilizing instruments or calling patients.
Patient & community contact: Like with the care providers, the amount of contact I had with the patients fluctuated. Depending on the day, I would have short conversations with them, or I would only check them in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was being able to make a difference in the daily lives of the patients and being able to see how grateful they were for something that I often take for granted. It really changed the way I viewed my everyday health care.
More information: dentalmissiontrips@gmail.com
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"HCASB is a student run organization at UW that organizes healthcare shadowing trips to rural towns in Washington over spring break. It gives pre-health students a chance to understand the unique needs and opportunities of rural medicine, while also increasing their shadowing hours. I was a Team Leader, so I spent Winter quarter contacting different healthcare facilities in Sequim, WA to set up our week of shadowing and where to stay."
When and for how long: Spring Break 2014
Provider contact: I spent four full work days shadowing one on one with several different doctors, including family practice, opthamology, ob/gyn, and geriatric medicine.
Patient & community contact: I got to see healthcare providers working with many different types of patients, from young healthy people, to pregnant women, to elderly people in various states of health. While I did more shadowing than interacting, many patients were friendly and willing to answer questions or talk briefly. We also spent a few hours volunteering at an assisted living facility where we got to participate in the exercise activities with residents.
Liked best: Getting to meet and observe such a good range of medical specialties whom all share the same experience of working in a rural community was most valuable. It gave me insight to what career paths interested me more than others, and allowed me to contrast different perspectives on the benefits and challenges of urban vs. rural medicine.
Other notes: Applications for Team Leader positions close in Fall, and Participant applications close around the start of winter quarter, so its a good idea to start thinking about this beginning of Fall quarter.
More information: hcasb.org
Eastern WAgreater Seattle area/King CountyInternationalone bus away from UWother Western WAOut-of-stateSnohomish County

Eastern WA

Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"As a participant I spent four days shadowing medical professionals in the North Valley Hospital in Tonasket, WA. On the fifth day I, along with my three colleagues, presented to four elementary school classrooms about pursuing higher education."
When and for how long: I participated during my junior year (2013). The program takes place during the week of spring break- between winter and spring quarters.
Provider contact: The beauty of HCASB is that because you are in a rural setting, the work load in the hospital isn't as high as in more urban areas and the doctors have more time to stop and converse. I spent a fair amount of time with both ER doctors, the radiologist, and the orthopedic and general surgeon. Not only were we able to see them work, but they took the time out to ensure that we learned something form our time with them.
Patient & community contact: Other than the family that hosted us, I didn't get too much contact with the patients beyond viewing the normal patient-doctor interactions.
Liked best: The variety. Each doctor was able to describe the benefits of their specific position in the hospital. They all also had a range of advice to give, from what to look for in medical schools to how to approach a first time patient.
More information: http://hcasb.org/
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"My role was to plan the actual trip to Goldendale, and then make sure that things went smoothly once we arrived. Otherwise, my main responsibility was to be professional with all the doctors and clinic staff while we shadowed and with the host family after the work day was over."
When and for how long: I was in Goldendale, Washington for one week during UW's spring break.
Provider contact: It was pretty extensive. I shadowed four doctors, one PA, and one ARNP, so I was able to see a lot of different patients, procedures, and styles of care. In addition, I interacted with several nurses. From all of them, I learned a lot about medical care in rural areas and the struggles that can come with that. They came from a variety of areas, with some having lived in rural areas all their lives and others having chosen to move to a smaller town.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients was varied, usually depending on the healthcare provider that I was shadowing and how talkative the patient was. Some of them would talk to me of their own accord and ask about myself, and we would have conversations that way. Other times, the doctor had me take a closer look at something on the patient, so I would get a more scientific interaction with the patient as the doctor explained something to me.
Liked best: The best thing was the large variety in different types of things that I got to see when I was on this trip. Since everyone I shadowed was general practice, I got to see a lot of different types of people and issues. Watching doctors have to grapple with a wide array of issues looked challenging and exciting.
Other notes: HCASB is a good experience for people looking to shadow in rural areas as a way to see what kind of problems healthcare providers must deal with when they do not have all the resources and culture of a big city.
More information: The people in charge of me for HCASB last year all graduated, so I don't know how to contact them now, unfortunately.
Sacred Heart Medical Center
"I was an Emergency Room volunteer. I assisted with any non-clinical needs of the nurses, or physicians."
When and for how long: For one year, during march 2012-2013.
Provider contact: I shadowed doctors, was taught basic medical procedures, and observed a multitude of procedures with specialities including: trauma surgery, neurosurgery, pediatric ICU, raidology, and emergency medicine.
Patient & community contact: I was free to visit patients when appropriate, to talk to them and assist with non-clincal requests.
Liked best: Getting experience one on one with doctors and nurses. And learning how patients interact in different healtcare environments. I.E. how to make them feel less uncomfortable than they did.
More information: Brenda Johnson
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"I shadowed primary care physicians in Moses Lake from Monday through Thursday, then went to a local high school on Friday morning to talk about the values of higher education."
When and for how long: Spring break, the whole week
Provider contact: I shadowed a different physician each day, and got to chat with them during down times and ask about medicine.
Patient & community contact: We lived with a woman in a trailer park, and learned a lot about the community. We also heard a lot about the issues facing the community from the doctors we shadowed and the staff at the clinic.
Liked best: This experience solidified my desire to go to medical school, and piqued my interest in primary care.
More information: hcasb@uw.edu
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"HCASB is a student run organization at UW that organizes healthcare shadowing trips to rural towns in Washington over spring break. It gives pre-health students a chance to understand the unique needs and opportunities of rural medicine, while also increasing their shadowing hours. I was a Team Leader, so I spent Winter quarter contacting different healthcare facilities in Sequim, WA to set up our week of shadowing and where to stay."
When and for how long: Spring Break 2014
Provider contact: I spent four full work days shadowing one on one with several different doctors, including family practice, opthamology, ob/gyn, and geriatric medicine.
Patient & community contact: I got to see healthcare providers working with many different types of patients, from young healthy people, to pregnant women, to elderly people in various states of health. While I did more shadowing than interacting, many patients were friendly and willing to answer questions or talk briefly. We also spent a few hours volunteering at an assisted living facility where we got to participate in the exercise activities with residents.
Liked best: Getting to meet and observe such a good range of medical specialties whom all share the same experience of working in a rural community was most valuable. It gave me insight to what career paths interested me more than others, and allowed me to contrast different perspectives on the benefits and challenges of urban vs. rural medicine.
Other notes: Applications for Team Leader positions close in Fall, and Participant applications close around the start of winter quarter, so its a good idea to start thinking about this beginning of Fall quarter.
More information: hcasb.org

greater Seattle area/King County

HealthPoint
"My main role was to make reminder phone calls to patients that need to come in for their annual check up/well child check up/mammogram/etc. I would also aid in various other administrative duties when needed."
When and for how long: July-September 2012
Provider contact: I was introduced to all the medical care providers in the clinic and had the option to shadow but I was not able to do so at the time.
Patient & community contact: I would be given a list of patients of all ages to call. The patients were for the most part from the surrounding community. I spoke to many of the patients on these lists about coming into the clinic for the check up they were due for.
Liked best: This was where I first learned not to take negative comments people may say to heart. Often times patients would not know what I was calling for and think I was trying to sell them a product they were not interested in.
Other notes: Although this opportunity did not necessarily provide me experience with a doctor or nurse directly, I was grateful for the patient contact. I was able to talk to patients and learned about the language barriers that may come between a provider and a patient which was not something I had previously thought about before. Also, HealthPoint provides care for many low income families. It is difficult to provide preventative care when patients don't want to come in to see the doctor whether it is for financial reasons or because they don't understand what their check up is for.
More information: 425-277-1566
Group Health Cooperative - Capitol Hill
"I volunteer in the Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy department, doing maintenance/cleaning duties and shadowing physical therapists, getting exposure and experience for the PT profession."
When and for how long: Spring 2014-Present
Provider contact: Contact with Physical Therapists included shadowing/assisting the PTs when needed where appropriate.
Patient & community contact: Assisted patients with some exercises, sometimes just observed and learned diagnostic/rehabilitative strategies & techniques.
Liked best: Group Health is a welcoming environment, and the PT department at Capitol Hill is filled with great role models for the profession. I have the utmost respect for the physical therapists there, and have enjoyed observing and learning from them. Your volunteer hours are flexible, and they help make the volunteering experience work for your schedule.
More information: Jeannette Flodin, flodin.j@ghc.org (Volunteer Coordinator)
Little Bit Theraputic Riding Center
"Interact with horses and children with disabilities and their parents."
When and for how long: High school 4 years and college
Provider contact: Physical therapists control the class and give instructions.
Patient & community contact: Talk to parents before and after the class, help the kids ride and play games with them.
Liked best: Seeing the kids have fun and seeing the differences from week to week
More information: (425) 882-1554
Sea Mar Community Health Centers
"I perform music for residents and patients of the Sea Mar Community Care Center in White Center."
When and for how long: I have been volunteering since March 2014, taking a break over the summer.
Provider contact: I interact primarily with nurses, nursing assistants, and other care staff.
Patient & community contact: I interact with the patients directly when I play music for them. I try to engage them with songs they like and encourage them to sing along.
Liked best: I love seeing the patients/residents respond to my music and sing along with me. I like getting to know them on an individual basis and seeing them regularly.
More information: http://www.seamar.org/static_pages/volunteer.php
Neighborcare Health
"Community outreach volunteer, did outreach to current medical patients to referred them to our dental clinic. Well child check reminders to infants and childrens."
When and for how long: Was there since 2012
Provider contact: Did not really have much contact with medical care providers. I did shadow the dental providers and have a great relationship with them.
Patient & community contact: Usually not much due to working in the office.
Liked best: Learning about how healthcare works.
More information: 206-461-6935 or info@neighborcare.org
Seattle Children's Hospital in Belleuve
"I had a few different roles at the hospital. I started off as a greeter at the main entrance, making sure to answer that patients and their families feel welcomed and get all the information necessary while at the hospital. I would usually provide information about the facility, such as where the restrooms are, where the vending machines are, where they need to check in for their appointments, what is the closest restaurant or grocery store, how to get on I-5 or 520. My second position was at a Surgery Center desk where I served as a mediator between the medical staff and families of the patients getting the surgical procedure. I was the one to greet them as they walk out of the induction room after their child has been put the sleep, make sure they know around what time the procedure should be done, what are the next steps for them and for their child and to take them either straight to the recovery or to the waiting room. The third position that I am just starting is in the recovery room where I am making sure that recovery rooms are cleaned and set up for the next patient."
When and for how long: I am volunteering there since July 2014
Provider contact: As a volunteer are a surgery center, I had to keep track of the cases and families in the waiting area, recovery and rooms. Drs. needed everything to run smoothly at the waiting room with parents so they can talk to them about the procedure and move to the next case. I had a responsibility of making sure the family is in their assigned waiting room at the time the doctor walks in to talk to them. As the schedules sometimes get very busy, I needed to coordinate with the charge and induction room nurse to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Patient & community contact: Right after the induction room, I was the first person that family and parents would talk to. They would usually be very emotional after seeing their child go to sleep, and I would make sure they are ok. I would let them know how long the procedure is and when the doctor should be coming to talk to them. I would walk them to their waiting room and let them know as soon as they are able to go back to the recovery room and rejoin with their child. In the mean time, for anything they need I would be the first source. I made sure they knew my name and my role and that they are being the most comfortable during their stay.
Liked best: The best thing was to feel that you are making families the most comfortable with their stay in the hospital while their child is getting a procedure. Multiple times I have been thanked for the service as I have contributed to making their stay at the hospital the most pleasant as it can be. Additionally, I got to see how the whole hospital works and how many people and different professions it takes to make the hospital work properly. I as a volunteer had a clear role and felt that I was making a great contribution toward making the families and patients satisfied with the service at Seattle Children's.
More information: Patricia Hovik, patricia.hovik@seattlechildrens.org
Evergreen Hospital
"At the gift shop and the NICU, I didn't interact with any physicians or patients. However, at the Surgical Services desk, I had a nurse supervisor who worked with me. My duties included getting print outs of the surgery schedule for the next day, maintaining the cleanliness of the waiting room, compiling paperwork packets for patients and families to complete before surgery, check in patient family members and obtain their contact information, monitor the progress of the operating room board using online software, answer phone calls, accompany family members to the pre-operation care unit and post-anesthesia care unit, and direct physicians to family members after the surgery is complete."
When and for how long: I was there from 2010-2012, volunteering at the Gift Shop, NICU, and the Surgical Services desk
Provider contact: I worked alongside a nurse supervisor, who helped me with my duties. I also came in contact with surgical nurses who would pick up patients before surgery, as well as post-anesthesia care unit nurses when I went to check on the patients. Finally, I had contact with surgeons when they visited the family members after surgery. If the family member was absent, I would have to write down messages or instructions for the family members from the physician, or I'd have to go pick up a prescription that they'd sent to the pharmacy.
Patient & community contact: I had the most amount of contact with patient family members while they were in the waiting room. There was a wide spectrum of attitudes and behaviors that I saw, which is understandable since it's a very personal experience. Sometimes the family members would talk to me, and sometimes they'd just keep to themselves. At the very least, I always made sure to give them updates whenever the surgery status changed.
Liked best: I got to see a lot of things that I wouldn't have been able to as an outside observer. For instance, I knew next to nothing about the life of surgeons and healthcare policy, but after this experience, I definitely learned a lot. It shocked me that some patients would wait for hours after their scheduled surgery time in the pre-operation unit, because the surgeon had gone overtime on his last surgery. I thought there was a way to prevent that from happening, but it seems like there isn't. Furthermore, I got to see a really wide range of patients come through. Some of them just needed minor surgery (i.e to repair a knee injury), whereas others underwent major operations, like having a brain tumor removed. All of these people went through the Surgical Services desk.
Other notes: In order to work at surgical services, volunteers need to have Level 2 clearance due to exposure to patients. It's definitely a process, and you need to have a good amount of previous volunteer experience at the hospital.
More information: Volunteer office phone number: 425-899-1994
Evergreen Hospital
"Discharging patients, various administrative activities, delivering various packages, and escorting visitors."
When and for how long: 2008-2012
Provider contact: You were able to interact with nurses when discharging patients or delivering goods to various wards.
Patient & community contact: There was a lot of patient and visitor contact. The volunteer run information desk was the main location for patients and visitors to learn how to get around the hospital.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience was that the management allows you to think on your feet and problem solve under pressure without giving you direct commands unless the situation demands them.
More information: For more information, call the Volunteer office at 425.899.1994 or email mllong@evergreenhealthcare.org.
Nick of Time Foundation- UW
"To help the Nick of Time Foundation with their mission of increasing awareness of sudden cardiac arrest, as well as increasing availability of heart screenings to adolescents throughout Washington. Namely, to volunteer at their many events and help their cause."
When and for how long: I've been an active member since Fall 2013.
Provider contact: At the heart screenings the NOTF holds, I was able to work side by side with talented cardiologists towards a common goal. This has led to many opportunities to see these doctors in action, as well as talk to them about Medical School and the field in general.
Patient & community contact: Once again at the heart screenings, I have worked closely with patients. This involved placing EKG leads, talking to them prior to the doctor's visit, and teaching them CPR while they wait.
Liked best: Through my volunteer work with the NOTF, I have been given the opportunity to work with doctors towards something that we are all passionate about. It is an amazing chance to learn from them, learn from the patients, and give back to the community.
More information: notfuw@uw.edu
Evergreen Medical Center
"Volunteered as front desk reception as well as delivered lab specimens and discharging of patients."
When and for how long: 170+ hours
Provider contact: Communicated with nurses as to when to discharge patients and any other possible tasks they needed our help with.
Patient & community contact: Talked to patients and family members regularly, whether it was at the front desk when family member were visiting and had question or if it was during the discharge.
Liked best: Interacting with patients and being able to make a, even if slight, difference at the hospital.
More information: Linda Watson

International

Global Dental Brigades UW Chapter
"I was in charge of holding charlas where I showed kids how to brush. I also got the chance to shadowing a dentist while she performed dental procedures."
When and for how long: Summer of 2013, 9 days
Provider contact: I shadowed a dentist and got to ask any questions I had.
Patient & community contact: I got to teach them how to brush and take care of there oral hygiene.
Liked best: The best part was when the kids got there brushes and they treated it as if they had just got there hands on the newest piece of technology.
More information: Depends who is president of the club that year
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Translate for American doctors and dentists to diagnose Vietnamese villagers. Sort medicine into small bags for prescribing and explain to patients how to use."
When and for how long: 2 weeks but trained for 1 year
Provider contact: Become the voice for the doctors and dentists to help the patients understand dental treatments (usually teeth extractions) or diagnosis.
Patient & community contact: To fund the cost of the medicine and supplies we had to host a banquet which required contact with family and businesses to support us. That year we raised 28K in one night.
Liked best: Living in a foreign country for 2 weeks. Making new friends with the student volunteers and health professionals. Stark difference in the appreciation of care from Vietnamese patients vs American patients.
More information: Scott Fung
Med Life
"Volunteer for a medical brigade- to bring free medicine/healthcare to underserved, and impoverished communities. I went on two separate occasions- once in Lima, Peru, and then in Tena, Ecuador. Both wonderful experiences, I got to help heakth professionals set up the clinics, sort medicine, translate, and take vitals and mecial history of the patients."
When and for how long: April 2012; December 2013
Provider contact: Side by side, watching them work! Sometimes I would translate from Spanish to English for other students observing.
Patient & community contact: Once again, very hands on, especially when writing down medical history and taking vitals. I got to learn a lot about the way certain people in communities live, by speaking to people who waited in line for care.
Liked best: It simply feels good to help people who need it.
More information: www.medlifeweb.org
Fellowship Bible Church
"I was part of a Medical Outreach team providing medical relief in the jungles of Africa, specifically Liberia. My role was to screen patients, building medical history and symptom reports allowing our limited team of doctors to see more patients quickly."
When and for how long: June 2013 for 3 weeks
Provider contact: I worked side by side both nurses and doctors to bring direly needed medical supplies and aid to one of the poorest nations in the world. I made the initial contact with patients, separating the severely sick to those that are simply dehydrated but lack even the basic knowledge of health awareness to realize it. This allowed the Doctors to maximize time with the truly sick patients coming through our clinic.
Patient & community contact: I was able to have numerous one-on-one patient interactions seeing anywhere from 20-40 patients in a day. Putting the patient at ease, making them comfortable and then making an initial assessment of the patient needs.
Liked best: The best part of this experience was the patient interactions. I have never been exposed to such poverty, sickness and starvation. Meeting countless Africans every day who live incredibly difficult lives was a humbling experience. Learning how to communicate through cultural gaps was both difficult and rewarding. The singly most influential experience was my encounter with my very first patient, a mother bringing her 8 year old son. The boy was severely emaciated and paralyzed to the point that he could not support his own head nor move anything more than his eyes. He had been this way for 2 months and his body was rejecting any sustenance. With primitive medical diagnostic equipment our doctors were unable to do much more than guess what was causing the symptoms. This boy, Togba, stayed under my care for three days before he finally died. I will never forget Togba, and he is largely the reason for my pursuit of medical school.
Atlantis Project
"As an Atlantis Project fellow, I was able to travel to the Canary Islands in Spain and earn over 100 hours of shadowing experience. I spent a week each in 5 different specialties and was able to observe physicians overseas to gain experience in the medical field. I had to learn how to speak Spanish before I went, but was able to learn enough to understand what was going on in the hospitals."
When and for how long: July-August 2014, 5 weeks
Provider contact: I interacted the most with medical care providers. As I was shadowing them, they explained everything that was going on at a given moment and spent time really teaching me their procedures and course of action. I was able to learn from them and watch them give patient care, both in consultations and surgeries.
Patient & community contact: I did not have any physical contact with patients. However, I was able to watch their appointments and have friendly conversation with them while in the room.
Liked best: I was able to travel the world while earning both shadowing experience and volunteer experience in their hospitals. It was an amazing experience that taught me a lot about healthcare as well as myself. I was able to see a lot of different kinds of specialties, which was a great opportunity. I shadowed some that were never even on my radar, but learned that they were fields I was very interested in. Seeing healthcare outside of the US really put a lot of things into perspective for me, and I would recommend exploring these kinds of opportunities while in school.
More information: Meagan Wilson; admissions@atlantis-project.org
University of Washington Global Medical Brigade
"Global Medical Brigades develops sustainable health initiatives and provides relief where there is limited access to health care. Global Medical Brigades is just one part of the Global Brigades organization. Other programs include dental, public health, water, environmental, architecture, law, business, and microfinance. Together, these programs make up the world's largest student-led development organization and work off each other since there are many overlapping factors of our work. For Global Medical Brigades, students and recruited health professionals travel together to rural villages to provide free health care and conduct health education workshops to empower local leaders."
When and for how long: In the club for one year, travelled to Panama for a medical mission for one week of September 2013. (Now the group goes to Nicaragua)
Provider contact: We interacted with nurses and physicians. Triage is usually comprised of nurses and is the next stop for patients after intake. In triage, patients relay their symptoms and ailments while volunteers administer glucose tests, take blood pressure, weigh patients, etc. Nurses oversee any volunteer/patient conversations, aid in translation, description of symptoms, and vital taking. The consultation station is comprised of doctors who attend to patients after they have been through triage. Doctors consult, diagnose and then prescribe the medication they feel is best suited for each individual patient. If a doctor comes across an ailment they feel the brigade does not have the proper medication or equipment to address, that doctor can refer the patient to the clinic for further treatment provided free of cost by Global Medical Brigades. Students purely observe during this rotation with the opportunity to ask the physician questions about diagnosis and treatment plan.
Patient & community contact: Each brigade consists of different stations (typically intake, triage, physician consultation, pharmacy, and health education). Each volunteer will be rotated through each station, although it is much easier to place Spanish speaking volunteers to certain roles, such as translating and triage. Patients generally wait in line to be seen by students working in triage, then by the doctors in the consultation room. All patients receive prescribed medication and vitamins, in addition to attending health education workshops we put on. Volunteers interact with patients at each level, with more observation when shadowing the consultation. We also rotated through a "break" station and in this gap we played games with the children in the school yard.
Liked best: This was an incredible opportunity to experience the lifestyle and culture of a country very different from the US. I appreciated the exposure to diversity, the mode of rural health care in a third world country, and the role of healthcare in the every day context for Panamanians.
Other notes: There is a fee to participate and it's a competitive application. Apps usually open fall quarter with the trip planned for the end of summer following the application cycle.
More information: uwbrigades@gmail.com
Dental Mission Trips
"Simple assisting jobs such as sterilizing equipment and calling patients because I am not trained to be a dentist and do not yet have the ability to work on patients."
When and for how long: 3 weeks
Provider contact: Some days I would have more contact with the care providers that others. On days I had the most contact with them, I was with them while they were working on a patient and handing them tools. On the days that I had less contact with them, I would be sterilizing instruments or calling patients.
Patient & community contact: Like with the care providers, the amount of contact I had with the patients fluctuated. Depending on the day, I would have short conversations with them, or I would only check them in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was being able to make a difference in the daily lives of the patients and being able to see how grateful they were for something that I often take for granted. It really changed the way I viewed my everyday health care.
More information: dentalmissiontrips@gmail.com
Rural Mobile Health Clinic
"I was part of a rural mobile health clinic located in Surin, Thailand as a medical volunteer and some of the tasks were making medicine kits, dressing wounds, measuring blood pressure, etc."
When and for how long: 15 days
Provider contact: I had direct contact with the local doctors and nurses there.
Patient & community contact: I also had close, direct contact with the patients that came to the community clinic through dressing wounds and basic health measurements.
Liked best: It really changed my way of pursuing medicine in that I strived with a less self-centered approach and more humanitarian.
More information: N/A

one bus away from UW

UWMC
"My role as a medical volunteer was to interact with many patients and keep the medical environment clean. By greeting people, helping them find their way throughout the center, and aid those who need help, I create an open and friendly environment for UWMC. By wiping down equipment after use, deliver paperwork and charts, and make sure equipment is stocked, I keep the medical environment clean and organized."
When and for how long: Flexible hours (4 hours a week) for one year.
Provider contact: My contact with medical care providers is through delivering charts and paperwork to those who request it. I also assist them with non-patient care duties.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients is to provide them with as much help as I can, including escorting patients to locations, transporting those in wheelchairs, and delivering items to patients, while maintaining a friendly environment.
Liked best: Lots of exposure. If you need a place to learn about the everyday workings of a medical institution, this is the place for you.
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
University of Washington Medical Center
"As a patient escort, my role was to provide services such as transporting patients in wheelchairs, blood refrigerators, patient test samples, letters, and gifts. In addition I also helped with paperwork by preparing mail, patient info forms, and filing patient charts. It was also common for me to act as a greeter with one or two other volunteer escorts by directing patients to where they need to go or walking them to their destination if possible."
When and for how long: Mostly on weekends, 4 hr a week for three years.
Provider contact: Little to no interaction with medical care providers. Never spoke to a doctor, spoke with some nurses but only to clarify objectives. Often spoke to med technicians and lab technicians on delivery pickup/dropoff.
Patient & community contact: High amount of patient interaction potential as well as with family members. A lot of experience with patient management is possible due to the nature of the escort position. Also worth noting is that you meet a lot of UW students and individuals from the Seattle area who are somewhere in the application process for a health related profession as well as members of the community (often retired) who are passionate about giving to the community.
Liked best: This was my first experience being in an environment where I was given responsibility of providing service to patients. Back in high school I was a really shy and quiet person, but volunteering as an escort forced me to be proactive and initiate conversations with patients and visitors in order to provide excellent service. Patient interaction was also a really eye opening experience. Being able to talk to patients span a wide range of backgrounds as well as handle stressful situations dealing with patient management are definitely skills that can be learned. I think this personal growth, in addition to being able to observe the mechanics of how one of the best hospitals in our nation come together, is really great.
Other notes: While volunteering I often heard others complain that they aren't able to interact with doctors, nurses, PAs, etc. while being an escort. In my opinion those types of experiences are acquired through shadowing. This experience is heavily correlated with how much personal effort a person makes to take on tasks and proactively provide service to patients. In addition, while volunteering I have seen lots of changes happen to the volunteer program. When I started there were many things escorts were able to do, but since then there have been more and more restrictions and cutbacks on the variety of tasks escorts can do. I think it's mostly limited to patient transport and greeting now. It's partially due to this that I chose to retire from volunteering at the UWMC after three years and move onto other volunteering projects.
More information: Volunteer Services: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer/requirements/application
University of Washington Medical Center
"Escort services: transport of patients flower deliveries specimen deliveries"
When and for how long: September 2014- present (4 months)
Provider contact: very limited
Patient & community contact: lots of patient contact when discharging patients and or transporting them
Liked best: Being able to interact with patients is very helpful to discover how I personally am around sick people. It teaches you what it will be like to provide for all types of people with various illnesses, moods, conditions and personalities.
Seattle Children's (Observership)
"Shadowing neurosurgeons in the OR."
When and for how long: Fall Quarter 2014
Provider contact: Spoke with surgeons, residents, nurses and other medical assistants.
Patient & community contact: None.
Liked best: Being in the OR was incredible! I was right by the bed as the surgeries took place.
More information: Search for "Observership" on the web site under "Education"; this is an application
Seattle Children's (Observership)
"This program guaranteed 20 shadowing hours over the course of a quarter. I was paired with a neurosurgeon and was able to shadow him in the operating room and during his clinic times."
When and for how long: Fall 2013, one quarter
Provider contact: I had direct contact with the attending physician, the fellows, the residents, the nurses, and the technicians.
Patient & community contact: I had very limited direct interaction with patients or family members, but I was able to observe their interactions with the physician.
Liked best: This experience gave me great insight into "the day in the life" of a physician. I learned a lot about how a doctor interacts with patients and coworkers and how a hospital is organized and run.
More information: search for "Observership", within the "Education" section of the web site; this is an application
Prep-Step Health Care Scholarship Program
"Help out the nursing staff and NAC staff on the patient floors with patient care such as: cleaning up, providing meals, talking to patients, running messages to the staff, and ambulating patients."
When and for how long: Since August 2014 to currently
Provider contact: I directly get instruction and advice from the healthcare staff. Physicians are relatively rare throughout the day, but I get to see the constant work that the nurses and NAC's do all day.
Patient & community contact: I have the opportunity to speak directly with patients and their family members. Sometimes patients want to be left alone, but sometimes they want more interaction than the nurses can provide with their busy schedules.
Liked best: Getting to spend extended time with the nursing staff and seeing how important treating patients as individual people is to their overall care and experience in the hospital.
More information: 206-386-3879
Harborview
"Worked in the ER, helped RNs and doctors Restocked shelves Cleaned and prepared cots Observed Trauma Care"
When and for how long: Summer of Junior Year
Provider contact: Mostly observation
Patient & community contact: I did not interact with patients unless they requested my assistance
Liked best: I think the best part was observing the health care providers and seeing how a hospital ran from the inside.
Group Health Cooperative - Capitol Hill
"I volunteer in the Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy department, doing maintenance/cleaning duties and shadowing physical therapists, getting exposure and experience for the PT profession."
When and for how long: Spring 2014-Present
Provider contact: Contact with Physical Therapists included shadowing/assisting the PTs when needed where appropriate.
Patient & community contact: Assisted patients with some exercises, sometimes just observed and learned diagnostic/rehabilitative strategies & techniques.
Liked best: Group Health is a welcoming environment, and the PT department at Capitol Hill is filled with great role models for the profession. I have the utmost respect for the physical therapists there, and have enjoyed observing and learning from them. Your volunteer hours are flexible, and they help make the volunteering experience work for your schedule.
More information: Jeannette Flodin, flodin.j@ghc.org (Volunteer Coordinator)
University of Washington Athletic Department
"I am a sports medicine intern through the University of Washington Athletic department. I shadow different athletic trainers as they treat the athletes. I assist in some rehab and different modalities to help the student athletes in their recovery. I also help by disinfecting and cleaning different pieces of equipment as well as assisting in the set up of onsite first aid and water stations."
When and for how long: From August 2014-present
Provider contact: I work directly under one athletic trainer assigned to one sport and rotate to a different athletic trainer every month or so.
Patient & community contact: I am right beside the athletic trainer as they treat the different patients. I also directly work with the patient by providing them with different treatments such as massage, ice, deep muscle stimulating (DMS), etc.
Liked best: Being able to build a rapport with the athletes that came in for multiple treatments. Working with them directly and building a connection with them by helping them.
More information: Michael Dillon, mldillon@uw.edu
Prep Step Health Care Scholar Program at Swedish Medical Center First Hill
"As a prep-step health care scholar I am assigned to a unit in the hospital on a 3 month rotation basis where I assist staff and patients with whatever they need. Duties can include stocking the unit, discharging patients, assisting NAC's and nurses with patient care, taking vitals, rounding on patients, and answering call lights."
When and for how long: I have been a prep-step for a little over 3 months and am currently in the program.
Provider contact: In this position you get a lot of contact with nurses and nursing assistants. The nurses are often willing to let you shadow them while they interact with patients and will answer questions and explain their tasks. Physicians, Physician Assistants, nutritionists, and physical therapists are on the floor less frequently so it is more difficult to talk with them but when they are around, they are often willing to let you watch procedures and ask questions.
Patient & community contact: This program provides lots of opportunity for interaction with patients and their visitors. Through rounding you have the opportunity to go into each patient's room and chat with them and their family if they engage you in conversation. Many of my best experiences I have had occurred through conversations with patients. You also are trained to assist NAC's and nurses with various patient care tasks like walking, taking vitals, feeding, and repositioning.
Liked best: The best part about this experience is being able to make a true difference in a patient's hospital stay. I have had many experiences with patients where I was able to make them feel cared for and comfortable while going through a painful and scary experience. I am also looking forward to experiencing different units in the hospital so I can get a better idea of what area of medicine is right for me.
More information: https://www.l3connect.org/prospective-applicants/cce-faq Program Director: Poornima Bajwa pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
UW Medical Center
"Transporting stable patients, restocking medical supplies, and bringing biological samples to the labs."
When and for how long: Summer 2013-Winter 2014
Provider contact: Being close to the patients allowed me to see how medical care providers interacted with them. This gave me a better sense of how to interact with and care for patients in difficult circumstances. I often observed doctors and nurses navigate through difficult conversations to give their patients hope for the next step of their treatment.
Patient & community contact: Transporting patients meant that I often was able to have conversations with them about life. From these chats I got a better sense of the patient perspective with regards to hospital settings and medicine in general.
Liked best: More often than not, patients were very willing to give me life advice or express their expectations of a good doctor. The experience made me realize that I can often get just as much support from patients as I can give to them.
More information: 206-598-4218
Seattle Children's Hospital
"Child Life volunteer. I was going to the patients' rooms or playing with the patients at the playroom."
When and for how long: Fall, Winter 2012
Provider contact: I need to check in/out with the nurses before and after I played with patients. I was sometimes allowed to stay in the room while doctors were examining the patients.
Patient & community contact: I was directly in contact with the parents/caregivers of the patients. I not only played with the kids and entertaining them, but also was giving some space for the parents so that they can have some free time for themselves.
Liked best: Making kids happy. The best reward was to seeing unhealthy and sometimes unhappy kids smiling and having fun.
More information: Alison Garrison, email: alison.garrison@seattlechildrens.org
University of Washington Medical Center
"Volunteer patient escort: escorting patients around the hospital via wheelchairs or walking Volunteer in ICU: cleaning/stocking medical supplies, retrieving items for patients, clerical duties (answering the phone, filing paperwork)"
When and for how long: 2011-2013
Provider contact: Opportunity to observe procedures performed by physicians
Patient & community contact: Reading to and/or feeding patients, escorting families and patients in and out of the hospital
Liked best: Interacting with patients, observing the harsh realities, and also the beauty of medicine
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
Seattle Children's Hospital
"I volunteer in the Child Life department - so my major role is to interact (basically spend time/hang out and play) with patients in need. This may be due to the patient's parents needing a break, or it can be a case where the patient's family is not in the same country. Either way, the goal is to let the patient feel more at home at the hospital by providing them with a better experience during their stay at Seattle Children's. Before and after spending time with patients, I help clean and organize toys for the playroom, as well as prepare and clean up the playroom itself."
When and for how long: Started in Fall of 2013, and still volunteering
Provider contact: Before I visit each patient, I get to speak with the nurse about any problems or concerns I should keep in mind about the patient. The nurse will occasionally visit the room (usually to check vitals) during my stay. Generally, the nurses are quite friendly, and will ask me about what I do, what I am studying and what my future goals are. On 'rare' occasions, a doctor (presumably the surgeon for the patient in some cases), and more often residences, will stop by as well. In these instances, they may also ask about my background - but usually they are concentrating on the patient! (Which does give a good insight on what they do)
Patient & community contact: My interactions with the patients are fairly direct - I get to play games, talk, watch movies and more with them. My contact with the patient's family members (usually their parents) is less frequent. However, most parents at the hospital are nice and enjoy talking with me for a little bit. They do enjoy being able to talk about their experiences and concerns about what is happening with their child - which they may not be able to do too often.
Liked best: For me, the people who I work with in this hospital - be it volunteers, doctors, nurses or receptionists - have really opened me up to an outstanding group of individuals. These people genuinely care about other's well-being; and wanting to go into a medical profession, I feel that that is the most important asset to have. Seattle Children's gives a fantastic example of how a family-friendly hospital should be like.
More information: amy.faris@seattlechildrens.org
Harborview Medical Center
"As a volunteer in the ER, my main responsibility was to make sure the rooms fully stocked with linens and other medical supplies, cleaning and making beds, as well as other random task the Medical Assistants or Nurses needed."
When and for how long: June 2013-September 2014
Provider contact: The main interactions were with Medical Assistants since they are the ones that we reported to and gave us tasks that needed to be done. I also interacted with nurses, physicians, medical students, pharmacists and EMTs by assisting them with tasks they needed, asking questions about procedures and observing some procedures being done.
Patient & community contact: During our volunteer shift we are encouraged to go around to patients and family to ask how they are doing or if they need anything.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was being completely submerged into a high volume and sometimes hectic ER environment, so you can get a real feel for this type of setting. Through this experience I was able to interact with many different types of health care professionals, all of which were really nice and were open to answering any questions I had. Since it is an ER, I was also able to see many different types of patients as well as a variety of reasons why they came in.
More information: Bridget Snow, bridsnow@uw.edu
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Soliciting in order to raise money for the medical supplies we were to bring on our trip. Contact other health professions to assist us on our trip because they are the only way how we can treat them. The volunteers and leaders who were mainly under-graduates were only able to observe, assist and scribe for the health professionals."
When and for how long: From the beginning of 2014 until late september of the same year.
Provider contact: Scribe for the medical care providers. Some students and I were able to become translators between the patients and the health professions. Medical care providers were also able to teach us diseases/sicknesses the patients had, and how we can tell from our diagnosis on how they have it.
Patient & community contact: Consulting with the villagers. Teaching them on how to take their medication. Teaching them what their sickness is. Teaching patients the basics of public health (Water sanitation, risks of drinking alcohol/smoking obsessively, brushing teeth), in order to prevent exposure to some microbes that can cause harm to us.
Liked best: Going to a different country and using my ability to interact with patients in a medical/clinical setting. Working in a clinic that was student ran. A lot of work and communication was required.
More information: info@vnhealth.org
UWMC Pharmacy
"Re-stock vials, caps, bags and bottles. Filing the written prescriptions in daily bundles. Checking expirations dates (monthly), and identify soon to be outdated medications with expirations stickers."
When and for how long: April 2014, Less than a year
Provider contact: There's a lot of contact with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. They are the ones that assign duties and teach volunteers about their assignment.
Patient & community contact: There is almost no contact with patients for this position.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience is having the opportunity to observe the interaction between pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and patients. Also, volunteering at a pharmacy is insighful because you get to learn and see how a pharmacy operates and what actually takes to deliver the medicine to the patient.
More information: Jennifer Mehlberg
UW Medical center
"I mainly work as a patient escort and transport patients in wheelchairs and sometimes deliver things like specimen."
When and for how long: Started in winter 2014 and have been there for three quarters
Provider contact: I don't have much contact with medical care providers. Most contact I have are with nurses about questions about patient transportation.
Patient & community contact: I have contact with patients and their family during transportation. I would need to confirm with them where they are going and explain how we are going to get there.
Liked best: meeting a lot of different people
More information: 206-598-4218
UWMC
"escort, greet patients, check on patients and see if they need anything, stocking, cleaning rooms, etc"
When and for how long: almost 2 years
Provider contact: Lots of opportunities to interact with medical care providers especially the nurses since you are often actively acting as a communication bridge between them and the patients while you are rounding on patients and checking if they are doing well. Many opportunities to see healthcare providers and patients contact too.
Patient & community contact: Talk to patients and family members to try to make sure they are staying in the hospital as comfortable as the conditions allowed. Listen to their medical concerns and notify the medical care providers if necessary.
Liked best: Lots of opportunities to interact with both patients and healthcare providers, and learn to deal with different kind of situations.
More information: Main phone: 206-598-4218 UWMC Room NN-303 Appointments may be necessary. Call for Volunteer Manager office hours.
Swedish Medical Center
"Shadowing a group of Interventional Radiologists. I learned how to tie surgical knots, the OR scrub-in procedure, and the names and uses of various catheters."
When and for how long: June 2011 for two weeks
Provider contact: It was a very great learning experience and I was able to ask a lot of questions. Before every procedure the doctor would teach me what way through the body they would need to take and taught me briefly about fluoroscopy and MRI/X-ray reading.
Patient & community contact: I had little contact with the patients but the contact that I did have was insightful. Since the procedures were mostly out-patient procedures, the appointment where they discussed the procedure and determined the need for the procedure had already occurred.
Liked best: I learned a lot about this area of medicine and got a glimpse into the life of a surgeon. It made me have a greater passion for medicine.
More information: N/A
Harborview Medical Center
"Located in the Emergency Department you assist the Medical Assistants and the Nursing staff with restocking and room set up. Work with patients to make their stay more comfortable, as well as transporting patients to various places. General housekeeping responsibilities."
When and for how long: Oct 2013 - Present
Provider contact: Very constant interactions with MA's and Nurses, by assisting them with their needs of stocking and running errands. Minimal contact with physicians and EMTs, mostly just observation of their interactions with patients.
Patient & community contact: Patient contact varies with the flow of the emergency department. Generally the patient contact includes delivering warm blankets and water to patients, occasionally escorting patients to waiting areas and the pharmacy.
Liked best: The best thing about volunteering in the Emergency Department is the wide variety of patients that you get to interact with and observe the doctor patient relationship. Each week you could interact with entirely different patients than you saw the previous week.
More information: hmcvol@u.washington.edu.
UWMC volunteer servicces
"Transport patients via wheelchair to appointments. Greet, direct and provide way-finding for patients and visitors. Maintain cleanliness of patient and public waiting areas. Escort/walk patients and visitors to clinic locations. Discharge patients to third floor lobby / UWMC entrance. Deliver flowers, mail, books and magazines to patients. Deliver charts, specimens and supplies throughout medical center All around help"
When and for how long: I've been a volunteer for two years
Provider contact: Contact with medical professionals is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Patient & community contact: Contact with medical professionals and families is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Liked best: As a volunteer at the UWMC your experience is entirely in your control. If you are nervous and alittle shyer you can hang back and just deliver specimens,organize paperwork, and direct patients very low key tasks. Or you can volunteer in a department like one of the ICU's and be very much in the middle of the chaos which can be alittle scarier but also very enlightening and a great learning opportunity. However, either way you're getting to see the hospital's inner workings in and get to soak in how the hospital runs while making a difference because have no doubt the UWMC would not work nearly as efficiently without their volunteers.
Other notes: They do not spoon feed you a volunteer position nor check in with how you are doing as a volunteer. To get started you have to take a lot of initiative and once you're a volunteer if you're unhappy in you're position it's up to you to go check in with volunteer services. They're happy to help once you go in but this isn't a volunteer program that cares if you're having a valuable experience or not. If you like a sense of leadership and community from programs you're involved in I wouldn't recommend this one because it is a very independent type of position at the UWMC.But very convenient in proximity.
More information: 206-598-4218 webpage: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
COPE Health Solutions
"Accountable for answering the patients’ call lights and assisting them with basic care requests on the assigned floor unit (about 25 patients) at Swedish Hopsital. Provide patient care after surgery, including assisting nursing staff with feeding patients, ambulating patients, changing linens, visiting with patients, and wound care."
When and for how long: I started August 2014 and am still in the program
Provider contact: There is a lot of contact with nurses and fewer with physicians, but there is still contact and interaction with physicians when they are rounding and checking-in with patients and conversing with them.
Patient & community contact: There is hands-on care with patients where some tasks are done by yourself or with assistance to nurse. The family of patients are often there during the recovery process.
Liked best: You get a lot of hands-on experience with patient care and interaction with health care team in the hospital.
More information: Poornima Bajwa
University of Washington Medical Center
"As a volunteer on the ICU, my main responsibility is to assist nurses. Here is pretty much what I do every time I volunteer... before entering the unit, I check the family waiting room for hot/cold water, napkins, cups etc to make sure there is enough for the patient families. I usually need to refill hot/cold water. After that I check the amount of coffee left in break room for nurses and make coffee for the nurses. There are usually some carts that need to be cleaned and restocked (each cart takes about 40 min to process), and volunteers need to clean the carts. If there is no more carts to clean, I usually stay near the front desk and assist PSS (answer phone calls, issue parking passes, collect blank patient charts, sending & receiving medicines etc). If I get lucky, there might be a chance to watch some procedures."
When and for how long: Since December 2012 till now
Provider contact: Most of the time I interact with nurses and watch busy physicians passing by. Everybody is very busy in the unit, but people are friendly.
Patient & community contact: Most of the patients I see on the unit are very sick and in a lot of pain. They are exhausted by their illnesses, and many of them are sedated. So there is not much interaction. Family members are very worried and stressed out, but they try to be nice if a volunteer offers help. Patient families typically do not ask for anything, but many are grateful that volunteers offer them warm blankets, water, pillow etc.
Liked best: It gives me an idea of the environment of a medical facility. People, especially those who are sick or stressed out, can be tough to deal with. I reassured myself that I like to "interact" with people like them.
More information: UWMC Volunteer Service
Union Gospel Mission Dental Clinic
"As volunteers, we make sure that the clinic is in order and clean. We also greet patients and set up the stations where they have their appointments. Volunteers learn to assist chair side with local dentists who also volunteer their time at the UGM dental clinic, take x-rays and develop film, and how to sterilize dental tools. Although volunteer work at the UGM dental clinic goes far beyond the office, as volunteers can also help by organizing fundraisers, applying for grants, and other activities that help organize the clinic."
When and for how long: I began volunteering there in August 2014 and still currently volunteer there
Provider contact: I get to work alongside the providers as they are treating and helping patients. It is really great to be able to do this as many of the dentists understand that the volunteers are aspiring to go to dental school, so they are very accommodating with explaining what they are doing and why.
Patient & community contact: At the UGM, we get to work directly with patients by taking their dental history, blood pressure, and encouraging them to consistently come in when they can for dental care. With the patients, our job is to make them feel welcomed and make sure they get the best care possible with the available resources.
Liked best: Not only do I get hands on experience volunteering at the UGM dental clinic, I get to learn so many things about other important aspects in dentistry other than just teeth. For example, I learn the importance of sterilization and how to do that, how to take x-rays, and the incredible work that dental assistants do for dentists. I also get to see a wide range of patients and learn more about them and their lives.
More information: Juanita Banks --> jbanks@ugm.org
University of Washington Medical Center
"I was volunteering at the Outpatient Pharmacy. The main role of the position is to assist the Pharmacy staff in providing the best patient care service by taking responsibilities such as re-stocking vials, caps, and bottles, archiving prescription files and other pharmacy documents, tracking expiration dates to prevent use of outdated medications, and restocking office supplies at individual pharmacy staff stations to increase work efficiency."
When and for how long: It's been half a year and I'm still volunteering at the same location.
Provider contact: Through this volunteer, you are able to closely interact with the pharmacist manager of the Outpatient Pharmacy. The manager takes charge of assigning most jobs done during the volunteer shift depending on the varying assistance needed within the pharmacy. However, I approach the pharmacy technicians for help in terms of identifying medications by category for returned medications to be shelved.
Patient & community contact: Unfortunately, there is no direct contact with patients/family/community members regarding this position. It is with cooperating with the pharmacy staffs only.
Liked best: It is in part a shadowing experience of how a pharmacy works. You are exposed to a team of pharmacy staffs who you can watch and learn what their main duties are and to talk with them during their lunch breaks. Also, as you assist in tracking outdates and placing back return medications, you are able to familiarize the names of the medications and hone your organizational skills.
More information: fossc@uw.edu (Cynnie Foss, Volunteer Program Manager)
UW General Internal Medicine Center
"Stocking examination rooms, sorting faxes, and any miscellaneous projects that may come up."
When and for how long: Fall 2013 to present. 4 hours a week.
Provider contact: The clinic itself is relatively small, so you will always pass by a medical care provider. This clinic also trains resident doctors, which you can shadow.
Patient & community contact: Little to none during volunteer hours as most duties do not require you to be in the presence of a patient. On some rare occasions you may be asked to push a patient and their wheelchair to the lobby.
Liked best: The abundance of shadowing opportunities.
Other notes: This clinic is located at UWMC-Roosevelt, not the main hospital.
More information: UWMC Volunteer services. Volunteer manager: Cynnie Foss
Seattle Children's Hospital
"My volunteer title was :Child Life Volunteer. There are many different departments that volunteers can choose from but I chose child life because it had maximum patient interaction. I volunteered 3 hours per week. My role consisted of setting up and cleaning up the communal patient playroom. These tasks were completed at the beginning and end of the shift. In between these times I visited various patient rooms, bringing toys, books, etc. I would spend time with patients and allow parents/guardians to take a break, if they wished."
When and for how long: April 2013-October 2013
Provider contact: I spoke to nurses prior to entering each patient room in order to check base about specific patient precautions or other details.
Patient & community contact: I had direct contact with patients and family members. I visited them in their rooms. My role for the patient was to provide some sort of entertainment or distraction by being a non-medicine related interaction. My role for the parent was to offer assistance by giving them time to leave the patient room with the assurance that someone was still with the patient.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience was interacting with patients. My role was small but it was great to get to know patients/families. Another great aspect about volunteering was simply seeing the environment of Children's. Having volunteered at Swedish Edmonds Hospital prior, I was able to directly compare the environments. It was very eye-opening to see how different hospitals can tailor to the specific needs of their patients.
More information: Chelsea Sandlin
Evergreen Hospital
"At the gift shop and the NICU, I didn't interact with any physicians or patients. However, at the Surgical Services desk, I had a nurse supervisor who worked with me. My duties included getting print outs of the surgery schedule for the next day, maintaining the cleanliness of the waiting room, compiling paperwork packets for patients and families to complete before surgery, check in patient family members and obtain their contact information, monitor the progress of the operating room board using online software, answer phone calls, accompany family members to the pre-operation care unit and post-anesthesia care unit, and direct physicians to family members after the surgery is complete."
When and for how long: I was there from 2010-2012, volunteering at the Gift Shop, NICU, and the Surgical Services desk
Provider contact: I worked alongside a nurse supervisor, who helped me with my duties. I also came in contact with surgical nurses who would pick up patients before surgery, as well as post-anesthesia care unit nurses when I went to check on the patients. Finally, I had contact with surgeons when they visited the family members after surgery. If the family member was absent, I would have to write down messages or instructions for the family members from the physician, or I'd have to go pick up a prescription that they'd sent to the pharmacy.
Patient & community contact: I had the most amount of contact with patient family members while they were in the waiting room. There was a wide spectrum of attitudes and behaviors that I saw, which is understandable since it's a very personal experience. Sometimes the family members would talk to me, and sometimes they'd just keep to themselves. At the very least, I always made sure to give them updates whenever the surgery status changed.
Liked best: I got to see a lot of things that I wouldn't have been able to as an outside observer. For instance, I knew next to nothing about the life of surgeons and healthcare policy, but after this experience, I definitely learned a lot. It shocked me that some patients would wait for hours after their scheduled surgery time in the pre-operation unit, because the surgeon had gone overtime on his last surgery. I thought there was a way to prevent that from happening, but it seems like there isn't. Furthermore, I got to see a really wide range of patients come through. Some of them just needed minor surgery (i.e to repair a knee injury), whereas others underwent major operations, like having a brain tumor removed. All of these people went through the Surgical Services desk.
Other notes: In order to work at surgical services, volunteers need to have Level 2 clearance due to exposure to patients. It's definitely a process, and you need to have a good amount of previous volunteer experience at the hospital.
More information: Volunteer office phone number: 425-899-1994
Seattle Union Gospel Mission
"Sterilization, Assistant chair-side with dentist, cleaning, preparing and taking down rooms, maintenance of facility"
When and for how long: November 2014 - present
Provider contact: The volunteers mostly talk to the dental assistant(s) there, but since the facility is so small, talking with dentists are very common as well
Patient & community contact: I have no contact to the patients
Liked best: Being in a dental enviroment and learning about the preliminary skills someone who wants to go into dentistry should have.
More information: ugm.com/volunteer
University of Washington Medical Center
"I was an escort at first. I discharged patients and did a lot of deliveries. I was then working as a volunteer in the Emergency Department. My main job was to check in with patients and do whatever the nurses and medical assistants assigned."
When and for how long: 2011 December - 2014 June, two and half years
Provider contact: I worked mainly with the nurses and medical assistants there. I passed on patients' request to them so they could check in with patients. I could also shadow them if there was something I would like to learn. There was once a patient who just had a serious car accident and a group of doctors were doing some procedures, and I was able to watch that.
Patient & community contact: I also communicated with these members a lot since my main job was to check in with them. I rounded in the department and asked everyone whether they were doing okay and if they would like anything. I got to talk to a lot of lonely patients a lot and brought them much comfort.
Liked best: I think I got the chance to talk to and comfort the patients there. Sometimes the Emergency Department was very busy and there were not enough nurses. Patients sometimes felt like they were ignored and I was able to be with them. This was something that nurses or medical assistants were not able to do.
More information: 206-598-4218
Red Cross
"I was a volunteer at first aid stations at various events in Seattle such as Hempfest and alcoholics anonymous. I helped people who need care, from something as small as a bandaid to having a concussion and needing to go to the hospital. This was a very rewarding experience and the red cross gives you all the training for free."
When and for how long: spring/summer/fall 2014
Provider contact: You work with other volunteers and also AMR first responders, EMTs.
Patient & community contact: You have direct contact with community members and you directly treat/help them when you are at the first aid station or when you are doing rounds around the event.
Liked best: There is a lot of patient contact and a lot of opportunities to learn more about first aid and emergency response.
More information: Brendon.Bottle@redcross.org
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Washington Oral Health Foundation (WOHF)
"I began by visiting the office once a week to help with office organization of their educational materials. A few months into the volunteering, I took on a larger role and began to make a new presentation for the organization to give to students about oral health. I did the majority of work on this from home on my own computer. In the end, I created 4 presentations for different age-groups that are still being used today by WOHF."
When and for how long: I volunteered there in 2013 for about 8 months.
Provider contact: I consulted a dentist that I job-shadowed for information to include in the presentation material.
Patient & community contact: I did not contact any patients.
Liked best: The best part was that the organization valued my work enough to actually use what I created.
Other notes: I hope to find the time to give the presentation to students soon.
More information: NA-my contact left the organization
COPE Health Solutions
"Responsibilities include assisting nurses and other staff with tasks involved in patient care such as feeding, changing, and bathing patients. Other office type duties are performed as well as simply sitting in and watching various procedures."
When and for how long: June 2014-Current
Provider contact: This internship provides undergraduate students with 3 month rotations on varying units of the hospital to assist medical staff in providing comfort care tasks for the patients. Also there is the opportunity to shadow doctors and other specialists and sit in on varying procedures.
Patient & community contact: One of the best parts of this volunteer opportunity is that there is a significant amount of interaction with patients and their families. Most of the time the interactions are simple and brief, but other times the patients or family are looking for someone to talk to. One of the best parts about this volunteer position has simply been listening to the stories and experiences of those that I have interacted with.
Liked best: Networking with professionals in the field and seeing them at work
More information: Poornima Bajwa email: pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org

other Western WA

Camp Korey
"Take care of the campers (campers were separated into cabins by age groups) and take whole cabin activity to activity, as well as make sure the campers take their designated medicine at the appropriate times."
When and for how long: Summer 2014, week-long
Provider contact: We mainly checked in with our designated cabin's nurse to make sure the campers have taken their medications and if there was anything to watch out for, but there was a constant direct contact.
Patient & community contact: Family wasn't allowed at the camp other than to drop and pick off their kids. But we oversaw everything the patients (campers) did throughout the week and watched out for their wellbeing. We kept the spirit and energy up as well!
Liked best: Being able to be around children, who are facing life's biggest struggles, and still see them be overjoyed by life's small, happy moments is incredibly heartwarming. It was an exhausting volunteer position, but it was very rewarding seeing how you can make an impact on these kids' lives.
More information: Janelle Kitson: 425-844-3190, jkitson@campkorey.org
PCLI
"My role at the cataract eye surgery clinic: PCLI was to shadow optometrists, anesthesiologist, and ophthalmologist. as they prepared patients and went through routine checks before they were ready to go through cataract eye surgeries. Then I met the anesthesiologist that numbed the patients and finally the ophthalmologist performing all the surgeries."
When and for how long: September 2014, for one day.
Provider contact: I shadowed the optometrists as they prepared patients and went through routine checks before they were ready to go through cataract eye surgeries. Then I met the anesthesiologist that numbed the patients and finally the ophthalmologist performing all the surgeries.
Patient & community contact: I followed a patient every step of the way, from the waiting room all the way to the end of her surgery. This allowed me to build a strong connection with her because I had become her friend, holding her hand through every step, and was able to hear about her case through the numerous doctors perspectives and for her side as well, regarding her current eye health condition.
Liked best: The very up close experience of being in my very first surgery setting. I felt like I was a doctor at that moment because of how close I was during the process and the connection I had built with the patients and doctors, I felt as though I was one of them.
Sea Mar Community Health Center
"I was in charge of leading small groups of the migrant children in short lessons and educational activities concerning preventive dental health care techniques, including proper teeth brushing and flossing methods."
When and for how long: For approx. 3 hours during 3 different mobile medical and dental education clinics at a migrant workers camp in Mount Vernon, WA. Summer 2013.
Provider contact: I worked with the dental health care providers while preparing the material I was in charge of presenting the children with. When my presentations were over, I also helped run supplies to the stations where the dental health care providers were.
Patient & community contact: I was able to work closely with the children of the migrant workers to help give them some basic preventive health care education. Several times that day, I also had to translate for one of the other volunteers while they were giving their presentation and running through their activity. I was able to help answer the children's questions, mostly in English and a bit in Spanish to the best of my ability.
Liked best: It was a really unique experience and not something I would have pictured myself doing when I thought about volunteering in the health care field. The mobile clinic not only provided education workshops for the children and adults in this migrant camp, they also provided free dental and medical check ups to the people there and even performed basic procedures on patients (some of which I was able to observe). The work I did may have been centered a little more on education but it was really rewarding to be able to show someone how they can avoid bad oral health so it doesn't come back to bite them in the future. I really enjoyed how hands on and interactive of an experience it was, especially with a population that is typically underserved in the health care field.
More information: Sea Mar CHC - Mount Vernon Dental Clinic 1400 N LaVenture Mount Vernon, Washington 98273
Harrison Medical Center
"My role as a volunteer for the hospital was to help guide patients around the hospital, help support staff provide family members with updates while loved ones were in surgery, and general office support such as filing papers, etc. Patient confidentiality is always a crucial component of working in the hospital setting and along with this responsibility it was crucial that I was efficient and knowledgeable at providing patient support."
When and for how long: Summer 2013, 3 months
Provider contact: During this time I had brief interactions with doctors, as most of my responsibilities and duties required more contact with support staff, receptionists, and nurses rather than direct support to the doctors themselves.
Patient & community contact: Most of my interactions on a day to day basis was with patients and their families, making sure they knew where to go for appointments and helping make them feel welcome and comfortable while in our care at the hospital. I was also in direct contact with other community volunteers who helped out in similar positions that I was in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was getting to understand the patient experience from the time they entered the front doors to the time they left. Having had contact with both patients and their families I got a unique insight into how they felt about their hospital experiences and how we could make changes to make patients and family members as comfortable as possible when having to seek medical care through the providers at our local hospital.
More information: harrisonmedical.org
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"HCASB is a student run organization at UW that organizes healthcare shadowing trips to rural towns in Washington over spring break. It gives pre-health students a chance to understand the unique needs and opportunities of rural medicine, while also increasing their shadowing hours. I was a Team Leader, so I spent Winter quarter contacting different healthcare facilities in Sequim, WA to set up our week of shadowing and where to stay."
When and for how long: Spring Break 2014
Provider contact: I spent four full work days shadowing one on one with several different doctors, including family practice, opthamology, ob/gyn, and geriatric medicine.
Patient & community contact: I got to see healthcare providers working with many different types of patients, from young healthy people, to pregnant women, to elderly people in various states of health. While I did more shadowing than interacting, many patients were friendly and willing to answer questions or talk briefly. We also spent a few hours volunteering at an assisted living facility where we got to participate in the exercise activities with residents.
Liked best: Getting to meet and observe such a good range of medical specialties whom all share the same experience of working in a rural community was most valuable. It gave me insight to what career paths interested me more than others, and allowed me to contrast different perspectives on the benefits and challenges of urban vs. rural medicine.
Other notes: Applications for Team Leader positions close in Fall, and Participant applications close around the start of winter quarter, so its a good idea to start thinking about this beginning of Fall quarter.
More information: hcasb.org
Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute
"I job shadowed many Optometrists working in the medical aspect of optometry. I also sat in on multiple cataract surgeries in the Operating Room."
When and for how long: September 2014, one day
Provider contact: I was able to talk to the doctors and surgeon about what they did for a job. They told me about the pros and cons of their jobs. I was also able to learn a lot about the lifestyles of the doctors outside of the workday.
Patient & community contact: I was able to talk to patients about their symptoms as well as using some of the medical equipment in the office.
Liked best: The best thing about this job shadowing experience was that I was able to see the medical side of optometry that really appeals to me. I was also able to learn about the lifestyle of an optometrist which helped me realize that this is a field that I am very interested in pursuing. The doctors all were able to balance a social and family life outside of their jobs.
More information: Phone number: (360) 748-8632

Out-of-state

Lady of the Sea Hospital: Surgical Department (Los Angeles)
"I would mainly catalog, label, and put away all of the surgical supplies. I would also help the nurses with other work including helping to set up operating rooms for a procedure."
When and for how long: 3 years ago. I was there a couple days a week for a month or so.
Provider contact: I was mostly in contact with the nurses, although I would meet the surgeons when they came. I also met the anesthesiologist and he showed me his equipment, and described the work that he did.
Patient & community contact: They didn't let me contact any of the patients.
Liked best: I thought it was beneficial because I was able to witness all the work that goes on in a surgical department before a surgeon arrives and after he leaves. I saw how much of a team effort it was to provide medical care. The nurses would show me about the equipment and supplies that they use during operations and describe different procedures and their experiences with them.
More information: (985) 632-6401
Oregon Health and Science University Department of Vascular Surgery Summer Research Intern
"Primarily this volunteer opportunity was to conduct chart review studies, but also included clinical studies which involved consenting patients and collecting data from them. Besides conducting research I was also able to shadow the physicians in clinic, in the OR, and on occasion during rounds."
When and for how long: 3 sepearate summers for 3 months each
Provider contact: Because this was a clinical research internship my PI was a physician. The approach at OHSU's Department of Vascula Surgery is very team oriented and so I was able to interact quite a bit with all of the physicians on the team, which includes all of the attendings, the fellows, the residents, the interns, and the medical students. I also was able to interact with the circulation nurse and the scrub nurse down in the OR, as well as the MAs.
Patient & community contact: Through my opportunity I was able to shadow the physicians and attend clinic with them, where I got to interact with patients, and on occasion was also allowed to check for pulses. I interacted with patients in the PACU as well as interacted with patients that I approached to consent for my studies. There were also certain occasions during which I was allowed to shadow the physicians on their rounds.
Liked best: The best things about this experience was how hands on it was and the wide variety of experiences that I got to have was. I was able to do research, as well as shadow and contribute in journal club, it felt like a very comprehensive experience. Though this experiences I feel like I truly got a sense of what a similar career would look like, and I know exactly what I would be getting myself into.
More information: Amber Bruner @ OHSU

Snohomish County

Swedish Hospital
"To assist all medical care providers with all types of tasks that promote the efficiency and quality of healthcare towards patients. These tasks can include rounding, transporting and comforting patients, as well as stocking and organizing medical supplies."
When and for how long: 4 hour shifts, past 2 years
Provider contact: I volunteer directly under the supervision and direction of medical care providers. I provide assistance with anything during medical preparations or procedures.
Patient & community contact: I am always checking in on patients during the brief or extended times that they are in the emergency department. My purpose is to provide comfort and information for patients and their families while they wait for procedures or results etc.
Liked best: My favorite experience was with a patient X. I recognized her from a different volunteering facility that I was a part of prior to this position. I had gotten to know her well with that other facility. She was an elderly woman with a severe hearing difficulty, and she too, recognized me when I checked in on her during my rounds at the ER. Her face lit up when she saw my familiar face in the hospital. She has a hard time hearing, and I knew that, so I already had a sense of how to make her feel comfortable and at ease. I spent a good time with her, sitting next to her and holding her hand to provide some comfort in such a busy and overwhelming ER. It really made me happy, and her too, to spend some time together in what can be an upsetting situation: sick and vulnerable at a busy ER.
More information: 425-640-4341
Swedish Hospital Edmonds
"Working in the front desk, helping patients, wheel chairing patients."
When and for how long: High School for 1 year
Provider contact: Not very much. Mostly communicated with nurses.
Patient & community contact: Lots of patient interaction.
Liked best: Being in the hospital setting, which allowed me to see the interactions and hospital community. Seeing this actually deterred me away from becoming a doctor because I look more local and close interactions.
More information: Volunteer Coordinator
adultchildrenelderlygeneral/allteenagers

adult

Lady of the Sea Hospital: Surgical Department (Los Angeles)
"I would mainly catalog, label, and put away all of the surgical supplies. I would also help the nurses with other work including helping to set up operating rooms for a procedure."
When and for how long: 3 years ago. I was there a couple days a week for a month or so.
Provider contact: I was mostly in contact with the nurses, although I would meet the surgeons when they came. I also met the anesthesiologist and he showed me his equipment, and described the work that he did.
Patient & community contact: They didn't let me contact any of the patients.
Liked best: I thought it was beneficial because I was able to witness all the work that goes on in a surgical department before a surgeon arrives and after he leaves. I saw how much of a team effort it was to provide medical care. The nurses would show me about the equipment and supplies that they use during operations and describe different procedures and their experiences with them.
More information: (985) 632-6401
Global Dental Brigades UW Chapter
"I was in charge of holding charlas where I showed kids how to brush. I also got the chance to shadowing a dentist while she performed dental procedures."
When and for how long: Summer of 2013, 9 days
Provider contact: I shadowed a dentist and got to ask any questions I had.
Patient & community contact: I got to teach them how to brush and take care of there oral hygiene.
Liked best: The best part was when the kids got there brushes and they treated it as if they had just got there hands on the newest piece of technology.
More information: Depends who is president of the club that year
Prep-Step Health Care Scholarship Program
"Help out the nursing staff and NAC staff on the patient floors with patient care such as: cleaning up, providing meals, talking to patients, running messages to the staff, and ambulating patients."
When and for how long: Since August 2014 to currently
Provider contact: I directly get instruction and advice from the healthcare staff. Physicians are relatively rare throughout the day, but I get to see the constant work that the nurses and NAC's do all day.
Patient & community contact: I have the opportunity to speak directly with patients and their family members. Sometimes patients want to be left alone, but sometimes they want more interaction than the nurses can provide with their busy schedules.
Liked best: Getting to spend extended time with the nursing staff and seeing how important treating patients as individual people is to their overall care and experience in the hospital.
More information: 206-386-3879
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Translate for American doctors and dentists to diagnose Vietnamese villagers. Sort medicine into small bags for prescribing and explain to patients how to use."
When and for how long: 2 weeks but trained for 1 year
Provider contact: Become the voice for the doctors and dentists to help the patients understand dental treatments (usually teeth extractions) or diagnosis.
Patient & community contact: To fund the cost of the medicine and supplies we had to host a banquet which required contact with family and businesses to support us. That year we raised 28K in one night.
Liked best: Living in a foreign country for 2 weeks. Making new friends with the student volunteers and health professionals. Stark difference in the appreciation of care from Vietnamese patients vs American patients.
More information: Scott Fung
University of Washington Athletic Department
"I am a sports medicine intern through the University of Washington Athletic department. I shadow different athletic trainers as they treat the athletes. I assist in some rehab and different modalities to help the student athletes in their recovery. I also help by disinfecting and cleaning different pieces of equipment as well as assisting in the set up of onsite first aid and water stations."
When and for how long: From August 2014-present
Provider contact: I work directly under one athletic trainer assigned to one sport and rotate to a different athletic trainer every month or so.
Patient & community contact: I am right beside the athletic trainer as they treat the different patients. I also directly work with the patient by providing them with different treatments such as massage, ice, deep muscle stimulating (DMS), etc.
Liked best: Being able to build a rapport with the athletes that came in for multiple treatments. Working with them directly and building a connection with them by helping them.
More information: Michael Dillon, mldillon@uw.edu
University of Washington Medical Center
"Volunteer patient escort: escorting patients around the hospital via wheelchairs or walking Volunteer in ICU: cleaning/stocking medical supplies, retrieving items for patients, clerical duties (answering the phone, filing paperwork)"
When and for how long: 2011-2013
Provider contact: Opportunity to observe procedures performed by physicians
Patient & community contact: Reading to and/or feeding patients, escorting families and patients in and out of the hospital
Liked best: Interacting with patients, observing the harsh realities, and also the beauty of medicine
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Soliciting in order to raise money for the medical supplies we were to bring on our trip. Contact other health professions to assist us on our trip because they are the only way how we can treat them. The volunteers and leaders who were mainly under-graduates were only able to observe, assist and scribe for the health professionals."
When and for how long: From the beginning of 2014 until late september of the same year.
Provider contact: Scribe for the medical care providers. Some students and I were able to become translators between the patients and the health professions. Medical care providers were also able to teach us diseases/sicknesses the patients had, and how we can tell from our diagnosis on how they have it.
Patient & community contact: Consulting with the villagers. Teaching them on how to take their medication. Teaching them what their sickness is. Teaching patients the basics of public health (Water sanitation, risks of drinking alcohol/smoking obsessively, brushing teeth), in order to prevent exposure to some microbes that can cause harm to us.
Liked best: Going to a different country and using my ability to interact with patients in a medical/clinical setting. Working in a clinic that was student ran. A lot of work and communication was required.
More information: info@vnhealth.org
Sea Mar Community Health Center
"I was in charge of leading small groups of the migrant children in short lessons and educational activities concerning preventive dental health care techniques, including proper teeth brushing and flossing methods."
When and for how long: For approx. 3 hours during 3 different mobile medical and dental education clinics at a migrant workers camp in Mount Vernon, WA. Summer 2013.
Provider contact: I worked with the dental health care providers while preparing the material I was in charge of presenting the children with. When my presentations were over, I also helped run supplies to the stations where the dental health care providers were.
Patient & community contact: I was able to work closely with the children of the migrant workers to help give them some basic preventive health care education. Several times that day, I also had to translate for one of the other volunteers while they were giving their presentation and running through their activity. I was able to help answer the children's questions, mostly in English and a bit in Spanish to the best of my ability.
Liked best: It was a really unique experience and not something I would have pictured myself doing when I thought about volunteering in the health care field. The mobile clinic not only provided education workshops for the children and adults in this migrant camp, they also provided free dental and medical check ups to the people there and even performed basic procedures on patients (some of which I was able to observe). The work I did may have been centered a little more on education but it was really rewarding to be able to show someone how they can avoid bad oral health so it doesn't come back to bite them in the future. I really enjoyed how hands on and interactive of an experience it was, especially with a population that is typically underserved in the health care field.
More information: Sea Mar CHC - Mount Vernon Dental Clinic 1400 N LaVenture Mount Vernon, Washington 98273
Swedish Medical Center
"Shadowing a group of Interventional Radiologists. I learned how to tie surgical knots, the OR scrub-in procedure, and the names and uses of various catheters."
When and for how long: June 2011 for two weeks
Provider contact: It was a very great learning experience and I was able to ask a lot of questions. Before every procedure the doctor would teach me what way through the body they would need to take and taught me briefly about fluoroscopy and MRI/X-ray reading.
Patient & community contact: I had little contact with the patients but the contact that I did have was insightful. Since the procedures were mostly out-patient procedures, the appointment where they discussed the procedure and determined the need for the procedure had already occurred.
Liked best: I learned a lot about this area of medicine and got a glimpse into the life of a surgeon. It made me have a greater passion for medicine.
More information: N/A
UWMC volunteer servicces
"Transport patients via wheelchair to appointments. Greet, direct and provide way-finding for patients and visitors. Maintain cleanliness of patient and public waiting areas. Escort/walk patients and visitors to clinic locations. Discharge patients to third floor lobby / UWMC entrance. Deliver flowers, mail, books and magazines to patients. Deliver charts, specimens and supplies throughout medical center All around help"
When and for how long: I've been a volunteer for two years
Provider contact: Contact with medical professionals is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Patient & community contact: Contact with medical professionals and families is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Liked best: As a volunteer at the UWMC your experience is entirely in your control. If you are nervous and alittle shyer you can hang back and just deliver specimens,organize paperwork, and direct patients very low key tasks. Or you can volunteer in a department like one of the ICU's and be very much in the middle of the chaos which can be alittle scarier but also very enlightening and a great learning opportunity. However, either way you're getting to see the hospital's inner workings in and get to soak in how the hospital runs while making a difference because have no doubt the UWMC would not work nearly as efficiently without their volunteers.
Other notes: They do not spoon feed you a volunteer position nor check in with how you are doing as a volunteer. To get started you have to take a lot of initiative and once you're a volunteer if you're unhappy in you're position it's up to you to go check in with volunteer services. They're happy to help once you go in but this isn't a volunteer program that cares if you're having a valuable experience or not. If you like a sense of leadership and community from programs you're involved in I wouldn't recommend this one because it is a very independent type of position at the UWMC.But very convenient in proximity.
More information: 206-598-4218 webpage: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
COPE Health Solutions
"Accountable for answering the patients’ call lights and assisting them with basic care requests on the assigned floor unit (about 25 patients) at Swedish Hopsital. Provide patient care after surgery, including assisting nursing staff with feeding patients, ambulating patients, changing linens, visiting with patients, and wound care."
When and for how long: I started August 2014 and am still in the program
Provider contact: There is a lot of contact with nurses and fewer with physicians, but there is still contact and interaction with physicians when they are rounding and checking-in with patients and conversing with them.
Patient & community contact: There is hands-on care with patients where some tasks are done by yourself or with assistance to nurse. The family of patients are often there during the recovery process.
Liked best: You get a lot of hands-on experience with patient care and interaction with health care team in the hospital.
More information: Poornima Bajwa
Union Gospel Mission Dental Clinic
"As volunteers, we make sure that the clinic is in order and clean. We also greet patients and set up the stations where they have their appointments. Volunteers learn to assist chair side with local dentists who also volunteer their time at the UGM dental clinic, take x-rays and develop film, and how to sterilize dental tools. Although volunteer work at the UGM dental clinic goes far beyond the office, as volunteers can also help by organizing fundraisers, applying for grants, and other activities that help organize the clinic."
When and for how long: I began volunteering there in August 2014 and still currently volunteer there
Provider contact: I get to work alongside the providers as they are treating and helping patients. It is really great to be able to do this as many of the dentists understand that the volunteers are aspiring to go to dental school, so they are very accommodating with explaining what they are doing and why.
Patient & community contact: At the UGM, we get to work directly with patients by taking their dental history, blood pressure, and encouraging them to consistently come in when they can for dental care. With the patients, our job is to make them feel welcomed and make sure they get the best care possible with the available resources.
Liked best: Not only do I get hands on experience volunteering at the UGM dental clinic, I get to learn so many things about other important aspects in dentistry other than just teeth. For example, I learn the importance of sterilization and how to do that, how to take x-rays, and the incredible work that dental assistants do for dentists. I also get to see a wide range of patients and learn more about them and their lives.
More information: Juanita Banks --> jbanks@ugm.org
UW General Internal Medicine Center
"Stocking examination rooms, sorting faxes, and any miscellaneous projects that may come up."
When and for how long: Fall 2013 to present. 4 hours a week.
Provider contact: The clinic itself is relatively small, so you will always pass by a medical care provider. This clinic also trains resident doctors, which you can shadow.
Patient & community contact: Little to none during volunteer hours as most duties do not require you to be in the presence of a patient. On some rare occasions you may be asked to push a patient and their wheelchair to the lobby.
Liked best: The abundance of shadowing opportunities.
Other notes: This clinic is located at UWMC-Roosevelt, not the main hospital.
More information: UWMC Volunteer services. Volunteer manager: Cynnie Foss
Neighborcare Health
"Community outreach volunteer, did outreach to current medical patients to referred them to our dental clinic. Well child check reminders to infants and childrens."
When and for how long: Was there since 2012
Provider contact: Did not really have much contact with medical care providers. I did shadow the dental providers and have a great relationship with them.
Patient & community contact: Usually not much due to working in the office.
Liked best: Learning about how healthcare works.
More information: 206-461-6935 or info@neighborcare.org
Evergreen Hospital
"At the gift shop and the NICU, I didn't interact with any physicians or patients. However, at the Surgical Services desk, I had a nurse supervisor who worked with me. My duties included getting print outs of the surgery schedule for the next day, maintaining the cleanliness of the waiting room, compiling paperwork packets for patients and families to complete before surgery, check in patient family members and obtain their contact information, monitor the progress of the operating room board using online software, answer phone calls, accompany family members to the pre-operation care unit and post-anesthesia care unit, and direct physicians to family members after the surgery is complete."
When and for how long: I was there from 2010-2012, volunteering at the Gift Shop, NICU, and the Surgical Services desk
Provider contact: I worked alongside a nurse supervisor, who helped me with my duties. I also came in contact with surgical nurses who would pick up patients before surgery, as well as post-anesthesia care unit nurses when I went to check on the patients. Finally, I had contact with surgeons when they visited the family members after surgery. If the family member was absent, I would have to write down messages or instructions for the family members from the physician, or I'd have to go pick up a prescription that they'd sent to the pharmacy.
Patient & community contact: I had the most amount of contact with patient family members while they were in the waiting room. There was a wide spectrum of attitudes and behaviors that I saw, which is understandable since it's a very personal experience. Sometimes the family members would talk to me, and sometimes they'd just keep to themselves. At the very least, I always made sure to give them updates whenever the surgery status changed.
Liked best: I got to see a lot of things that I wouldn't have been able to as an outside observer. For instance, I knew next to nothing about the life of surgeons and healthcare policy, but after this experience, I definitely learned a lot. It shocked me that some patients would wait for hours after their scheduled surgery time in the pre-operation unit, because the surgeon had gone overtime on his last surgery. I thought there was a way to prevent that from happening, but it seems like there isn't. Furthermore, I got to see a really wide range of patients come through. Some of them just needed minor surgery (i.e to repair a knee injury), whereas others underwent major operations, like having a brain tumor removed. All of these people went through the Surgical Services desk.
Other notes: In order to work at surgical services, volunteers need to have Level 2 clearance due to exposure to patients. It's definitely a process, and you need to have a good amount of previous volunteer experience at the hospital.
More information: Volunteer office phone number: 425-899-1994
Seattle Union Gospel Mission
"Sterilization, Assistant chair-side with dentist, cleaning, preparing and taking down rooms, maintenance of facility"
When and for how long: November 2014 - present
Provider contact: The volunteers mostly talk to the dental assistant(s) there, but since the facility is so small, talking with dentists are very common as well
Patient & community contact: I have no contact to the patients
Liked best: Being in a dental enviroment and learning about the preliminary skills someone who wants to go into dentistry should have.
More information: ugm.com/volunteer
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Swedish Hospital Edmonds
"Working in the front desk, helping patients, wheel chairing patients."
When and for how long: High School for 1 year
Provider contact: Not very much. Mostly communicated with nurses.
Patient & community contact: Lots of patient interaction.
Liked best: Being in the hospital setting, which allowed me to see the interactions and hospital community. Seeing this actually deterred me away from becoming a doctor because I look more local and close interactions.
More information: Volunteer Coordinator
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"HCASB is a student run organization at UW that organizes healthcare shadowing trips to rural towns in Washington over spring break. It gives pre-health students a chance to understand the unique needs and opportunities of rural medicine, while also increasing their shadowing hours. I was a Team Leader, so I spent Winter quarter contacting different healthcare facilities in Sequim, WA to set up our week of shadowing and where to stay."
When and for how long: Spring Break 2014
Provider contact: I spent four full work days shadowing one on one with several different doctors, including family practice, opthamology, ob/gyn, and geriatric medicine.
Patient & community contact: I got to see healthcare providers working with many different types of patients, from young healthy people, to pregnant women, to elderly people in various states of health. While I did more shadowing than interacting, many patients were friendly and willing to answer questions or talk briefly. We also spent a few hours volunteering at an assisted living facility where we got to participate in the exercise activities with residents.
Liked best: Getting to meet and observe such a good range of medical specialties whom all share the same experience of working in a rural community was most valuable. It gave me insight to what career paths interested me more than others, and allowed me to contrast different perspectives on the benefits and challenges of urban vs. rural medicine.
Other notes: Applications for Team Leader positions close in Fall, and Participant applications close around the start of winter quarter, so its a good idea to start thinking about this beginning of Fall quarter.
More information: hcasb.org
Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute
"I job shadowed many Optometrists working in the medical aspect of optometry. I also sat in on multiple cataract surgeries in the Operating Room."
When and for how long: September 2014, one day
Provider contact: I was able to talk to the doctors and surgeon about what they did for a job. They told me about the pros and cons of their jobs. I was also able to learn a lot about the lifestyles of the doctors outside of the workday.
Patient & community contact: I was able to talk to patients about their symptoms as well as using some of the medical equipment in the office.
Liked best: The best thing about this job shadowing experience was that I was able to see the medical side of optometry that really appeals to me. I was also able to learn about the lifestyle of an optometrist which helped me realize that this is a field that I am very interested in pursuing. The doctors all were able to balance a social and family life outside of their jobs.
More information: Phone number: (360) 748-8632

children

Camp Korey
"Take care of the campers (campers were separated into cabins by age groups) and take whole cabin activity to activity, as well as make sure the campers take their designated medicine at the appropriate times."
When and for how long: Summer 2014, week-long
Provider contact: We mainly checked in with our designated cabin's nurse to make sure the campers have taken their medications and if there was anything to watch out for, but there was a constant direct contact.
Patient & community contact: Family wasn't allowed at the camp other than to drop and pick off their kids. But we oversaw everything the patients (campers) did throughout the week and watched out for their wellbeing. We kept the spirit and energy up as well!
Liked best: Being able to be around children, who are facing life's biggest struggles, and still see them be overjoyed by life's small, happy moments is incredibly heartwarming. It was an exhausting volunteer position, but it was very rewarding seeing how you can make an impact on these kids' lives.
More information: Janelle Kitson: 425-844-3190, jkitson@campkorey.org
Seattle Children's (Observership)
"Shadowing neurosurgeons in the OR."
When and for how long: Fall Quarter 2014
Provider contact: Spoke with surgeons, residents, nurses and other medical assistants.
Patient & community contact: None.
Liked best: Being in the OR was incredible! I was right by the bed as the surgeries took place.
More information: Search for "Observership" on the web site under "Education"; this is an application
Seattle Children's (Observership)
"This program guaranteed 20 shadowing hours over the course of a quarter. I was paired with a neurosurgeon and was able to shadow him in the operating room and during his clinic times."
When and for how long: Fall 2013, one quarter
Provider contact: I had direct contact with the attending physician, the fellows, the residents, the nurses, and the technicians.
Patient & community contact: I had very limited direct interaction with patients or family members, but I was able to observe their interactions with the physician.
Liked best: This experience gave me great insight into "the day in the life" of a physician. I learned a lot about how a doctor interacts with patients and coworkers and how a hospital is organized and run.
More information: search for "Observership", within the "Education" section of the web site; this is an application
Global Dental Brigades UW Chapter
"I was in charge of holding charlas where I showed kids how to brush. I also got the chance to shadowing a dentist while she performed dental procedures."
When and for how long: Summer of 2013, 9 days
Provider contact: I shadowed a dentist and got to ask any questions I had.
Patient & community contact: I got to teach them how to brush and take care of there oral hygiene.
Liked best: The best part was when the kids got there brushes and they treated it as if they had just got there hands on the newest piece of technology.
More information: Depends who is president of the club that year
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Translate for American doctors and dentists to diagnose Vietnamese villagers. Sort medicine into small bags for prescribing and explain to patients how to use."
When and for how long: 2 weeks but trained for 1 year
Provider contact: Become the voice for the doctors and dentists to help the patients understand dental treatments (usually teeth extractions) or diagnosis.
Patient & community contact: To fund the cost of the medicine and supplies we had to host a banquet which required contact with family and businesses to support us. That year we raised 28K in one night.
Liked best: Living in a foreign country for 2 weeks. Making new friends with the student volunteers and health professionals. Stark difference in the appreciation of care from Vietnamese patients vs American patients.
More information: Scott Fung
Seattle Children's Hospital
"Child Life volunteer. I was going to the patients' rooms or playing with the patients at the playroom."
When and for how long: Fall, Winter 2012
Provider contact: I need to check in/out with the nurses before and after I played with patients. I was sometimes allowed to stay in the room while doctors were examining the patients.
Patient & community contact: I was directly in contact with the parents/caregivers of the patients. I not only played with the kids and entertaining them, but also was giving some space for the parents so that they can have some free time for themselves.
Liked best: Making kids happy. The best reward was to seeing unhealthy and sometimes unhappy kids smiling and having fun.
More information: Alison Garrison, email: alison.garrison@seattlechildrens.org
Seattle Children's Hospital
"I volunteer in the Child Life department - so my major role is to interact (basically spend time/hang out and play) with patients in need. This may be due to the patient's parents needing a break, or it can be a case where the patient's family is not in the same country. Either way, the goal is to let the patient feel more at home at the hospital by providing them with a better experience during their stay at Seattle Children's. Before and after spending time with patients, I help clean and organize toys for the playroom, as well as prepare and clean up the playroom itself."
When and for how long: Started in Fall of 2013, and still volunteering
Provider contact: Before I visit each patient, I get to speak with the nurse about any problems or concerns I should keep in mind about the patient. The nurse will occasionally visit the room (usually to check vitals) during my stay. Generally, the nurses are quite friendly, and will ask me about what I do, what I am studying and what my future goals are. On 'rare' occasions, a doctor (presumably the surgeon for the patient in some cases), and more often residences, will stop by as well. In these instances, they may also ask about my background - but usually they are concentrating on the patient! (Which does give a good insight on what they do)
Patient & community contact: My interactions with the patients are fairly direct - I get to play games, talk, watch movies and more with them. My contact with the patient's family members (usually their parents) is less frequent. However, most parents at the hospital are nice and enjoy talking with me for a little bit. They do enjoy being able to talk about their experiences and concerns about what is happening with their child - which they may not be able to do too often.
Liked best: For me, the people who I work with in this hospital - be it volunteers, doctors, nurses or receptionists - have really opened me up to an outstanding group of individuals. These people genuinely care about other's well-being; and wanting to go into a medical profession, I feel that that is the most important asset to have. Seattle Children's gives a fantastic example of how a family-friendly hospital should be like.
More information: amy.faris@seattlechildrens.org
Little Bit Theraputic Riding Center
"Interact with horses and children with disabilities and their parents."
When and for how long: High school 4 years and college
Provider contact: Physical therapists control the class and give instructions.
Patient & community contact: Talk to parents before and after the class, help the kids ride and play games with them.
Liked best: Seeing the kids have fun and seeing the differences from week to week
More information: (425) 882-1554
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Soliciting in order to raise money for the medical supplies we were to bring on our trip. Contact other health professions to assist us on our trip because they are the only way how we can treat them. The volunteers and leaders who were mainly under-graduates were only able to observe, assist and scribe for the health professionals."
When and for how long: From the beginning of 2014 until late september of the same year.
Provider contact: Scribe for the medical care providers. Some students and I were able to become translators between the patients and the health professions. Medical care providers were also able to teach us diseases/sicknesses the patients had, and how we can tell from our diagnosis on how they have it.
Patient & community contact: Consulting with the villagers. Teaching them on how to take their medication. Teaching them what their sickness is. Teaching patients the basics of public health (Water sanitation, risks of drinking alcohol/smoking obsessively, brushing teeth), in order to prevent exposure to some microbes that can cause harm to us.
Liked best: Going to a different country and using my ability to interact with patients in a medical/clinical setting. Working in a clinic that was student ran. A lot of work and communication was required.
More information: info@vnhealth.org
Sea Mar Community Health Center
"I was in charge of leading small groups of the migrant children in short lessons and educational activities concerning preventive dental health care techniques, including proper teeth brushing and flossing methods."
When and for how long: For approx. 3 hours during 3 different mobile medical and dental education clinics at a migrant workers camp in Mount Vernon, WA. Summer 2013.
Provider contact: I worked with the dental health care providers while preparing the material I was in charge of presenting the children with. When my presentations were over, I also helped run supplies to the stations where the dental health care providers were.
Patient & community contact: I was able to work closely with the children of the migrant workers to help give them some basic preventive health care education. Several times that day, I also had to translate for one of the other volunteers while they were giving their presentation and running through their activity. I was able to help answer the children's questions, mostly in English and a bit in Spanish to the best of my ability.
Liked best: It was a really unique experience and not something I would have pictured myself doing when I thought about volunteering in the health care field. The mobile clinic not only provided education workshops for the children and adults in this migrant camp, they also provided free dental and medical check ups to the people there and even performed basic procedures on patients (some of which I was able to observe). The work I did may have been centered a little more on education but it was really rewarding to be able to show someone how they can avoid bad oral health so it doesn't come back to bite them in the future. I really enjoyed how hands on and interactive of an experience it was, especially with a population that is typically underserved in the health care field.
More information: Sea Mar CHC - Mount Vernon Dental Clinic 1400 N LaVenture Mount Vernon, Washington 98273
Neighborcare Health
"Community outreach volunteer, did outreach to current medical patients to referred them to our dental clinic. Well child check reminders to infants and childrens."
When and for how long: Was there since 2012
Provider contact: Did not really have much contact with medical care providers. I did shadow the dental providers and have a great relationship with them.
Patient & community contact: Usually not much due to working in the office.
Liked best: Learning about how healthcare works.
More information: 206-461-6935 or info@neighborcare.org
Seattle Children's Hospital
"My volunteer title was :Child Life Volunteer. There are many different departments that volunteers can choose from but I chose child life because it had maximum patient interaction. I volunteered 3 hours per week. My role consisted of setting up and cleaning up the communal patient playroom. These tasks were completed at the beginning and end of the shift. In between these times I visited various patient rooms, bringing toys, books, etc. I would spend time with patients and allow parents/guardians to take a break, if they wished."
When and for how long: April 2013-October 2013
Provider contact: I spoke to nurses prior to entering each patient room in order to check base about specific patient precautions or other details.
Patient & community contact: I had direct contact with patients and family members. I visited them in their rooms. My role for the patient was to provide some sort of entertainment or distraction by being a non-medicine related interaction. My role for the parent was to offer assistance by giving them time to leave the patient room with the assurance that someone was still with the patient.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience was interacting with patients. My role was small but it was great to get to know patients/families. Another great aspect about volunteering was simply seeing the environment of Children's. Having volunteered at Swedish Edmonds Hospital prior, I was able to directly compare the environments. It was very eye-opening to see how different hospitals can tailor to the specific needs of their patients.
More information: Chelsea Sandlin
Seattle Children's Hospital in Belleuve
"I had a few different roles at the hospital. I started off as a greeter at the main entrance, making sure to answer that patients and their families feel welcomed and get all the information necessary while at the hospital. I would usually provide information about the facility, such as where the restrooms are, where the vending machines are, where they need to check in for their appointments, what is the closest restaurant or grocery store, how to get on I-5 or 520. My second position was at a Surgery Center desk where I served as a mediator between the medical staff and families of the patients getting the surgical procedure. I was the one to greet them as they walk out of the induction room after their child has been put the sleep, make sure they know around what time the procedure should be done, what are the next steps for them and for their child and to take them either straight to the recovery or to the waiting room. The third position that I am just starting is in the recovery room where I am making sure that recovery rooms are cleaned and set up for the next patient."
When and for how long: I am volunteering there since July 2014
Provider contact: As a volunteer are a surgery center, I had to keep track of the cases and families in the waiting area, recovery and rooms. Drs. needed everything to run smoothly at the waiting room with parents so they can talk to them about the procedure and move to the next case. I had a responsibility of making sure the family is in their assigned waiting room at the time the doctor walks in to talk to them. As the schedules sometimes get very busy, I needed to coordinate with the charge and induction room nurse to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Patient & community contact: Right after the induction room, I was the first person that family and parents would talk to. They would usually be very emotional after seeing their child go to sleep, and I would make sure they are ok. I would let them know how long the procedure is and when the doctor should be coming to talk to them. I would walk them to their waiting room and let them know as soon as they are able to go back to the recovery room and rejoin with their child. In the mean time, for anything they need I would be the first source. I made sure they knew my name and my role and that they are being the most comfortable during their stay.
Liked best: The best thing was to feel that you are making families the most comfortable with their stay in the hospital while their child is getting a procedure. Multiple times I have been thanked for the service as I have contributed to making their stay at the hospital the most pleasant as it can be. Additionally, I got to see how the whole hospital works and how many people and different professions it takes to make the hospital work properly. I as a volunteer had a clear role and felt that I was making a great contribution toward making the families and patients satisfied with the service at Seattle Children's.
More information: Patricia Hovik, patricia.hovik@seattlechildrens.org
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Washington Oral Health Foundation (WOHF)
"I began by visiting the office once a week to help with office organization of their educational materials. A few months into the volunteering, I took on a larger role and began to make a new presentation for the organization to give to students about oral health. I did the majority of work on this from home on my own computer. In the end, I created 4 presentations for different age-groups that are still being used today by WOHF."
When and for how long: I volunteered there in 2013 for about 8 months.
Provider contact: I consulted a dentist that I job-shadowed for information to include in the presentation material.
Patient & community contact: I did not contact any patients.
Liked best: The best part was that the organization valued my work enough to actually use what I created.
Other notes: I hope to find the time to give the presentation to students soon.
More information: NA-my contact left the organization
Rural Mobile Health Clinic
"I was part of a rural mobile health clinic located in Surin, Thailand as a medical volunteer and some of the tasks were making medicine kits, dressing wounds, measuring blood pressure, etc."
When and for how long: 15 days
Provider contact: I had direct contact with the local doctors and nurses there.
Patient & community contact: I also had close, direct contact with the patients that came to the community clinic through dressing wounds and basic health measurements.
Liked best: It really changed my way of pursuing medicine in that I strived with a less self-centered approach and more humanitarian.
More information: N/A
Nick of Time Foundation- UW
"To help the Nick of Time Foundation with their mission of increasing awareness of sudden cardiac arrest, as well as increasing availability of heart screenings to adolescents throughout Washington. Namely, to volunteer at their many events and help their cause."
When and for how long: I've been an active member since Fall 2013.
Provider contact: At the heart screenings the NOTF holds, I was able to work side by side with talented cardiologists towards a common goal. This has led to many opportunities to see these doctors in action, as well as talk to them about Medical School and the field in general.
Patient & community contact: Once again at the heart screenings, I have worked closely with patients. This involved placing EKG leads, talking to them prior to the doctor's visit, and teaching them CPR while they wait.
Liked best: Through my volunteer work with the NOTF, I have been given the opportunity to work with doctors towards something that we are all passionate about. It is an amazing chance to learn from them, learn from the patients, and give back to the community.
More information: notfuw@uw.edu
Swedish Hospital Edmonds
"Working in the front desk, helping patients, wheel chairing patients."
When and for how long: High School for 1 year
Provider contact: Not very much. Mostly communicated with nurses.
Patient & community contact: Lots of patient interaction.
Liked best: Being in the hospital setting, which allowed me to see the interactions and hospital community. Seeing this actually deterred me away from becoming a doctor because I look more local and close interactions.
More information: Volunteer Coordinator

elderly

Lady of the Sea Hospital: Surgical Department (Los Angeles)
"I would mainly catalog, label, and put away all of the surgical supplies. I would also help the nurses with other work including helping to set up operating rooms for a procedure."
When and for how long: 3 years ago. I was there a couple days a week for a month or so.
Provider contact: I was mostly in contact with the nurses, although I would meet the surgeons when they came. I also met the anesthesiologist and he showed me his equipment, and described the work that he did.
Patient & community contact: They didn't let me contact any of the patients.
Liked best: I thought it was beneficial because I was able to witness all the work that goes on in a surgical department before a surgeon arrives and after he leaves. I saw how much of a team effort it was to provide medical care. The nurses would show me about the equipment and supplies that they use during operations and describe different procedures and their experiences with them.
More information: (985) 632-6401
Global Dental Brigades UW Chapter
"I was in charge of holding charlas where I showed kids how to brush. I also got the chance to shadowing a dentist while she performed dental procedures."
When and for how long: Summer of 2013, 9 days
Provider contact: I shadowed a dentist and got to ask any questions I had.
Patient & community contact: I got to teach them how to brush and take care of there oral hygiene.
Liked best: The best part was when the kids got there brushes and they treated it as if they had just got there hands on the newest piece of technology.
More information: Depends who is president of the club that year
Prep-Step Health Care Scholarship Program
"Help out the nursing staff and NAC staff on the patient floors with patient care such as: cleaning up, providing meals, talking to patients, running messages to the staff, and ambulating patients."
When and for how long: Since August 2014 to currently
Provider contact: I directly get instruction and advice from the healthcare staff. Physicians are relatively rare throughout the day, but I get to see the constant work that the nurses and NAC's do all day.
Patient & community contact: I have the opportunity to speak directly with patients and their family members. Sometimes patients want to be left alone, but sometimes they want more interaction than the nurses can provide with their busy schedules.
Liked best: Getting to spend extended time with the nursing staff and seeing how important treating patients as individual people is to their overall care and experience in the hospital.
More information: 206-386-3879
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Translate for American doctors and dentists to diagnose Vietnamese villagers. Sort medicine into small bags for prescribing and explain to patients how to use."
When and for how long: 2 weeks but trained for 1 year
Provider contact: Become the voice for the doctors and dentists to help the patients understand dental treatments (usually teeth extractions) or diagnosis.
Patient & community contact: To fund the cost of the medicine and supplies we had to host a banquet which required contact with family and businesses to support us. That year we raised 28K in one night.
Liked best: Living in a foreign country for 2 weeks. Making new friends with the student volunteers and health professionals. Stark difference in the appreciation of care from Vietnamese patients vs American patients.
More information: Scott Fung
PCLI
"My role at the cataract eye surgery clinic: PCLI was to shadow optometrists, anesthesiologist, and ophthalmologist. as they prepared patients and went through routine checks before they were ready to go through cataract eye surgeries. Then I met the anesthesiologist that numbed the patients and finally the ophthalmologist performing all the surgeries."
When and for how long: September 2014, for one day.
Provider contact: I shadowed the optometrists as they prepared patients and went through routine checks before they were ready to go through cataract eye surgeries. Then I met the anesthesiologist that numbed the patients and finally the ophthalmologist performing all the surgeries.
Patient & community contact: I followed a patient every step of the way, from the waiting room all the way to the end of her surgery. This allowed me to build a strong connection with her because I had become her friend, holding her hand through every step, and was able to hear about her case through the numerous doctors perspectives and for her side as well, regarding her current eye health condition.
Liked best: The very up close experience of being in my very first surgery setting. I felt like I was a doctor at that moment because of how close I was during the process and the connection I had built with the patients and doctors, I felt as though I was one of them.
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Soliciting in order to raise money for the medical supplies we were to bring on our trip. Contact other health professions to assist us on our trip because they are the only way how we can treat them. The volunteers and leaders who were mainly under-graduates were only able to observe, assist and scribe for the health professionals."
When and for how long: From the beginning of 2014 until late september of the same year.
Provider contact: Scribe for the medical care providers. Some students and I were able to become translators between the patients and the health professions. Medical care providers were also able to teach us diseases/sicknesses the patients had, and how we can tell from our diagnosis on how they have it.
Patient & community contact: Consulting with the villagers. Teaching them on how to take their medication. Teaching them what their sickness is. Teaching patients the basics of public health (Water sanitation, risks of drinking alcohol/smoking obsessively, brushing teeth), in order to prevent exposure to some microbes that can cause harm to us.
Liked best: Going to a different country and using my ability to interact with patients in a medical/clinical setting. Working in a clinic that was student ran. A lot of work and communication was required.
More information: info@vnhealth.org
Sea Mar Community Health Centers
"I perform music for residents and patients of the Sea Mar Community Care Center in White Center."
When and for how long: I have been volunteering since March 2014, taking a break over the summer.
Provider contact: I interact primarily with nurses, nursing assistants, and other care staff.
Patient & community contact: I interact with the patients directly when I play music for them. I try to engage them with songs they like and encourage them to sing along.
Liked best: I love seeing the patients/residents respond to my music and sing along with me. I like getting to know them on an individual basis and seeing them regularly.
More information: http://www.seamar.org/static_pages/volunteer.php
UW Medical center
"I mainly work as a patient escort and transport patients in wheelchairs and sometimes deliver things like specimen."
When and for how long: Started in winter 2014 and have been there for three quarters
Provider contact: I don't have much contact with medical care providers. Most contact I have are with nurses about questions about patient transportation.
Patient & community contact: I have contact with patients and their family during transportation. I would need to confirm with them where they are going and explain how we are going to get there.
Liked best: meeting a lot of different people
More information: 206-598-4218
Swedish Medical Center
"Shadowing a group of Interventional Radiologists. I learned how to tie surgical knots, the OR scrub-in procedure, and the names and uses of various catheters."
When and for how long: June 2011 for two weeks
Provider contact: It was a very great learning experience and I was able to ask a lot of questions. Before every procedure the doctor would teach me what way through the body they would need to take and taught me briefly about fluoroscopy and MRI/X-ray reading.
Patient & community contact: I had little contact with the patients but the contact that I did have was insightful. Since the procedures were mostly out-patient procedures, the appointment where they discussed the procedure and determined the need for the procedure had already occurred.
Liked best: I learned a lot about this area of medicine and got a glimpse into the life of a surgeon. It made me have a greater passion for medicine.
More information: N/A
UWMC volunteer servicces
"Transport patients via wheelchair to appointments. Greet, direct and provide way-finding for patients and visitors. Maintain cleanliness of patient and public waiting areas. Escort/walk patients and visitors to clinic locations. Discharge patients to third floor lobby / UWMC entrance. Deliver flowers, mail, books and magazines to patients. Deliver charts, specimens and supplies throughout medical center All around help"
When and for how long: I've been a volunteer for two years
Provider contact: Contact with medical professionals is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Patient & community contact: Contact with medical professionals and families is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Liked best: As a volunteer at the UWMC your experience is entirely in your control. If you are nervous and alittle shyer you can hang back and just deliver specimens,organize paperwork, and direct patients very low key tasks. Or you can volunteer in a department like one of the ICU's and be very much in the middle of the chaos which can be alittle scarier but also very enlightening and a great learning opportunity. However, either way you're getting to see the hospital's inner workings in and get to soak in how the hospital runs while making a difference because have no doubt the UWMC would not work nearly as efficiently without their volunteers.
Other notes: They do not spoon feed you a volunteer position nor check in with how you are doing as a volunteer. To get started you have to take a lot of initiative and once you're a volunteer if you're unhappy in you're position it's up to you to go check in with volunteer services. They're happy to help once you go in but this isn't a volunteer program that cares if you're having a valuable experience or not. If you like a sense of leadership and community from programs you're involved in I wouldn't recommend this one because it is a very independent type of position at the UWMC.But very convenient in proximity.
More information: 206-598-4218 webpage: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
COPE Health Solutions
"Accountable for answering the patients’ call lights and assisting them with basic care requests on the assigned floor unit (about 25 patients) at Swedish Hopsital. Provide patient care after surgery, including assisting nursing staff with feeding patients, ambulating patients, changing linens, visiting with patients, and wound care."
When and for how long: I started August 2014 and am still in the program
Provider contact: There is a lot of contact with nurses and fewer with physicians, but there is still contact and interaction with physicians when they are rounding and checking-in with patients and conversing with them.
Patient & community contact: There is hands-on care with patients where some tasks are done by yourself or with assistance to nurse. The family of patients are often there during the recovery process.
Liked best: You get a lot of hands-on experience with patient care and interaction with health care team in the hospital.
More information: Poornima Bajwa
UW General Internal Medicine Center
"Stocking examination rooms, sorting faxes, and any miscellaneous projects that may come up."
When and for how long: Fall 2013 to present. 4 hours a week.
Provider contact: The clinic itself is relatively small, so you will always pass by a medical care provider. This clinic also trains resident doctors, which you can shadow.
Patient & community contact: Little to none during volunteer hours as most duties do not require you to be in the presence of a patient. On some rare occasions you may be asked to push a patient and their wheelchair to the lobby.
Liked best: The abundance of shadowing opportunities.
Other notes: This clinic is located at UWMC-Roosevelt, not the main hospital.
More information: UWMC Volunteer services. Volunteer manager: Cynnie Foss
Neighborcare Health
"Community outreach volunteer, did outreach to current medical patients to referred them to our dental clinic. Well child check reminders to infants and childrens."
When and for how long: Was there since 2012
Provider contact: Did not really have much contact with medical care providers. I did shadow the dental providers and have a great relationship with them.
Patient & community contact: Usually not much due to working in the office.
Liked best: Learning about how healthcare works.
More information: 206-461-6935 or info@neighborcare.org
Seattle Union Gospel Mission
"Sterilization, Assistant chair-side with dentist, cleaning, preparing and taking down rooms, maintenance of facility"
When and for how long: November 2014 - present
Provider contact: The volunteers mostly talk to the dental assistant(s) there, but since the facility is so small, talking with dentists are very common as well
Patient & community contact: I have no contact to the patients
Liked best: Being in a dental enviroment and learning about the preliminary skills someone who wants to go into dentistry should have.
More information: ugm.com/volunteer
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Rural Mobile Health Clinic
"I was part of a rural mobile health clinic located in Surin, Thailand as a medical volunteer and some of the tasks were making medicine kits, dressing wounds, measuring blood pressure, etc."
When and for how long: 15 days
Provider contact: I had direct contact with the local doctors and nurses there.
Patient & community contact: I also had close, direct contact with the patients that came to the community clinic through dressing wounds and basic health measurements.
Liked best: It really changed my way of pursuing medicine in that I strived with a less self-centered approach and more humanitarian.
More information: N/A
Oregon Health and Science University Department of Vascular Surgery Summer Research Intern
"Primarily this volunteer opportunity was to conduct chart review studies, but also included clinical studies which involved consenting patients and collecting data from them. Besides conducting research I was also able to shadow the physicians in clinic, in the OR, and on occasion during rounds."
When and for how long: 3 sepearate summers for 3 months each
Provider contact: Because this was a clinical research internship my PI was a physician. The approach at OHSU's Department of Vascula Surgery is very team oriented and so I was able to interact quite a bit with all of the physicians on the team, which includes all of the attendings, the fellows, the residents, the interns, and the medical students. I also was able to interact with the circulation nurse and the scrub nurse down in the OR, as well as the MAs.
Patient & community contact: Through my opportunity I was able to shadow the physicians and attend clinic with them, where I got to interact with patients, and on occasion was also allowed to check for pulses. I interacted with patients in the PACU as well as interacted with patients that I approached to consent for my studies. There were also certain occasions during which I was allowed to shadow the physicians on their rounds.
Liked best: The best things about this experience was how hands on it was and the wide variety of experiences that I got to have was. I was able to do research, as well as shadow and contribute in journal club, it felt like a very comprehensive experience. Though this experiences I feel like I truly got a sense of what a similar career would look like, and I know exactly what I would be getting myself into.
More information: Amber Bruner @ OHSU
Swedish Hospital Edmonds
"Working in the front desk, helping patients, wheel chairing patients."
When and for how long: High School for 1 year
Provider contact: Not very much. Mostly communicated with nurses.
Patient & community contact: Lots of patient interaction.
Liked best: Being in the hospital setting, which allowed me to see the interactions and hospital community. Seeing this actually deterred me away from becoming a doctor because I look more local and close interactions.
More information: Volunteer Coordinator
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"HCASB is a student run organization at UW that organizes healthcare shadowing trips to rural towns in Washington over spring break. It gives pre-health students a chance to understand the unique needs and opportunities of rural medicine, while also increasing their shadowing hours. I was a Team Leader, so I spent Winter quarter contacting different healthcare facilities in Sequim, WA to set up our week of shadowing and where to stay."
When and for how long: Spring Break 2014
Provider contact: I spent four full work days shadowing one on one with several different doctors, including family practice, opthamology, ob/gyn, and geriatric medicine.
Patient & community contact: I got to see healthcare providers working with many different types of patients, from young healthy people, to pregnant women, to elderly people in various states of health. While I did more shadowing than interacting, many patients were friendly and willing to answer questions or talk briefly. We also spent a few hours volunteering at an assisted living facility where we got to participate in the exercise activities with residents.
Liked best: Getting to meet and observe such a good range of medical specialties whom all share the same experience of working in a rural community was most valuable. It gave me insight to what career paths interested me more than others, and allowed me to contrast different perspectives on the benefits and challenges of urban vs. rural medicine.
Other notes: Applications for Team Leader positions close in Fall, and Participant applications close around the start of winter quarter, so its a good idea to start thinking about this beginning of Fall quarter.
More information: hcasb.org
Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute
"I job shadowed many Optometrists working in the medical aspect of optometry. I also sat in on multiple cataract surgeries in the Operating Room."
When and for how long: September 2014, one day
Provider contact: I was able to talk to the doctors and surgeon about what they did for a job. They told me about the pros and cons of their jobs. I was also able to learn a lot about the lifestyles of the doctors outside of the workday.
Patient & community contact: I was able to talk to patients about their symptoms as well as using some of the medical equipment in the office.
Liked best: The best thing about this job shadowing experience was that I was able to see the medical side of optometry that really appeals to me. I was also able to learn about the lifestyle of an optometrist which helped me realize that this is a field that I am very interested in pursuing. The doctors all were able to balance a social and family life outside of their jobs.
More information: Phone number: (360) 748-8632

general/all

UWMC
"My role as a medical volunteer was to interact with many patients and keep the medical environment clean. By greeting people, helping them find their way throughout the center, and aid those who need help, I create an open and friendly environment for UWMC. By wiping down equipment after use, deliver paperwork and charts, and make sure equipment is stocked, I keep the medical environment clean and organized."
When and for how long: Flexible hours (4 hours a week) for one year.
Provider contact: My contact with medical care providers is through delivering charts and paperwork to those who request it. I also assist them with non-patient care duties.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients is to provide them with as much help as I can, including escorting patients to locations, transporting those in wheelchairs, and delivering items to patients, while maintaining a friendly environment.
Liked best: Lots of exposure. If you need a place to learn about the everyday workings of a medical institution, this is the place for you.
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
HealthPoint
"My main role was to make reminder phone calls to patients that need to come in for their annual check up/well child check up/mammogram/etc. I would also aid in various other administrative duties when needed."
When and for how long: July-September 2012
Provider contact: I was introduced to all the medical care providers in the clinic and had the option to shadow but I was not able to do so at the time.
Patient & community contact: I would be given a list of patients of all ages to call. The patients were for the most part from the surrounding community. I spoke to many of the patients on these lists about coming into the clinic for the check up they were due for.
Liked best: This was where I first learned not to take negative comments people may say to heart. Often times patients would not know what I was calling for and think I was trying to sell them a product they were not interested in.
Other notes: Although this opportunity did not necessarily provide me experience with a doctor or nurse directly, I was grateful for the patient contact. I was able to talk to patients and learned about the language barriers that may come between a provider and a patient which was not something I had previously thought about before. Also, HealthPoint provides care for many low income families. It is difficult to provide preventative care when patients don't want to come in to see the doctor whether it is for financial reasons or because they don't understand what their check up is for.
More information: 425-277-1566
University of Washington Medical Center
"As a patient escort, my role was to provide services such as transporting patients in wheelchairs, blood refrigerators, patient test samples, letters, and gifts. In addition I also helped with paperwork by preparing mail, patient info forms, and filing patient charts. It was also common for me to act as a greeter with one or two other volunteer escorts by directing patients to where they need to go or walking them to their destination if possible."
When and for how long: Mostly on weekends, 4 hr a week for three years.
Provider contact: Little to no interaction with medical care providers. Never spoke to a doctor, spoke with some nurses but only to clarify objectives. Often spoke to med technicians and lab technicians on delivery pickup/dropoff.
Patient & community contact: High amount of patient interaction potential as well as with family members. A lot of experience with patient management is possible due to the nature of the escort position. Also worth noting is that you meet a lot of UW students and individuals from the Seattle area who are somewhere in the application process for a health related profession as well as members of the community (often retired) who are passionate about giving to the community.
Liked best: This was my first experience being in an environment where I was given responsibility of providing service to patients. Back in high school I was a really shy and quiet person, but volunteering as an escort forced me to be proactive and initiate conversations with patients and visitors in order to provide excellent service. Patient interaction was also a really eye opening experience. Being able to talk to patients span a wide range of backgrounds as well as handle stressful situations dealing with patient management are definitely skills that can be learned. I think this personal growth, in addition to being able to observe the mechanics of how one of the best hospitals in our nation come together, is really great.
Other notes: While volunteering I often heard others complain that they aren't able to interact with doctors, nurses, PAs, etc. while being an escort. In my opinion those types of experiences are acquired through shadowing. This experience is heavily correlated with how much personal effort a person makes to take on tasks and proactively provide service to patients. In addition, while volunteering I have seen lots of changes happen to the volunteer program. When I started there were many things escorts were able to do, but since then there have been more and more restrictions and cutbacks on the variety of tasks escorts can do. I think it's mostly limited to patient transport and greeting now. It's partially due to this that I chose to retire from volunteering at the UWMC after three years and move onto other volunteering projects.
More information: Volunteer Services: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer/requirements/application
University of Washington Medical Center
"Escort services: transport of patients flower deliveries specimen deliveries"
When and for how long: September 2014- present (4 months)
Provider contact: very limited
Patient & community contact: lots of patient contact when discharging patients and or transporting them
Liked best: Being able to interact with patients is very helpful to discover how I personally am around sick people. It teaches you what it will be like to provide for all types of people with various illnesses, moods, conditions and personalities.
RYGB Animal Mechanisms Lab, Surgical Outcomes Research Center (SORCE)
"As an intern at the RYGB Animal Mechanisms Lab, I cared for the pigs in my lab through daily animal husbandry procedures. After the pigs underwent the bariatric surgery per the lab's protocol, I carried out critical care procedures where I administered controlled substance pain medications to the pigs. I also received certification under the Department of Surgery at the UW to scrub-in to human and animal surgeries. I had to perform a kidney removal from a rat under supervision of a veterinarian in Veterinary Services. After successful completion of the kidney removal, I was then allowed to assist in the bariatric surgery on the pigs in my lab. I was also trained on how to suture following surgery."
When and for how long: I was an intern for a year from 2013-2014
Provider contact: I worked directly with veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary specialists.
Patient & community contact: I worked with animals.
Liked best: I received a lot of hands on experience working with and operating on animals.
Other notes: RYGB is no longer around, however SORCE provides volunteer internships similar to it that I would highly recommend!
More information: http://uwsurgery.org/divisions/surgerycenters/sorce/sorce-intro
Global Dental Brigades UW Chapter
"I was in charge of holding charlas where I showed kids how to brush. I also got the chance to shadowing a dentist while she performed dental procedures."
When and for how long: Summer of 2013, 9 days
Provider contact: I shadowed a dentist and got to ask any questions I had.
Patient & community contact: I got to teach them how to brush and take care of there oral hygiene.
Liked best: The best part was when the kids got there brushes and they treated it as if they had just got there hands on the newest piece of technology.
More information: Depends who is president of the club that year
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Translate for American doctors and dentists to diagnose Vietnamese villagers. Sort medicine into small bags for prescribing and explain to patients how to use."
When and for how long: 2 weeks but trained for 1 year
Provider contact: Become the voice for the doctors and dentists to help the patients understand dental treatments (usually teeth extractions) or diagnosis.
Patient & community contact: To fund the cost of the medicine and supplies we had to host a banquet which required contact with family and businesses to support us. That year we raised 28K in one night.
Liked best: Living in a foreign country for 2 weeks. Making new friends with the student volunteers and health professionals. Stark difference in the appreciation of care from Vietnamese patients vs American patients.
More information: Scott Fung
Harborview
"Worked in the ER, helped RNs and doctors Restocked shelves Cleaned and prepared cots Observed Trauma Care"
When and for how long: Summer of Junior Year
Provider contact: Mostly observation
Patient & community contact: I did not interact with patients unless they requested my assistance
Liked best: I think the best part was observing the health care providers and seeing how a hospital ran from the inside.
Group Health Cooperative - Capitol Hill
"I volunteer in the Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy department, doing maintenance/cleaning duties and shadowing physical therapists, getting exposure and experience for the PT profession."
When and for how long: Spring 2014-Present
Provider contact: Contact with Physical Therapists included shadowing/assisting the PTs when needed where appropriate.
Patient & community contact: Assisted patients with some exercises, sometimes just observed and learned diagnostic/rehabilitative strategies & techniques.
Liked best: Group Health is a welcoming environment, and the PT department at Capitol Hill is filled with great role models for the profession. I have the utmost respect for the physical therapists there, and have enjoyed observing and learning from them. Your volunteer hours are flexible, and they help make the volunteering experience work for your schedule.
More information: Jeannette Flodin, flodin.j@ghc.org (Volunteer Coordinator)
Med Life
"Volunteer for a medical brigade- to bring free medicine/healthcare to underserved, and impoverished communities. I went on two separate occasions- once in Lima, Peru, and then in Tena, Ecuador. Both wonderful experiences, I got to help heakth professionals set up the clinics, sort medicine, translate, and take vitals and mecial history of the patients."
When and for how long: April 2012; December 2013
Provider contact: Side by side, watching them work! Sometimes I would translate from Spanish to English for other students observing.
Patient & community contact: Once again, very hands on, especially when writing down medical history and taking vitals. I got to learn a lot about the way certain people in communities live, by speaking to people who waited in line for care.
Liked best: It simply feels good to help people who need it.
More information: www.medlifeweb.org
Prep Step Health Care Scholar Program at Swedish Medical Center First Hill
"As a prep-step health care scholar I am assigned to a unit in the hospital on a 3 month rotation basis where I assist staff and patients with whatever they need. Duties can include stocking the unit, discharging patients, assisting NAC's and nurses with patient care, taking vitals, rounding on patients, and answering call lights."
When and for how long: I have been a prep-step for a little over 3 months and am currently in the program.
Provider contact: In this position you get a lot of contact with nurses and nursing assistants. The nurses are often willing to let you shadow them while they interact with patients and will answer questions and explain their tasks. Physicians, Physician Assistants, nutritionists, and physical therapists are on the floor less frequently so it is more difficult to talk with them but when they are around, they are often willing to let you watch procedures and ask questions.
Patient & community contact: This program provides lots of opportunity for interaction with patients and their visitors. Through rounding you have the opportunity to go into each patient's room and chat with them and their family if they engage you in conversation. Many of my best experiences I have had occurred through conversations with patients. You also are trained to assist NAC's and nurses with various patient care tasks like walking, taking vitals, feeding, and repositioning.
Liked best: The best part about this experience is being able to make a true difference in a patient's hospital stay. I have had many experiences with patients where I was able to make them feel cared for and comfortable while going through a painful and scary experience. I am also looking forward to experiencing different units in the hospital so I can get a better idea of what area of medicine is right for me.
More information: https://www.l3connect.org/prospective-applicants/cce-faq Program Director: Poornima Bajwa pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
UW Medical Center
"Transporting stable patients, restocking medical supplies, and bringing biological samples to the labs."
When and for how long: Summer 2013-Winter 2014
Provider contact: Being close to the patients allowed me to see how medical care providers interacted with them. This gave me a better sense of how to interact with and care for patients in difficult circumstances. I often observed doctors and nurses navigate through difficult conversations to give their patients hope for the next step of their treatment.
Patient & community contact: Transporting patients meant that I often was able to have conversations with them about life. From these chats I got a better sense of the patient perspective with regards to hospital settings and medicine in general.
Liked best: More often than not, patients were very willing to give me life advice or express their expectations of a good doctor. The experience made me realize that I can often get just as much support from patients as I can give to them.
More information: 206-598-4218
Harborview Medical Center
"As a volunteer in the ER, my main responsibility was to make sure the rooms fully stocked with linens and other medical supplies, cleaning and making beds, as well as other random task the Medical Assistants or Nurses needed."
When and for how long: June 2013-September 2014
Provider contact: The main interactions were with Medical Assistants since they are the ones that we reported to and gave us tasks that needed to be done. I also interacted with nurses, physicians, medical students, pharmacists and EMTs by assisting them with tasks they needed, asking questions about procedures and observing some procedures being done.
Patient & community contact: During our volunteer shift we are encouraged to go around to patients and family to ask how they are doing or if they need anything.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was being completely submerged into a high volume and sometimes hectic ER environment, so you can get a real feel for this type of setting. Through this experience I was able to interact with many different types of health care professionals, all of which were really nice and were open to answering any questions I had. Since it is an ER, I was also able to see many different types of patients as well as a variety of reasons why they came in.
More information: Bridget Snow, bridsnow@uw.edu
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Soliciting in order to raise money for the medical supplies we were to bring on our trip. Contact other health professions to assist us on our trip because they are the only way how we can treat them. The volunteers and leaders who were mainly under-graduates were only able to observe, assist and scribe for the health professionals."
When and for how long: From the beginning of 2014 until late september of the same year.
Provider contact: Scribe for the medical care providers. Some students and I were able to become translators between the patients and the health professions. Medical care providers were also able to teach us diseases/sicknesses the patients had, and how we can tell from our diagnosis on how they have it.
Patient & community contact: Consulting with the villagers. Teaching them on how to take their medication. Teaching them what their sickness is. Teaching patients the basics of public health (Water sanitation, risks of drinking alcohol/smoking obsessively, brushing teeth), in order to prevent exposure to some microbes that can cause harm to us.
Liked best: Going to a different country and using my ability to interact with patients in a medical/clinical setting. Working in a clinic that was student ran. A lot of work and communication was required.
More information: info@vnhealth.org
UWMC Pharmacy
"Re-stock vials, caps, bags and bottles. Filing the written prescriptions in daily bundles. Checking expirations dates (monthly), and identify soon to be outdated medications with expirations stickers."
When and for how long: April 2014, Less than a year
Provider contact: There's a lot of contact with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. They are the ones that assign duties and teach volunteers about their assignment.
Patient & community contact: There is almost no contact with patients for this position.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience is having the opportunity to observe the interaction between pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and patients. Also, volunteering at a pharmacy is insighful because you get to learn and see how a pharmacy operates and what actually takes to deliver the medicine to the patient.
More information: Jennifer Mehlberg
Fellowship Bible Church
"I was part of a Medical Outreach team providing medical relief in the jungles of Africa, specifically Liberia. My role was to screen patients, building medical history and symptom reports allowing our limited team of doctors to see more patients quickly."
When and for how long: June 2013 for 3 weeks
Provider contact: I worked side by side both nurses and doctors to bring direly needed medical supplies and aid to one of the poorest nations in the world. I made the initial contact with patients, separating the severely sick to those that are simply dehydrated but lack even the basic knowledge of health awareness to realize it. This allowed the Doctors to maximize time with the truly sick patients coming through our clinic.
Patient & community contact: I was able to have numerous one-on-one patient interactions seeing anywhere from 20-40 patients in a day. Putting the patient at ease, making them comfortable and then making an initial assessment of the patient needs.
Liked best: The best part of this experience was the patient interactions. I have never been exposed to such poverty, sickness and starvation. Meeting countless Africans every day who live incredibly difficult lives was a humbling experience. Learning how to communicate through cultural gaps was both difficult and rewarding. The singly most influential experience was my encounter with my very first patient, a mother bringing her 8 year old son. The boy was severely emaciated and paralyzed to the point that he could not support his own head nor move anything more than his eyes. He had been this way for 2 months and his body was rejecting any sustenance. With primitive medical diagnostic equipment our doctors were unable to do much more than guess what was causing the symptoms. This boy, Togba, stayed under my care for three days before he finally died. I will never forget Togba, and he is largely the reason for my pursuit of medical school.
UW Medical center
"I mainly work as a patient escort and transport patients in wheelchairs and sometimes deliver things like specimen."
When and for how long: Started in winter 2014 and have been there for three quarters
Provider contact: I don't have much contact with medical care providers. Most contact I have are with nurses about questions about patient transportation.
Patient & community contact: I have contact with patients and their family during transportation. I would need to confirm with them where they are going and explain how we are going to get there.
Liked best: meeting a lot of different people
More information: 206-598-4218
UWMC
"escort, greet patients, check on patients and see if they need anything, stocking, cleaning rooms, etc"
When and for how long: almost 2 years
Provider contact: Lots of opportunities to interact with medical care providers especially the nurses since you are often actively acting as a communication bridge between them and the patients while you are rounding on patients and checking if they are doing well. Many opportunities to see healthcare providers and patients contact too.
Patient & community contact: Talk to patients and family members to try to make sure they are staying in the hospital as comfortable as the conditions allowed. Listen to their medical concerns and notify the medical care providers if necessary.
Liked best: Lots of opportunities to interact with both patients and healthcare providers, and learn to deal with different kind of situations.
More information: Main phone: 206-598-4218 UWMC Room NN-303 Appointments may be necessary. Call for Volunteer Manager office hours.
Atlantis Project
"As an Atlantis Project fellow, I was able to travel to the Canary Islands in Spain and earn over 100 hours of shadowing experience. I spent a week each in 5 different specialties and was able to observe physicians overseas to gain experience in the medical field. I had to learn how to speak Spanish before I went, but was able to learn enough to understand what was going on in the hospitals."
When and for how long: July-August 2014, 5 weeks
Provider contact: I interacted the most with medical care providers. As I was shadowing them, they explained everything that was going on at a given moment and spent time really teaching me their procedures and course of action. I was able to learn from them and watch them give patient care, both in consultations and surgeries.
Patient & community contact: I did not have any physical contact with patients. However, I was able to watch their appointments and have friendly conversation with them while in the room.
Liked best: I was able to travel the world while earning both shadowing experience and volunteer experience in their hospitals. It was an amazing experience that taught me a lot about healthcare as well as myself. I was able to see a lot of different kinds of specialties, which was a great opportunity. I shadowed some that were never even on my radar, but learned that they were fields I was very interested in. Seeing healthcare outside of the US really put a lot of things into perspective for me, and I would recommend exploring these kinds of opportunities while in school.
More information: Meagan Wilson; admissions@atlantis-project.org
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"As a participant I spent four days shadowing medical professionals in the North Valley Hospital in Tonasket, WA. On the fifth day I, along with my three colleagues, presented to four elementary school classrooms about pursuing higher education."
When and for how long: I participated during my junior year (2013). The program takes place during the week of spring break- between winter and spring quarters.
Provider contact: The beauty of HCASB is that because you are in a rural setting, the work load in the hospital isn't as high as in more urban areas and the doctors have more time to stop and converse. I spent a fair amount of time with both ER doctors, the radiologist, and the orthopedic and general surgeon. Not only were we able to see them work, but they took the time out to ensure that we learned something form our time with them.
Patient & community contact: Other than the family that hosted us, I didn't get too much contact with the patients beyond viewing the normal patient-doctor interactions.
Liked best: The variety. Each doctor was able to describe the benefits of their specific position in the hospital. They all also had a range of advice to give, from what to look for in medical schools to how to approach a first time patient.
More information: http://hcasb.org/
Harrison Medical Center
"My role as a volunteer for the hospital was to help guide patients around the hospital, help support staff provide family members with updates while loved ones were in surgery, and general office support such as filing papers, etc. Patient confidentiality is always a crucial component of working in the hospital setting and along with this responsibility it was crucial that I was efficient and knowledgeable at providing patient support."
When and for how long: Summer 2013, 3 months
Provider contact: During this time I had brief interactions with doctors, as most of my responsibilities and duties required more contact with support staff, receptionists, and nurses rather than direct support to the doctors themselves.
Patient & community contact: Most of my interactions on a day to day basis was with patients and their families, making sure they knew where to go for appointments and helping make them feel welcome and comfortable while in our care at the hospital. I was also in direct contact with other community volunteers who helped out in similar positions that I was in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was getting to understand the patient experience from the time they entered the front doors to the time they left. Having had contact with both patients and their families I got a unique insight into how they felt about their hospital experiences and how we could make changes to make patients and family members as comfortable as possible when having to seek medical care through the providers at our local hospital.
More information: harrisonmedical.org
Harborview Medical Center
"Located in the Emergency Department you assist the Medical Assistants and the Nursing staff with restocking and room set up. Work with patients to make their stay more comfortable, as well as transporting patients to various places. General housekeeping responsibilities."
When and for how long: Oct 2013 - Present
Provider contact: Very constant interactions with MA's and Nurses, by assisting them with their needs of stocking and running errands. Minimal contact with physicians and EMTs, mostly just observation of their interactions with patients.
Patient & community contact: Patient contact varies with the flow of the emergency department. Generally the patient contact includes delivering warm blankets and water to patients, occasionally escorting patients to waiting areas and the pharmacy.
Liked best: The best thing about volunteering in the Emergency Department is the wide variety of patients that you get to interact with and observe the doctor patient relationship. Each week you could interact with entirely different patients than you saw the previous week.
More information: hmcvol@u.washington.edu.
UWMC volunteer servicces
"Transport patients via wheelchair to appointments. Greet, direct and provide way-finding for patients and visitors. Maintain cleanliness of patient and public waiting areas. Escort/walk patients and visitors to clinic locations. Discharge patients to third floor lobby / UWMC entrance. Deliver flowers, mail, books and magazines to patients. Deliver charts, specimens and supplies throughout medical center All around help"
When and for how long: I've been a volunteer for two years
Provider contact: Contact with medical professionals is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Patient & community contact: Contact with medical professionals and families is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Liked best: As a volunteer at the UWMC your experience is entirely in your control. If you are nervous and alittle shyer you can hang back and just deliver specimens,organize paperwork, and direct patients very low key tasks. Or you can volunteer in a department like one of the ICU's and be very much in the middle of the chaos which can be alittle scarier but also very enlightening and a great learning opportunity. However, either way you're getting to see the hospital's inner workings in and get to soak in how the hospital runs while making a difference because have no doubt the UWMC would not work nearly as efficiently without their volunteers.
Other notes: They do not spoon feed you a volunteer position nor check in with how you are doing as a volunteer. To get started you have to take a lot of initiative and once you're a volunteer if you're unhappy in you're position it's up to you to go check in with volunteer services. They're happy to help once you go in but this isn't a volunteer program that cares if you're having a valuable experience or not. If you like a sense of leadership and community from programs you're involved in I wouldn't recommend this one because it is a very independent type of position at the UWMC.But very convenient in proximity.
More information: 206-598-4218 webpage: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
University of Washington Medical Center
"As a volunteer on the ICU, my main responsibility is to assist nurses. Here is pretty much what I do every time I volunteer... before entering the unit, I check the family waiting room for hot/cold water, napkins, cups etc to make sure there is enough for the patient families. I usually need to refill hot/cold water. After that I check the amount of coffee left in break room for nurses and make coffee for the nurses. There are usually some carts that need to be cleaned and restocked (each cart takes about 40 min to process), and volunteers need to clean the carts. If there is no more carts to clean, I usually stay near the front desk and assist PSS (answer phone calls, issue parking passes, collect blank patient charts, sending & receiving medicines etc). If I get lucky, there might be a chance to watch some procedures."
When and for how long: Since December 2012 till now
Provider contact: Most of the time I interact with nurses and watch busy physicians passing by. Everybody is very busy in the unit, but people are friendly.
Patient & community contact: Most of the patients I see on the unit are very sick and in a lot of pain. They are exhausted by their illnesses, and many of them are sedated. So there is not much interaction. Family members are very worried and stressed out, but they try to be nice if a volunteer offers help. Patient families typically do not ask for anything, but many are grateful that volunteers offer them warm blankets, water, pillow etc.
Liked best: It gives me an idea of the environment of a medical facility. People, especially those who are sick or stressed out, can be tough to deal with. I reassured myself that I like to "interact" with people like them.
More information: UWMC Volunteer Service
University of Washington Medical Center
"I was volunteering at the Outpatient Pharmacy. The main role of the position is to assist the Pharmacy staff in providing the best patient care service by taking responsibilities such as re-stocking vials, caps, and bottles, archiving prescription files and other pharmacy documents, tracking expiration dates to prevent use of outdated medications, and restocking office supplies at individual pharmacy staff stations to increase work efficiency."
When and for how long: It's been half a year and I'm still volunteering at the same location.
Provider contact: Through this volunteer, you are able to closely interact with the pharmacist manager of the Outpatient Pharmacy. The manager takes charge of assigning most jobs done during the volunteer shift depending on the varying assistance needed within the pharmacy. However, I approach the pharmacy technicians for help in terms of identifying medications by category for returned medications to be shelved.
Patient & community contact: Unfortunately, there is no direct contact with patients/family/community members regarding this position. It is with cooperating with the pharmacy staffs only.
Liked best: It is in part a shadowing experience of how a pharmacy works. You are exposed to a team of pharmacy staffs who you can watch and learn what their main duties are and to talk with them during their lunch breaks. Also, as you assist in tracking outdates and placing back return medications, you are able to familiarize the names of the medications and hone your organizational skills.
More information: fossc@uw.edu (Cynnie Foss, Volunteer Program Manager)
University of Washington Global Medical Brigade
"Global Medical Brigades develops sustainable health initiatives and provides relief where there is limited access to health care. Global Medical Brigades is just one part of the Global Brigades organization. Other programs include dental, public health, water, environmental, architecture, law, business, and microfinance. Together, these programs make up the world's largest student-led development organization and work off each other since there are many overlapping factors of our work. For Global Medical Brigades, students and recruited health professionals travel together to rural villages to provide free health care and conduct health education workshops to empower local leaders."
When and for how long: In the club for one year, travelled to Panama for a medical mission for one week of September 2013. (Now the group goes to Nicaragua)
Provider contact: We interacted with nurses and physicians. Triage is usually comprised of nurses and is the next stop for patients after intake. In triage, patients relay their symptoms and ailments while volunteers administer glucose tests, take blood pressure, weigh patients, etc. Nurses oversee any volunteer/patient conversations, aid in translation, description of symptoms, and vital taking. The consultation station is comprised of doctors who attend to patients after they have been through triage. Doctors consult, diagnose and then prescribe the medication they feel is best suited for each individual patient. If a doctor comes across an ailment they feel the brigade does not have the proper medication or equipment to address, that doctor can refer the patient to the clinic for further treatment provided free of cost by Global Medical Brigades. Students purely observe during this rotation with the opportunity to ask the physician questions about diagnosis and treatment plan.
Patient & community contact: Each brigade consists of different stations (typically intake, triage, physician consultation, pharmacy, and health education). Each volunteer will be rotated through each station, although it is much easier to place Spanish speaking volunteers to certain roles, such as translating and triage. Patients generally wait in line to be seen by students working in triage, then by the doctors in the consultation room. All patients receive prescribed medication and vitamins, in addition to attending health education workshops we put on. Volunteers interact with patients at each level, with more observation when shadowing the consultation. We also rotated through a "break" station and in this gap we played games with the children in the school yard.
Liked best: This was an incredible opportunity to experience the lifestyle and culture of a country very different from the US. I appreciated the exposure to diversity, the mode of rural health care in a third world country, and the role of healthcare in the every day context for Panamanians.
Other notes: There is a fee to participate and it's a competitive application. Apps usually open fall quarter with the trip planned for the end of summer following the application cycle.
More information: uwbrigades@gmail.com
Dental Mission Trips
"Simple assisting jobs such as sterilizing equipment and calling patients because I am not trained to be a dentist and do not yet have the ability to work on patients."
When and for how long: 3 weeks
Provider contact: Some days I would have more contact with the care providers that others. On days I had the most contact with them, I was with them while they were working on a patient and handing them tools. On the days that I had less contact with them, I would be sterilizing instruments or calling patients.
Patient & community contact: Like with the care providers, the amount of contact I had with the patients fluctuated. Depending on the day, I would have short conversations with them, or I would only check them in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was being able to make a difference in the daily lives of the patients and being able to see how grateful they were for something that I often take for granted. It really changed the way I viewed my everyday health care.
More information: dentalmissiontrips@gmail.com
Neighborcare Health
"Community outreach volunteer, did outreach to current medical patients to referred them to our dental clinic. Well child check reminders to infants and childrens."
When and for how long: Was there since 2012
Provider contact: Did not really have much contact with medical care providers. I did shadow the dental providers and have a great relationship with them.
Patient & community contact: Usually not much due to working in the office.
Liked best: Learning about how healthcare works.
More information: 206-461-6935 or info@neighborcare.org
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"My role was to plan the actual trip to Goldendale, and then make sure that things went smoothly once we arrived. Otherwise, my main responsibility was to be professional with all the doctors and clinic staff while we shadowed and with the host family after the work day was over."
When and for how long: I was in Goldendale, Washington for one week during UW's spring break.
Provider contact: It was pretty extensive. I shadowed four doctors, one PA, and one ARNP, so I was able to see a lot of different patients, procedures, and styles of care. In addition, I interacted with several nurses. From all of them, I learned a lot about medical care in rural areas and the struggles that can come with that. They came from a variety of areas, with some having lived in rural areas all their lives and others having chosen to move to a smaller town.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients was varied, usually depending on the healthcare provider that I was shadowing and how talkative the patient was. Some of them would talk to me of their own accord and ask about myself, and we would have conversations that way. Other times, the doctor had me take a closer look at something on the patient, so I would get a more scientific interaction with the patient as the doctor explained something to me.
Liked best: The best thing was the large variety in different types of things that I got to see when I was on this trip. Since everyone I shadowed was general practice, I got to see a lot of different types of people and issues. Watching doctors have to grapple with a wide array of issues looked challenging and exciting.
Other notes: HCASB is a good experience for people looking to shadow in rural areas as a way to see what kind of problems healthcare providers must deal with when they do not have all the resources and culture of a big city.
More information: The people in charge of me for HCASB last year all graduated, so I don't know how to contact them now, unfortunately.
University of Washington Medical Center
"I was an escort at first. I discharged patients and did a lot of deliveries. I was then working as a volunteer in the Emergency Department. My main job was to check in with patients and do whatever the nurses and medical assistants assigned."
When and for how long: 2011 December - 2014 June, two and half years
Provider contact: I worked mainly with the nurses and medical assistants there. I passed on patients' request to them so they could check in with patients. I could also shadow them if there was something I would like to learn. There was once a patient who just had a serious car accident and a group of doctors were doing some procedures, and I was able to watch that.
Patient & community contact: I also communicated with these members a lot since my main job was to check in with them. I rounded in the department and asked everyone whether they were doing okay and if they would like anything. I got to talk to a lot of lonely patients a lot and brought them much comfort.
Liked best: I think I got the chance to talk to and comfort the patients there. Sometimes the Emergency Department was very busy and there were not enough nurses. Patients sometimes felt like they were ignored and I was able to be with them. This was something that nurses or medical assistants were not able to do.
More information: 206-598-4218
Evergreen Hospital
"Discharging patients, various administrative activities, delivering various packages, and escorting visitors."
When and for how long: 2008-2012
Provider contact: You were able to interact with nurses when discharging patients or delivering goods to various wards.
Patient & community contact: There was a lot of patient and visitor contact. The volunteer run information desk was the main location for patients and visitors to learn how to get around the hospital.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience was that the management allows you to think on your feet and problem solve under pressure without giving you direct commands unless the situation demands them.
More information: For more information, call the Volunteer office at 425.899.1994 or email mllong@evergreenhealthcare.org.
Swedish Hospital
"To assist all medical care providers with all types of tasks that promote the efficiency and quality of healthcare towards patients. These tasks can include rounding, transporting and comforting patients, as well as stocking and organizing medical supplies."
When and for how long: 4 hour shifts, past 2 years
Provider contact: I volunteer directly under the supervision and direction of medical care providers. I provide assistance with anything during medical preparations or procedures.
Patient & community contact: I am always checking in on patients during the brief or extended times that they are in the emergency department. My purpose is to provide comfort and information for patients and their families while they wait for procedures or results etc.
Liked best: My favorite experience was with a patient X. I recognized her from a different volunteering facility that I was a part of prior to this position. I had gotten to know her well with that other facility. She was an elderly woman with a severe hearing difficulty, and she too, recognized me when I checked in on her during my rounds at the ER. Her face lit up when she saw my familiar face in the hospital. She has a hard time hearing, and I knew that, so I already had a sense of how to make her feel comfortable and at ease. I spent a good time with her, sitting next to her and holding her hand to provide some comfort in such a busy and overwhelming ER. It really made me happy, and her too, to spend some time together in what can be an upsetting situation: sick and vulnerable at a busy ER.
More information: 425-640-4341
Red Cross
"I was a volunteer at first aid stations at various events in Seattle such as Hempfest and alcoholics anonymous. I helped people who need care, from something as small as a bandaid to having a concussion and needing to go to the hospital. This was a very rewarding experience and the red cross gives you all the training for free."
When and for how long: spring/summer/fall 2014
Provider contact: You work with other volunteers and also AMR first responders, EMTs.
Patient & community contact: You have direct contact with community members and you directly treat/help them when you are at the first aid station or when you are doing rounds around the event.
Liked best: There is a lot of patient contact and a lot of opportunities to learn more about first aid and emergency response.
More information: Brendon.Bottle@redcross.org
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Sacred Heart Medical Center
"I was an Emergency Room volunteer. I assisted with any non-clinical needs of the nurses, or physicians."
When and for how long: For one year, during march 2012-2013.
Provider contact: I shadowed doctors, was taught basic medical procedures, and observed a multitude of procedures with specialities including: trauma surgery, neurosurgery, pediatric ICU, raidology, and emergency medicine.
Patient & community contact: I was free to visit patients when appropriate, to talk to them and assist with non-clincal requests.
Liked best: Getting experience one on one with doctors and nurses. And learning how patients interact in different healtcare environments. I.E. how to make them feel less uncomfortable than they did.
More information: Brenda Johnson
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"I shadowed primary care physicians in Moses Lake from Monday through Thursday, then went to a local high school on Friday morning to talk about the values of higher education."
When and for how long: Spring break, the whole week
Provider contact: I shadowed a different physician each day, and got to chat with them during down times and ask about medicine.
Patient & community contact: We lived with a woman in a trailer park, and learned a lot about the community. We also heard a lot about the issues facing the community from the doctors we shadowed and the staff at the clinic.
Liked best: This experience solidified my desire to go to medical school, and piqued my interest in primary care.
More information: hcasb@uw.edu
COPE Health Solutions
"Responsibilities include assisting nurses and other staff with tasks involved in patient care such as feeding, changing, and bathing patients. Other office type duties are performed as well as simply sitting in and watching various procedures."
When and for how long: June 2014-Current
Provider contact: This internship provides undergraduate students with 3 month rotations on varying units of the hospital to assist medical staff in providing comfort care tasks for the patients. Also there is the opportunity to shadow doctors and other specialists and sit in on varying procedures.
Patient & community contact: One of the best parts of this volunteer opportunity is that there is a significant amount of interaction with patients and their families. Most of the time the interactions are simple and brief, but other times the patients or family are looking for someone to talk to. One of the best parts about this volunteer position has simply been listening to the stories and experiences of those that I have interacted with.
Liked best: Networking with professionals in the field and seeing them at work
More information: Poornima Bajwa email: pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
Evergreen Medical Center
"Volunteered as front desk reception as well as delivered lab specimens and discharging of patients."
When and for how long: 170+ hours
Provider contact: Communicated with nurses as to when to discharge patients and any other possible tasks they needed our help with.
Patient & community contact: Talked to patients and family members regularly, whether it was at the front desk when family member were visiting and had question or if it was during the discharge.
Liked best: Interacting with patients and being able to make a, even if slight, difference at the hospital.
More information: Linda Watson

teenagers

Camp Korey
"Take care of the campers (campers were separated into cabins by age groups) and take whole cabin activity to activity, as well as make sure the campers take their designated medicine at the appropriate times."
When and for how long: Summer 2014, week-long
Provider contact: We mainly checked in with our designated cabin's nurse to make sure the campers have taken their medications and if there was anything to watch out for, but there was a constant direct contact.
Patient & community contact: Family wasn't allowed at the camp other than to drop and pick off their kids. But we oversaw everything the patients (campers) did throughout the week and watched out for their wellbeing. We kept the spirit and energy up as well!
Liked best: Being able to be around children, who are facing life's biggest struggles, and still see them be overjoyed by life's small, happy moments is incredibly heartwarming. It was an exhausting volunteer position, but it was very rewarding seeing how you can make an impact on these kids' lives.
More information: Janelle Kitson: 425-844-3190, jkitson@campkorey.org
Seattle Children's (Observership)
"Shadowing neurosurgeons in the OR."
When and for how long: Fall Quarter 2014
Provider contact: Spoke with surgeons, residents, nurses and other medical assistants.
Patient & community contact: None.
Liked best: Being in the OR was incredible! I was right by the bed as the surgeries took place.
More information: Search for "Observership" on the web site under "Education"; this is an application
Global Dental Brigades UW Chapter
"I was in charge of holding charlas where I showed kids how to brush. I also got the chance to shadowing a dentist while she performed dental procedures."
When and for how long: Summer of 2013, 9 days
Provider contact: I shadowed a dentist and got to ask any questions I had.
Patient & community contact: I got to teach them how to brush and take care of there oral hygiene.
Liked best: The best part was when the kids got there brushes and they treated it as if they had just got there hands on the newest piece of technology.
More information: Depends who is president of the club that year
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Translate for American doctors and dentists to diagnose Vietnamese villagers. Sort medicine into small bags for prescribing and explain to patients how to use."
When and for how long: 2 weeks but trained for 1 year
Provider contact: Become the voice for the doctors and dentists to help the patients understand dental treatments (usually teeth extractions) or diagnosis.
Patient & community contact: To fund the cost of the medicine and supplies we had to host a banquet which required contact with family and businesses to support us. That year we raised 28K in one night.
Liked best: Living in a foreign country for 2 weeks. Making new friends with the student volunteers and health professionals. Stark difference in the appreciation of care from Vietnamese patients vs American patients.
More information: Scott Fung
University of Washington Athletic Department
"I am a sports medicine intern through the University of Washington Athletic department. I shadow different athletic trainers as they treat the athletes. I assist in some rehab and different modalities to help the student athletes in their recovery. I also help by disinfecting and cleaning different pieces of equipment as well as assisting in the set up of onsite first aid and water stations."
When and for how long: From August 2014-present
Provider contact: I work directly under one athletic trainer assigned to one sport and rotate to a different athletic trainer every month or so.
Patient & community contact: I am right beside the athletic trainer as they treat the different patients. I also directly work with the patient by providing them with different treatments such as massage, ice, deep muscle stimulating (DMS), etc.
Liked best: Being able to build a rapport with the athletes that came in for multiple treatments. Working with them directly and building a connection with them by helping them.
More information: Michael Dillon, mldillon@uw.edu
Seattle Children's Hospital
"Child Life volunteer. I was going to the patients' rooms or playing with the patients at the playroom."
When and for how long: Fall, Winter 2012
Provider contact: I need to check in/out with the nurses before and after I played with patients. I was sometimes allowed to stay in the room while doctors were examining the patients.
Patient & community contact: I was directly in contact with the parents/caregivers of the patients. I not only played with the kids and entertaining them, but also was giving some space for the parents so that they can have some free time for themselves.
Liked best: Making kids happy. The best reward was to seeing unhealthy and sometimes unhappy kids smiling and having fun.
More information: Alison Garrison, email: alison.garrison@seattlechildrens.org
Seattle Children's Hospital
"I volunteer in the Child Life department - so my major role is to interact (basically spend time/hang out and play) with patients in need. This may be due to the patient's parents needing a break, or it can be a case where the patient's family is not in the same country. Either way, the goal is to let the patient feel more at home at the hospital by providing them with a better experience during their stay at Seattle Children's. Before and after spending time with patients, I help clean and organize toys for the playroom, as well as prepare and clean up the playroom itself."
When and for how long: Started in Fall of 2013, and still volunteering
Provider contact: Before I visit each patient, I get to speak with the nurse about any problems or concerns I should keep in mind about the patient. The nurse will occasionally visit the room (usually to check vitals) during my stay. Generally, the nurses are quite friendly, and will ask me about what I do, what I am studying and what my future goals are. On 'rare' occasions, a doctor (presumably the surgeon for the patient in some cases), and more often residences, will stop by as well. In these instances, they may also ask about my background - but usually they are concentrating on the patient! (Which does give a good insight on what they do)
Patient & community contact: My interactions with the patients are fairly direct - I get to play games, talk, watch movies and more with them. My contact with the patient's family members (usually their parents) is less frequent. However, most parents at the hospital are nice and enjoy talking with me for a little bit. They do enjoy being able to talk about their experiences and concerns about what is happening with their child - which they may not be able to do too often.
Liked best: For me, the people who I work with in this hospital - be it volunteers, doctors, nurses or receptionists - have really opened me up to an outstanding group of individuals. These people genuinely care about other's well-being; and wanting to go into a medical profession, I feel that that is the most important asset to have. Seattle Children's gives a fantastic example of how a family-friendly hospital should be like.
More information: amy.faris@seattlechildrens.org
Sea Mar Community Health Center
"I was in charge of leading small groups of the migrant children in short lessons and educational activities concerning preventive dental health care techniques, including proper teeth brushing and flossing methods."
When and for how long: For approx. 3 hours during 3 different mobile medical and dental education clinics at a migrant workers camp in Mount Vernon, WA. Summer 2013.
Provider contact: I worked with the dental health care providers while preparing the material I was in charge of presenting the children with. When my presentations were over, I also helped run supplies to the stations where the dental health care providers were.
Patient & community contact: I was able to work closely with the children of the migrant workers to help give them some basic preventive health care education. Several times that day, I also had to translate for one of the other volunteers while they were giving their presentation and running through their activity. I was able to help answer the children's questions, mostly in English and a bit in Spanish to the best of my ability.
Liked best: It was a really unique experience and not something I would have pictured myself doing when I thought about volunteering in the health care field. The mobile clinic not only provided education workshops for the children and adults in this migrant camp, they also provided free dental and medical check ups to the people there and even performed basic procedures on patients (some of which I was able to observe). The work I did may have been centered a little more on education but it was really rewarding to be able to show someone how they can avoid bad oral health so it doesn't come back to bite them in the future. I really enjoyed how hands on and interactive of an experience it was, especially with a population that is typically underserved in the health care field.
More information: Sea Mar CHC - Mount Vernon Dental Clinic 1400 N LaVenture Mount Vernon, Washington 98273
Neighborcare Health
"Community outreach volunteer, did outreach to current medical patients to referred them to our dental clinic. Well child check reminders to infants and childrens."
When and for how long: Was there since 2012
Provider contact: Did not really have much contact with medical care providers. I did shadow the dental providers and have a great relationship with them.
Patient & community contact: Usually not much due to working in the office.
Liked best: Learning about how healthcare works.
More information: 206-461-6935 or info@neighborcare.org
Seattle Children's Hospital in Belleuve
"I had a few different roles at the hospital. I started off as a greeter at the main entrance, making sure to answer that patients and their families feel welcomed and get all the information necessary while at the hospital. I would usually provide information about the facility, such as where the restrooms are, where the vending machines are, where they need to check in for their appointments, what is the closest restaurant or grocery store, how to get on I-5 or 520. My second position was at a Surgery Center desk where I served as a mediator between the medical staff and families of the patients getting the surgical procedure. I was the one to greet them as they walk out of the induction room after their child has been put the sleep, make sure they know around what time the procedure should be done, what are the next steps for them and for their child and to take them either straight to the recovery or to the waiting room. The third position that I am just starting is in the recovery room where I am making sure that recovery rooms are cleaned and set up for the next patient."
When and for how long: I am volunteering there since July 2014
Provider contact: As a volunteer are a surgery center, I had to keep track of the cases and families in the waiting area, recovery and rooms. Drs. needed everything to run smoothly at the waiting room with parents so they can talk to them about the procedure and move to the next case. I had a responsibility of making sure the family is in their assigned waiting room at the time the doctor walks in to talk to them. As the schedules sometimes get very busy, I needed to coordinate with the charge and induction room nurse to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Patient & community contact: Right after the induction room, I was the first person that family and parents would talk to. They would usually be very emotional after seeing their child go to sleep, and I would make sure they are ok. I would let them know how long the procedure is and when the doctor should be coming to talk to them. I would walk them to their waiting room and let them know as soon as they are able to go back to the recovery room and rejoin with their child. In the mean time, for anything they need I would be the first source. I made sure they knew my name and my role and that they are being the most comfortable during their stay.
Liked best: The best thing was to feel that you are making families the most comfortable with their stay in the hospital while their child is getting a procedure. Multiple times I have been thanked for the service as I have contributed to making their stay at the hospital the most pleasant as it can be. Additionally, I got to see how the whole hospital works and how many people and different professions it takes to make the hospital work properly. I as a volunteer had a clear role and felt that I was making a great contribution toward making the families and patients satisfied with the service at Seattle Children's.
More information: Patricia Hovik, patricia.hovik@seattlechildrens.org
Evergreen Hospital
"At the gift shop and the NICU, I didn't interact with any physicians or patients. However, at the Surgical Services desk, I had a nurse supervisor who worked with me. My duties included getting print outs of the surgery schedule for the next day, maintaining the cleanliness of the waiting room, compiling paperwork packets for patients and families to complete before surgery, check in patient family members and obtain their contact information, monitor the progress of the operating room board using online software, answer phone calls, accompany family members to the pre-operation care unit and post-anesthesia care unit, and direct physicians to family members after the surgery is complete."
When and for how long: I was there from 2010-2012, volunteering at the Gift Shop, NICU, and the Surgical Services desk
Provider contact: I worked alongside a nurse supervisor, who helped me with my duties. I also came in contact with surgical nurses who would pick up patients before surgery, as well as post-anesthesia care unit nurses when I went to check on the patients. Finally, I had contact with surgeons when they visited the family members after surgery. If the family member was absent, I would have to write down messages or instructions for the family members from the physician, or I'd have to go pick up a prescription that they'd sent to the pharmacy.
Patient & community contact: I had the most amount of contact with patient family members while they were in the waiting room. There was a wide spectrum of attitudes and behaviors that I saw, which is understandable since it's a very personal experience. Sometimes the family members would talk to me, and sometimes they'd just keep to themselves. At the very least, I always made sure to give them updates whenever the surgery status changed.
Liked best: I got to see a lot of things that I wouldn't have been able to as an outside observer. For instance, I knew next to nothing about the life of surgeons and healthcare policy, but after this experience, I definitely learned a lot. It shocked me that some patients would wait for hours after their scheduled surgery time in the pre-operation unit, because the surgeon had gone overtime on his last surgery. I thought there was a way to prevent that from happening, but it seems like there isn't. Furthermore, I got to see a really wide range of patients come through. Some of them just needed minor surgery (i.e to repair a knee injury), whereas others underwent major operations, like having a brain tumor removed. All of these people went through the Surgical Services desk.
Other notes: In order to work at surgical services, volunteers need to have Level 2 clearance due to exposure to patients. It's definitely a process, and you need to have a good amount of previous volunteer experience at the hospital.
More information: Volunteer office phone number: 425-899-1994
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Washington Oral Health Foundation (WOHF)
"I began by visiting the office once a week to help with office organization of their educational materials. A few months into the volunteering, I took on a larger role and began to make a new presentation for the organization to give to students about oral health. I did the majority of work on this from home on my own computer. In the end, I created 4 presentations for different age-groups that are still being used today by WOHF."
When and for how long: I volunteered there in 2013 for about 8 months.
Provider contact: I consulted a dentist that I job-shadowed for information to include in the presentation material.
Patient & community contact: I did not contact any patients.
Liked best: The best part was that the organization valued my work enough to actually use what I created.
Other notes: I hope to find the time to give the presentation to students soon.
More information: NA-my contact left the organization
Nick of Time Foundation- UW
"To help the Nick of Time Foundation with their mission of increasing awareness of sudden cardiac arrest, as well as increasing availability of heart screenings to adolescents throughout Washington. Namely, to volunteer at their many events and help their cause."
When and for how long: I've been an active member since Fall 2013.
Provider contact: At the heart screenings the NOTF holds, I was able to work side by side with talented cardiologists towards a common goal. This has led to many opportunities to see these doctors in action, as well as talk to them about Medical School and the field in general.
Patient & community contact: Once again at the heart screenings, I have worked closely with patients. This involved placing EKG leads, talking to them prior to the doctor's visit, and teaching them CPR while they wait.
Liked best: Through my volunteer work with the NOTF, I have been given the opportunity to work with doctors towards something that we are all passionate about. It is an amazing chance to learn from them, learn from the patients, and give back to the community.
More information: notfuw@uw.edu
English language learnersfemalehomelessLGBTQQlow incomemalenon-binary genderotherruralveterans

English language learners

UWMC
"My role as a medical volunteer was to interact with many patients and keep the medical environment clean. By greeting people, helping them find their way throughout the center, and aid those who need help, I create an open and friendly environment for UWMC. By wiping down equipment after use, deliver paperwork and charts, and make sure equipment is stocked, I keep the medical environment clean and organized."
When and for how long: Flexible hours (4 hours a week) for one year.
Provider contact: My contact with medical care providers is through delivering charts and paperwork to those who request it. I also assist them with non-patient care duties.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients is to provide them with as much help as I can, including escorting patients to locations, transporting those in wheelchairs, and delivering items to patients, while maintaining a friendly environment.
Liked best: Lots of exposure. If you need a place to learn about the everyday workings of a medical institution, this is the place for you.
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
HealthPoint
"My main role was to make reminder phone calls to patients that need to come in for their annual check up/well child check up/mammogram/etc. I would also aid in various other administrative duties when needed."
When and for how long: July-September 2012
Provider contact: I was introduced to all the medical care providers in the clinic and had the option to shadow but I was not able to do so at the time.
Patient & community contact: I would be given a list of patients of all ages to call. The patients were for the most part from the surrounding community. I spoke to many of the patients on these lists about coming into the clinic for the check up they were due for.
Liked best: This was where I first learned not to take negative comments people may say to heart. Often times patients would not know what I was calling for and think I was trying to sell them a product they were not interested in.
Other notes: Although this opportunity did not necessarily provide me experience with a doctor or nurse directly, I was grateful for the patient contact. I was able to talk to patients and learned about the language barriers that may come between a provider and a patient which was not something I had previously thought about before. Also, HealthPoint provides care for many low income families. It is difficult to provide preventative care when patients don't want to come in to see the doctor whether it is for financial reasons or because they don't understand what their check up is for.
More information: 425-277-1566
University of Washington Medical Center
"As a patient escort, my role was to provide services such as transporting patients in wheelchairs, blood refrigerators, patient test samples, letters, and gifts. In addition I also helped with paperwork by preparing mail, patient info forms, and filing patient charts. It was also common for me to act as a greeter with one or two other volunteer escorts by directing patients to where they need to go or walking them to their destination if possible."
When and for how long: Mostly on weekends, 4 hr a week for three years.
Provider contact: Little to no interaction with medical care providers. Never spoke to a doctor, spoke with some nurses but only to clarify objectives. Often spoke to med technicians and lab technicians on delivery pickup/dropoff.
Patient & community contact: High amount of patient interaction potential as well as with family members. A lot of experience with patient management is possible due to the nature of the escort position. Also worth noting is that you meet a lot of UW students and individuals from the Seattle area who are somewhere in the application process for a health related profession as well as members of the community (often retired) who are passionate about giving to the community.
Liked best: This was my first experience being in an environment where I was given responsibility of providing service to patients. Back in high school I was a really shy and quiet person, but volunteering as an escort forced me to be proactive and initiate conversations with patients and visitors in order to provide excellent service. Patient interaction was also a really eye opening experience. Being able to talk to patients span a wide range of backgrounds as well as handle stressful situations dealing with patient management are definitely skills that can be learned. I think this personal growth, in addition to being able to observe the mechanics of how one of the best hospitals in our nation come together, is really great.
Other notes: While volunteering I often heard others complain that they aren't able to interact with doctors, nurses, PAs, etc. while being an escort. In my opinion those types of experiences are acquired through shadowing. This experience is heavily correlated with how much personal effort a person makes to take on tasks and proactively provide service to patients. In addition, while volunteering I have seen lots of changes happen to the volunteer program. When I started there were many things escorts were able to do, but since then there have been more and more restrictions and cutbacks on the variety of tasks escorts can do. I think it's mostly limited to patient transport and greeting now. It's partially due to this that I chose to retire from volunteering at the UWMC after three years and move onto other volunteering projects.
More information: Volunteer Services: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer/requirements/application
University of Washington Medical Center
"Escort services: transport of patients flower deliveries specimen deliveries"
When and for how long: September 2014- present (4 months)
Provider contact: very limited
Patient & community contact: lots of patient contact when discharging patients and or transporting them
Liked best: Being able to interact with patients is very helpful to discover how I personally am around sick people. It teaches you what it will be like to provide for all types of people with various illnesses, moods, conditions and personalities.
Prep-Step Health Care Scholarship Program
"Help out the nursing staff and NAC staff on the patient floors with patient care such as: cleaning up, providing meals, talking to patients, running messages to the staff, and ambulating patients."
When and for how long: Since August 2014 to currently
Provider contact: I directly get instruction and advice from the healthcare staff. Physicians are relatively rare throughout the day, but I get to see the constant work that the nurses and NAC's do all day.
Patient & community contact: I have the opportunity to speak directly with patients and their family members. Sometimes patients want to be left alone, but sometimes they want more interaction than the nurses can provide with their busy schedules.
Liked best: Getting to spend extended time with the nursing staff and seeing how important treating patients as individual people is to their overall care and experience in the hospital.
More information: 206-386-3879
Group Health Cooperative - Capitol Hill
"I volunteer in the Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy department, doing maintenance/cleaning duties and shadowing physical therapists, getting exposure and experience for the PT profession."
When and for how long: Spring 2014-Present
Provider contact: Contact with Physical Therapists included shadowing/assisting the PTs when needed where appropriate.
Patient & community contact: Assisted patients with some exercises, sometimes just observed and learned diagnostic/rehabilitative strategies & techniques.
Liked best: Group Health is a welcoming environment, and the PT department at Capitol Hill is filled with great role models for the profession. I have the utmost respect for the physical therapists there, and have enjoyed observing and learning from them. Your volunteer hours are flexible, and they help make the volunteering experience work for your schedule.
More information: Jeannette Flodin, flodin.j@ghc.org (Volunteer Coordinator)
Prep Step Health Care Scholar Program at Swedish Medical Center First Hill
"As a prep-step health care scholar I am assigned to a unit in the hospital on a 3 month rotation basis where I assist staff and patients with whatever they need. Duties can include stocking the unit, discharging patients, assisting NAC's and nurses with patient care, taking vitals, rounding on patients, and answering call lights."
When and for how long: I have been a prep-step for a little over 3 months and am currently in the program.
Provider contact: In this position you get a lot of contact with nurses and nursing assistants. The nurses are often willing to let you shadow them while they interact with patients and will answer questions and explain their tasks. Physicians, Physician Assistants, nutritionists, and physical therapists are on the floor less frequently so it is more difficult to talk with them but when they are around, they are often willing to let you watch procedures and ask questions.
Patient & community contact: This program provides lots of opportunity for interaction with patients and their visitors. Through rounding you have the opportunity to go into each patient's room and chat with them and their family if they engage you in conversation. Many of my best experiences I have had occurred through conversations with patients. You also are trained to assist NAC's and nurses with various patient care tasks like walking, taking vitals, feeding, and repositioning.
Liked best: The best part about this experience is being able to make a true difference in a patient's hospital stay. I have had many experiences with patients where I was able to make them feel cared for and comfortable while going through a painful and scary experience. I am also looking forward to experiencing different units in the hospital so I can get a better idea of what area of medicine is right for me.
More information: https://www.l3connect.org/prospective-applicants/cce-faq Program Director: Poornima Bajwa pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
Seattle Children's Hospital
"Child Life volunteer. I was going to the patients' rooms or playing with the patients at the playroom."
When and for how long: Fall, Winter 2012
Provider contact: I need to check in/out with the nurses before and after I played with patients. I was sometimes allowed to stay in the room while doctors were examining the patients.
Patient & community contact: I was directly in contact with the parents/caregivers of the patients. I not only played with the kids and entertaining them, but also was giving some space for the parents so that they can have some free time for themselves.
Liked best: Making kids happy. The best reward was to seeing unhealthy and sometimes unhappy kids smiling and having fun.
More information: Alison Garrison, email: alison.garrison@seattlechildrens.org
Seattle Children's Hospital
"I volunteer in the Child Life department - so my major role is to interact (basically spend time/hang out and play) with patients in need. This may be due to the patient's parents needing a break, or it can be a case where the patient's family is not in the same country. Either way, the goal is to let the patient feel more at home at the hospital by providing them with a better experience during their stay at Seattle Children's. Before and after spending time with patients, I help clean and organize toys for the playroom, as well as prepare and clean up the playroom itself."
When and for how long: Started in Fall of 2013, and still volunteering
Provider contact: Before I visit each patient, I get to speak with the nurse about any problems or concerns I should keep in mind about the patient. The nurse will occasionally visit the room (usually to check vitals) during my stay. Generally, the nurses are quite friendly, and will ask me about what I do, what I am studying and what my future goals are. On 'rare' occasions, a doctor (presumably the surgeon for the patient in some cases), and more often residences, will stop by as well. In these instances, they may also ask about my background - but usually they are concentrating on the patient! (Which does give a good insight on what they do)
Patient & community contact: My interactions with the patients are fairly direct - I get to play games, talk, watch movies and more with them. My contact with the patient's family members (usually their parents) is less frequent. However, most parents at the hospital are nice and enjoy talking with me for a little bit. They do enjoy being able to talk about their experiences and concerns about what is happening with their child - which they may not be able to do too often.
Liked best: For me, the people who I work with in this hospital - be it volunteers, doctors, nurses or receptionists - have really opened me up to an outstanding group of individuals. These people genuinely care about other's well-being; and wanting to go into a medical profession, I feel that that is the most important asset to have. Seattle Children's gives a fantastic example of how a family-friendly hospital should be like.
More information: amy.faris@seattlechildrens.org
Sea Mar Community Health Center
"I was in charge of leading small groups of the migrant children in short lessons and educational activities concerning preventive dental health care techniques, including proper teeth brushing and flossing methods."
When and for how long: For approx. 3 hours during 3 different mobile medical and dental education clinics at a migrant workers camp in Mount Vernon, WA. Summer 2013.
Provider contact: I worked with the dental health care providers while preparing the material I was in charge of presenting the children with. When my presentations were over, I also helped run supplies to the stations where the dental health care providers were.
Patient & community contact: I was able to work closely with the children of the migrant workers to help give them some basic preventive health care education. Several times that day, I also had to translate for one of the other volunteers while they were giving their presentation and running through their activity. I was able to help answer the children's questions, mostly in English and a bit in Spanish to the best of my ability.
Liked best: It was a really unique experience and not something I would have pictured myself doing when I thought about volunteering in the health care field. The mobile clinic not only provided education workshops for the children and adults in this migrant camp, they also provided free dental and medical check ups to the people there and even performed basic procedures on patients (some of which I was able to observe). The work I did may have been centered a little more on education but it was really rewarding to be able to show someone how they can avoid bad oral health so it doesn't come back to bite them in the future. I really enjoyed how hands on and interactive of an experience it was, especially with a population that is typically underserved in the health care field.
More information: Sea Mar CHC - Mount Vernon Dental Clinic 1400 N LaVenture Mount Vernon, Washington 98273
UWMC
"escort, greet patients, check on patients and see if they need anything, stocking, cleaning rooms, etc"
When and for how long: almost 2 years
Provider contact: Lots of opportunities to interact with medical care providers especially the nurses since you are often actively acting as a communication bridge between them and the patients while you are rounding on patients and checking if they are doing well. Many opportunities to see healthcare providers and patients contact too.
Patient & community contact: Talk to patients and family members to try to make sure they are staying in the hospital as comfortable as the conditions allowed. Listen to their medical concerns and notify the medical care providers if necessary.
Liked best: Lots of opportunities to interact with both patients and healthcare providers, and learn to deal with different kind of situations.
More information: Main phone: 206-598-4218 UWMC Room NN-303 Appointments may be necessary. Call for Volunteer Manager office hours.
Harrison Medical Center
"My role as a volunteer for the hospital was to help guide patients around the hospital, help support staff provide family members with updates while loved ones were in surgery, and general office support such as filing papers, etc. Patient confidentiality is always a crucial component of working in the hospital setting and along with this responsibility it was crucial that I was efficient and knowledgeable at providing patient support."
When and for how long: Summer 2013, 3 months
Provider contact: During this time I had brief interactions with doctors, as most of my responsibilities and duties required more contact with support staff, receptionists, and nurses rather than direct support to the doctors themselves.
Patient & community contact: Most of my interactions on a day to day basis was with patients and their families, making sure they knew where to go for appointments and helping make them feel welcome and comfortable while in our care at the hospital. I was also in direct contact with other community volunteers who helped out in similar positions that I was in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was getting to understand the patient experience from the time they entered the front doors to the time they left. Having had contact with both patients and their families I got a unique insight into how they felt about their hospital experiences and how we could make changes to make patients and family members as comfortable as possible when having to seek medical care through the providers at our local hospital.
More information: harrisonmedical.org
Harborview Medical Center
"Located in the Emergency Department you assist the Medical Assistants and the Nursing staff with restocking and room set up. Work with patients to make their stay more comfortable, as well as transporting patients to various places. General housekeeping responsibilities."
When and for how long: Oct 2013 - Present
Provider contact: Very constant interactions with MA's and Nurses, by assisting them with their needs of stocking and running errands. Minimal contact with physicians and EMTs, mostly just observation of their interactions with patients.
Patient & community contact: Patient contact varies with the flow of the emergency department. Generally the patient contact includes delivering warm blankets and water to patients, occasionally escorting patients to waiting areas and the pharmacy.
Liked best: The best thing about volunteering in the Emergency Department is the wide variety of patients that you get to interact with and observe the doctor patient relationship. Each week you could interact with entirely different patients than you saw the previous week.
More information: hmcvol@u.washington.edu.
UWMC volunteer servicces
"Transport patients via wheelchair to appointments. Greet, direct and provide way-finding for patients and visitors. Maintain cleanliness of patient and public waiting areas. Escort/walk patients and visitors to clinic locations. Discharge patients to third floor lobby / UWMC entrance. Deliver flowers, mail, books and magazines to patients. Deliver charts, specimens and supplies throughout medical center All around help"
When and for how long: I've been a volunteer for two years
Provider contact: Contact with medical professionals is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Patient & community contact: Contact with medical professionals and families is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Liked best: As a volunteer at the UWMC your experience is entirely in your control. If you are nervous and alittle shyer you can hang back and just deliver specimens,organize paperwork, and direct patients very low key tasks. Or you can volunteer in a department like one of the ICU's and be very much in the middle of the chaos which can be alittle scarier but also very enlightening and a great learning opportunity. However, either way you're getting to see the hospital's inner workings in and get to soak in how the hospital runs while making a difference because have no doubt the UWMC would not work nearly as efficiently without their volunteers.
Other notes: They do not spoon feed you a volunteer position nor check in with how you are doing as a volunteer. To get started you have to take a lot of initiative and once you're a volunteer if you're unhappy in you're position it's up to you to go check in with volunteer services. They're happy to help once you go in but this isn't a volunteer program that cares if you're having a valuable experience or not. If you like a sense of leadership and community from programs you're involved in I wouldn't recommend this one because it is a very independent type of position at the UWMC.But very convenient in proximity.
More information: 206-598-4218 webpage: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
COPE Health Solutions
"Accountable for answering the patients’ call lights and assisting them with basic care requests on the assigned floor unit (about 25 patients) at Swedish Hopsital. Provide patient care after surgery, including assisting nursing staff with feeding patients, ambulating patients, changing linens, visiting with patients, and wound care."
When and for how long: I started August 2014 and am still in the program
Provider contact: There is a lot of contact with nurses and fewer with physicians, but there is still contact and interaction with physicians when they are rounding and checking-in with patients and conversing with them.
Patient & community contact: There is hands-on care with patients where some tasks are done by yourself or with assistance to nurse. The family of patients are often there during the recovery process.
Liked best: You get a lot of hands-on experience with patient care and interaction with health care team in the hospital.
More information: Poornima Bajwa
Neighborcare Health
"Community outreach volunteer, did outreach to current medical patients to referred them to our dental clinic. Well child check reminders to infants and childrens."
When and for how long: Was there since 2012
Provider contact: Did not really have much contact with medical care providers. I did shadow the dental providers and have a great relationship with them.
Patient & community contact: Usually not much due to working in the office.
Liked best: Learning about how healthcare works.
More information: 206-461-6935 or info@neighborcare.org
Seattle Children's Hospital in Belleuve
"I had a few different roles at the hospital. I started off as a greeter at the main entrance, making sure to answer that patients and their families feel welcomed and get all the information necessary while at the hospital. I would usually provide information about the facility, such as where the restrooms are, where the vending machines are, where they need to check in for their appointments, what is the closest restaurant or grocery store, how to get on I-5 or 520. My second position was at a Surgery Center desk where I served as a mediator between the medical staff and families of the patients getting the surgical procedure. I was the one to greet them as they walk out of the induction room after their child has been put the sleep, make sure they know around what time the procedure should be done, what are the next steps for them and for their child and to take them either straight to the recovery or to the waiting room. The third position that I am just starting is in the recovery room where I am making sure that recovery rooms are cleaned and set up for the next patient."
When and for how long: I am volunteering there since July 2014
Provider contact: As a volunteer are a surgery center, I had to keep track of the cases and families in the waiting area, recovery and rooms. Drs. needed everything to run smoothly at the waiting room with parents so they can talk to them about the procedure and move to the next case. I had a responsibility of making sure the family is in their assigned waiting room at the time the doctor walks in to talk to them. As the schedules sometimes get very busy, I needed to coordinate with the charge and induction room nurse to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Patient & community contact: Right after the induction room, I was the first person that family and parents would talk to. They would usually be very emotional after seeing their child go to sleep, and I would make sure they are ok. I would let them know how long the procedure is and when the doctor should be coming to talk to them. I would walk them to their waiting room and let them know as soon as they are able to go back to the recovery room and rejoin with their child. In the mean time, for anything they need I would be the first source. I made sure they knew my name and my role and that they are being the most comfortable during their stay.
Liked best: The best thing was to feel that you are making families the most comfortable with their stay in the hospital while their child is getting a procedure. Multiple times I have been thanked for the service as I have contributed to making their stay at the hospital the most pleasant as it can be. Additionally, I got to see how the whole hospital works and how many people and different professions it takes to make the hospital work properly. I as a volunteer had a clear role and felt that I was making a great contribution toward making the families and patients satisfied with the service at Seattle Children's.
More information: Patricia Hovik, patricia.hovik@seattlechildrens.org
Evergreen Hospital
"Discharging patients, various administrative activities, delivering various packages, and escorting visitors."
When and for how long: 2008-2012
Provider contact: You were able to interact with nurses when discharging patients or delivering goods to various wards.
Patient & community contact: There was a lot of patient and visitor contact. The volunteer run information desk was the main location for patients and visitors to learn how to get around the hospital.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience was that the management allows you to think on your feet and problem solve under pressure without giving you direct commands unless the situation demands them.
More information: For more information, call the Volunteer office at 425.899.1994 or email mllong@evergreenhealthcare.org.
Swedish Hospital
"To assist all medical care providers with all types of tasks that promote the efficiency and quality of healthcare towards patients. These tasks can include rounding, transporting and comforting patients, as well as stocking and organizing medical supplies."
When and for how long: 4 hour shifts, past 2 years
Provider contact: I volunteer directly under the supervision and direction of medical care providers. I provide assistance with anything during medical preparations or procedures.
Patient & community contact: I am always checking in on patients during the brief or extended times that they are in the emergency department. My purpose is to provide comfort and information for patients and their families while they wait for procedures or results etc.
Liked best: My favorite experience was with a patient X. I recognized her from a different volunteering facility that I was a part of prior to this position. I had gotten to know her well with that other facility. She was an elderly woman with a severe hearing difficulty, and she too, recognized me when I checked in on her during my rounds at the ER. Her face lit up when she saw my familiar face in the hospital. She has a hard time hearing, and I knew that, so I already had a sense of how to make her feel comfortable and at ease. I spent a good time with her, sitting next to her and holding her hand to provide some comfort in such a busy and overwhelming ER. It really made me happy, and her too, to spend some time together in what can be an upsetting situation: sick and vulnerable at a busy ER.
More information: 425-640-4341
Red Cross
"I was a volunteer at first aid stations at various events in Seattle such as Hempfest and alcoholics anonymous. I helped people who need care, from something as small as a bandaid to having a concussion and needing to go to the hospital. This was a very rewarding experience and the red cross gives you all the training for free."
When and for how long: spring/summer/fall 2014
Provider contact: You work with other volunteers and also AMR first responders, EMTs.
Patient & community contact: You have direct contact with community members and you directly treat/help them when you are at the first aid station or when you are doing rounds around the event.
Liked best: There is a lot of patient contact and a lot of opportunities to learn more about first aid and emergency response.
More information: Brendon.Bottle@redcross.org
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
COPE Health Solutions
"Responsibilities include assisting nurses and other staff with tasks involved in patient care such as feeding, changing, and bathing patients. Other office type duties are performed as well as simply sitting in and watching various procedures."
When and for how long: June 2014-Current
Provider contact: This internship provides undergraduate students with 3 month rotations on varying units of the hospital to assist medical staff in providing comfort care tasks for the patients. Also there is the opportunity to shadow doctors and other specialists and sit in on varying procedures.
Patient & community contact: One of the best parts of this volunteer opportunity is that there is a significant amount of interaction with patients and their families. Most of the time the interactions are simple and brief, but other times the patients or family are looking for someone to talk to. One of the best parts about this volunteer position has simply been listening to the stories and experiences of those that I have interacted with.
Liked best: Networking with professionals in the field and seeing them at work
More information: Poornima Bajwa email: pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
Swedish Hospital Edmonds
"Working in the front desk, helping patients, wheel chairing patients."
When and for how long: High School for 1 year
Provider contact: Not very much. Mostly communicated with nurses.
Patient & community contact: Lots of patient interaction.
Liked best: Being in the hospital setting, which allowed me to see the interactions and hospital community. Seeing this actually deterred me away from becoming a doctor because I look more local and close interactions.
More information: Volunteer Coordinator

female

UWMC
"My role as a medical volunteer was to interact with many patients and keep the medical environment clean. By greeting people, helping them find their way throughout the center, and aid those who need help, I create an open and friendly environment for UWMC. By wiping down equipment after use, deliver paperwork and charts, and make sure equipment is stocked, I keep the medical environment clean and organized."
When and for how long: Flexible hours (4 hours a week) for one year.
Provider contact: My contact with medical care providers is through delivering charts and paperwork to those who request it. I also assist them with non-patient care duties.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients is to provide them with as much help as I can, including escorting patients to locations, transporting those in wheelchairs, and delivering items to patients, while maintaining a friendly environment.
Liked best: Lots of exposure. If you need a place to learn about the everyday workings of a medical institution, this is the place for you.
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
HealthPoint
"My main role was to make reminder phone calls to patients that need to come in for their annual check up/well child check up/mammogram/etc. I would also aid in various other administrative duties when needed."
When and for how long: July-September 2012
Provider contact: I was introduced to all the medical care providers in the clinic and had the option to shadow but I was not able to do so at the time.
Patient & community contact: I would be given a list of patients of all ages to call. The patients were for the most part from the surrounding community. I spoke to many of the patients on these lists about coming into the clinic for the check up they were due for.
Liked best: This was where I first learned not to take negative comments people may say to heart. Often times patients would not know what I was calling for and think I was trying to sell them a product they were not interested in.
Other notes: Although this opportunity did not necessarily provide me experience with a doctor or nurse directly, I was grateful for the patient contact. I was able to talk to patients and learned about the language barriers that may come between a provider and a patient which was not something I had previously thought about before. Also, HealthPoint provides care for many low income families. It is difficult to provide preventative care when patients don't want to come in to see the doctor whether it is for financial reasons or because they don't understand what their check up is for.
More information: 425-277-1566
Lady of the Sea Hospital: Surgical Department (Los Angeles)
"I would mainly catalog, label, and put away all of the surgical supplies. I would also help the nurses with other work including helping to set up operating rooms for a procedure."
When and for how long: 3 years ago. I was there a couple days a week for a month or so.
Provider contact: I was mostly in contact with the nurses, although I would meet the surgeons when they came. I also met the anesthesiologist and he showed me his equipment, and described the work that he did.
Patient & community contact: They didn't let me contact any of the patients.
Liked best: I thought it was beneficial because I was able to witness all the work that goes on in a surgical department before a surgeon arrives and after he leaves. I saw how much of a team effort it was to provide medical care. The nurses would show me about the equipment and supplies that they use during operations and describe different procedures and their experiences with them.
More information: (985) 632-6401
Camp Korey
"Take care of the campers (campers were separated into cabins by age groups) and take whole cabin activity to activity, as well as make sure the campers take their designated medicine at the appropriate times."
When and for how long: Summer 2014, week-long
Provider contact: We mainly checked in with our designated cabin's nurse to make sure the campers have taken their medications and if there was anything to watch out for, but there was a constant direct contact.
Patient & community contact: Family wasn't allowed at the camp other than to drop and pick off their kids. But we oversaw everything the patients (campers) did throughout the week and watched out for their wellbeing. We kept the spirit and energy up as well!
Liked best: Being able to be around children, who are facing life's biggest struggles, and still see them be overjoyed by life's small, happy moments is incredibly heartwarming. It was an exhausting volunteer position, but it was very rewarding seeing how you can make an impact on these kids' lives.
More information: Janelle Kitson: 425-844-3190, jkitson@campkorey.org
University of Washington Medical Center
"Escort services: transport of patients flower deliveries specimen deliveries"
When and for how long: September 2014- present (4 months)
Provider contact: very limited
Patient & community contact: lots of patient contact when discharging patients and or transporting them
Liked best: Being able to interact with patients is very helpful to discover how I personally am around sick people. It teaches you what it will be like to provide for all types of people with various illnesses, moods, conditions and personalities.
Seattle Children's (Observership)
"This program guaranteed 20 shadowing hours over the course of a quarter. I was paired with a neurosurgeon and was able to shadow him in the operating room and during his clinic times."
When and for how long: Fall 2013, one quarter
Provider contact: I had direct contact with the attending physician, the fellows, the residents, the nurses, and the technicians.
Patient & community contact: I had very limited direct interaction with patients or family members, but I was able to observe their interactions with the physician.
Liked best: This experience gave me great insight into "the day in the life" of a physician. I learned a lot about how a doctor interacts with patients and coworkers and how a hospital is organized and run.
More information: search for "Observership", within the "Education" section of the web site; this is an application
Global Dental Brigades UW Chapter
"I was in charge of holding charlas where I showed kids how to brush. I also got the chance to shadowing a dentist while she performed dental procedures."
When and for how long: Summer of 2013, 9 days
Provider contact: I shadowed a dentist and got to ask any questions I had.
Patient & community contact: I got to teach them how to brush and take care of there oral hygiene.
Liked best: The best part was when the kids got there brushes and they treated it as if they had just got there hands on the newest piece of technology.
More information: Depends who is president of the club that year
Prep-Step Health Care Scholarship Program
"Help out the nursing staff and NAC staff on the patient floors with patient care such as: cleaning up, providing meals, talking to patients, running messages to the staff, and ambulating patients."
When and for how long: Since August 2014 to currently
Provider contact: I directly get instruction and advice from the healthcare staff. Physicians are relatively rare throughout the day, but I get to see the constant work that the nurses and NAC's do all day.
Patient & community contact: I have the opportunity to speak directly with patients and their family members. Sometimes patients want to be left alone, but sometimes they want more interaction than the nurses can provide with their busy schedules.
Liked best: Getting to spend extended time with the nursing staff and seeing how important treating patients as individual people is to their overall care and experience in the hospital.
More information: 206-386-3879
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Translate for American doctors and dentists to diagnose Vietnamese villagers. Sort medicine into small bags for prescribing and explain to patients how to use."
When and for how long: 2 weeks but trained for 1 year
Provider contact: Become the voice for the doctors and dentists to help the patients understand dental treatments (usually teeth extractions) or diagnosis.
Patient & community contact: To fund the cost of the medicine and supplies we had to host a banquet which required contact with family and businesses to support us. That year we raised 28K in one night.
Liked best: Living in a foreign country for 2 weeks. Making new friends with the student volunteers and health professionals. Stark difference in the appreciation of care from Vietnamese patients vs American patients.
More information: Scott Fung
Harborview
"Worked in the ER, helped RNs and doctors Restocked shelves Cleaned and prepared cots Observed Trauma Care"
When and for how long: Summer of Junior Year
Provider contact: Mostly observation
Patient & community contact: I did not interact with patients unless they requested my assistance
Liked best: I think the best part was observing the health care providers and seeing how a hospital ran from the inside.
Group Health Cooperative - Capitol Hill
"I volunteer in the Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy department, doing maintenance/cleaning duties and shadowing physical therapists, getting exposure and experience for the PT profession."
When and for how long: Spring 2014-Present
Provider contact: Contact with Physical Therapists included shadowing/assisting the PTs when needed where appropriate.
Patient & community contact: Assisted patients with some exercises, sometimes just observed and learned diagnostic/rehabilitative strategies & techniques.
Liked best: Group Health is a welcoming environment, and the PT department at Capitol Hill is filled with great role models for the profession. I have the utmost respect for the physical therapists there, and have enjoyed observing and learning from them. Your volunteer hours are flexible, and they help make the volunteering experience work for your schedule.
More information: Jeannette Flodin, flodin.j@ghc.org (Volunteer Coordinator)
Med Life
"Volunteer for a medical brigade- to bring free medicine/healthcare to underserved, and impoverished communities. I went on two separate occasions- once in Lima, Peru, and then in Tena, Ecuador. Both wonderful experiences, I got to help heakth professionals set up the clinics, sort medicine, translate, and take vitals and mecial history of the patients."
When and for how long: April 2012; December 2013
Provider contact: Side by side, watching them work! Sometimes I would translate from Spanish to English for other students observing.
Patient & community contact: Once again, very hands on, especially when writing down medical history and taking vitals. I got to learn a lot about the way certain people in communities live, by speaking to people who waited in line for care.
Liked best: It simply feels good to help people who need it.
More information: www.medlifeweb.org
PCLI
"My role at the cataract eye surgery clinic: PCLI was to shadow optometrists, anesthesiologist, and ophthalmologist. as they prepared patients and went through routine checks before they were ready to go through cataract eye surgeries. Then I met the anesthesiologist that numbed the patients and finally the ophthalmologist performing all the surgeries."
When and for how long: September 2014, for one day.
Provider contact: I shadowed the optometrists as they prepared patients and went through routine checks before they were ready to go through cataract eye surgeries. Then I met the anesthesiologist that numbed the patients and finally the ophthalmologist performing all the surgeries.
Patient & community contact: I followed a patient every step of the way, from the waiting room all the way to the end of her surgery. This allowed me to build a strong connection with her because I had become her friend, holding her hand through every step, and was able to hear about her case through the numerous doctors perspectives and for her side as well, regarding her current eye health condition.
Liked best: The very up close experience of being in my very first surgery setting. I felt like I was a doctor at that moment because of how close I was during the process and the connection I had built with the patients and doctors, I felt as though I was one of them.
University of Washington Athletic Department
"I am a sports medicine intern through the University of Washington Athletic department. I shadow different athletic trainers as they treat the athletes. I assist in some rehab and different modalities to help the student athletes in their recovery. I also help by disinfecting and cleaning different pieces of equipment as well as assisting in the set up of onsite first aid and water stations."
When and for how long: From August 2014-present
Provider contact: I work directly under one athletic trainer assigned to one sport and rotate to a different athletic trainer every month or so.
Patient & community contact: I am right beside the athletic trainer as they treat the different patients. I also directly work with the patient by providing them with different treatments such as massage, ice, deep muscle stimulating (DMS), etc.
Liked best: Being able to build a rapport with the athletes that came in for multiple treatments. Working with them directly and building a connection with them by helping them.
More information: Michael Dillon, mldillon@uw.edu
Prep Step Health Care Scholar Program at Swedish Medical Center First Hill
"As a prep-step health care scholar I am assigned to a unit in the hospital on a 3 month rotation basis where I assist staff and patients with whatever they need. Duties can include stocking the unit, discharging patients, assisting NAC's and nurses with patient care, taking vitals, rounding on patients, and answering call lights."
When and for how long: I have been a prep-step for a little over 3 months and am currently in the program.
Provider contact: In this position you get a lot of contact with nurses and nursing assistants. The nurses are often willing to let you shadow them while they interact with patients and will answer questions and explain their tasks. Physicians, Physician Assistants, nutritionists, and physical therapists are on the floor less frequently so it is more difficult to talk with them but when they are around, they are often willing to let you watch procedures and ask questions.
Patient & community contact: This program provides lots of opportunity for interaction with patients and their visitors. Through rounding you have the opportunity to go into each patient's room and chat with them and their family if they engage you in conversation. Many of my best experiences I have had occurred through conversations with patients. You also are trained to assist NAC's and nurses with various patient care tasks like walking, taking vitals, feeding, and repositioning.
Liked best: The best part about this experience is being able to make a true difference in a patient's hospital stay. I have had many experiences with patients where I was able to make them feel cared for and comfortable while going through a painful and scary experience. I am also looking forward to experiencing different units in the hospital so I can get a better idea of what area of medicine is right for me.
More information: https://www.l3connect.org/prospective-applicants/cce-faq Program Director: Poornima Bajwa pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
UW Medical Center
"Transporting stable patients, restocking medical supplies, and bringing biological samples to the labs."
When and for how long: Summer 2013-Winter 2014
Provider contact: Being close to the patients allowed me to see how medical care providers interacted with them. This gave me a better sense of how to interact with and care for patients in difficult circumstances. I often observed doctors and nurses navigate through difficult conversations to give their patients hope for the next step of their treatment.
Patient & community contact: Transporting patients meant that I often was able to have conversations with them about life. From these chats I got a better sense of the patient perspective with regards to hospital settings and medicine in general.
Liked best: More often than not, patients were very willing to give me life advice or express their expectations of a good doctor. The experience made me realize that I can often get just as much support from patients as I can give to them.
More information: 206-598-4218
Seattle Children's Hospital
"Child Life volunteer. I was going to the patients' rooms or playing with the patients at the playroom."
When and for how long: Fall, Winter 2012
Provider contact: I need to check in/out with the nurses before and after I played with patients. I was sometimes allowed to stay in the room while doctors were examining the patients.
Patient & community contact: I was directly in contact with the parents/caregivers of the patients. I not only played with the kids and entertaining them, but also was giving some space for the parents so that they can have some free time for themselves.
Liked best: Making kids happy. The best reward was to seeing unhealthy and sometimes unhappy kids smiling and having fun.
More information: Alison Garrison, email: alison.garrison@seattlechildrens.org
University of Washington Medical Center
"Volunteer patient escort: escorting patients around the hospital via wheelchairs or walking Volunteer in ICU: cleaning/stocking medical supplies, retrieving items for patients, clerical duties (answering the phone, filing paperwork)"
When and for how long: 2011-2013
Provider contact: Opportunity to observe procedures performed by physicians
Patient & community contact: Reading to and/or feeding patients, escorting families and patients in and out of the hospital
Liked best: Interacting with patients, observing the harsh realities, and also the beauty of medicine
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
Seattle Children's Hospital
"I volunteer in the Child Life department - so my major role is to interact (basically spend time/hang out and play) with patients in need. This may be due to the patient's parents needing a break, or it can be a case where the patient's family is not in the same country. Either way, the goal is to let the patient feel more at home at the hospital by providing them with a better experience during their stay at Seattle Children's. Before and after spending time with patients, I help clean and organize toys for the playroom, as well as prepare and clean up the playroom itself."
When and for how long: Started in Fall of 2013, and still volunteering
Provider contact: Before I visit each patient, I get to speak with the nurse about any problems or concerns I should keep in mind about the patient. The nurse will occasionally visit the room (usually to check vitals) during my stay. Generally, the nurses are quite friendly, and will ask me about what I do, what I am studying and what my future goals are. On 'rare' occasions, a doctor (presumably the surgeon for the patient in some cases), and more often residences, will stop by as well. In these instances, they may also ask about my background - but usually they are concentrating on the patient! (Which does give a good insight on what they do)
Patient & community contact: My interactions with the patients are fairly direct - I get to play games, talk, watch movies and more with them. My contact with the patient's family members (usually their parents) is less frequent. However, most parents at the hospital are nice and enjoy talking with me for a little bit. They do enjoy being able to talk about their experiences and concerns about what is happening with their child - which they may not be able to do too often.
Liked best: For me, the people who I work with in this hospital - be it volunteers, doctors, nurses or receptionists - have really opened me up to an outstanding group of individuals. These people genuinely care about other's well-being; and wanting to go into a medical profession, I feel that that is the most important asset to have. Seattle Children's gives a fantastic example of how a family-friendly hospital should be like.
More information: amy.faris@seattlechildrens.org
Little Bit Theraputic Riding Center
"Interact with horses and children with disabilities and their parents."
When and for how long: High school 4 years and college
Provider contact: Physical therapists control the class and give instructions.
Patient & community contact: Talk to parents before and after the class, help the kids ride and play games with them.
Liked best: Seeing the kids have fun and seeing the differences from week to week
More information: (425) 882-1554
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Soliciting in order to raise money for the medical supplies we were to bring on our trip. Contact other health professions to assist us on our trip because they are the only way how we can treat them. The volunteers and leaders who were mainly under-graduates were only able to observe, assist and scribe for the health professionals."
When and for how long: From the beginning of 2014 until late september of the same year.
Provider contact: Scribe for the medical care providers. Some students and I were able to become translators between the patients and the health professions. Medical care providers were also able to teach us diseases/sicknesses the patients had, and how we can tell from our diagnosis on how they have it.
Patient & community contact: Consulting with the villagers. Teaching them on how to take their medication. Teaching them what their sickness is. Teaching patients the basics of public health (Water sanitation, risks of drinking alcohol/smoking obsessively, brushing teeth), in order to prevent exposure to some microbes that can cause harm to us.
Liked best: Going to a different country and using my ability to interact with patients in a medical/clinical setting. Working in a clinic that was student ran. A lot of work and communication was required.
More information: info@vnhealth.org
Sea Mar Community Health Centers
"I perform music for residents and patients of the Sea Mar Community Care Center in White Center."
When and for how long: I have been volunteering since March 2014, taking a break over the summer.
Provider contact: I interact primarily with nurses, nursing assistants, and other care staff.
Patient & community contact: I interact with the patients directly when I play music for them. I try to engage them with songs they like and encourage them to sing along.
Liked best: I love seeing the patients/residents respond to my music and sing along with me. I like getting to know them on an individual basis and seeing them regularly.
More information: http://www.seamar.org/static_pages/volunteer.php
UWMC Pharmacy
"Re-stock vials, caps, bags and bottles. Filing the written prescriptions in daily bundles. Checking expirations dates (monthly), and identify soon to be outdated medications with expirations stickers."
When and for how long: April 2014, Less than a year
Provider contact: There's a lot of contact with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. They are the ones that assign duties and teach volunteers about their assignment.
Patient & community contact: There is almost no contact with patients for this position.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience is having the opportunity to observe the interaction between pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and patients. Also, volunteering at a pharmacy is insighful because you get to learn and see how a pharmacy operates and what actually takes to deliver the medicine to the patient.
More information: Jennifer Mehlberg
Sea Mar Community Health Center
"I was in charge of leading small groups of the migrant children in short lessons and educational activities concerning preventive dental health care techniques, including proper teeth brushing and flossing methods."
When and for how long: For approx. 3 hours during 3 different mobile medical and dental education clinics at a migrant workers camp in Mount Vernon, WA. Summer 2013.
Provider contact: I worked with the dental health care providers while preparing the material I was in charge of presenting the children with. When my presentations were over, I also helped run supplies to the stations where the dental health care providers were.
Patient & community contact: I was able to work closely with the children of the migrant workers to help give them some basic preventive health care education. Several times that day, I also had to translate for one of the other volunteers while they were giving their presentation and running through their activity. I was able to help answer the children's questions, mostly in English and a bit in Spanish to the best of my ability.
Liked best: It was a really unique experience and not something I would have pictured myself doing when I thought about volunteering in the health care field. The mobile clinic not only provided education workshops for the children and adults in this migrant camp, they also provided free dental and medical check ups to the people there and even performed basic procedures on patients (some of which I was able to observe). The work I did may have been centered a little more on education but it was really rewarding to be able to show someone how they can avoid bad oral health so it doesn't come back to bite them in the future. I really enjoyed how hands on and interactive of an experience it was, especially with a population that is typically underserved in the health care field.
More information: Sea Mar CHC - Mount Vernon Dental Clinic 1400 N LaVenture Mount Vernon, Washington 98273
UW Medical center
"I mainly work as a patient escort and transport patients in wheelchairs and sometimes deliver things like specimen."
When and for how long: Started in winter 2014 and have been there for three quarters
Provider contact: I don't have much contact with medical care providers. Most contact I have are with nurses about questions about patient transportation.
Patient & community contact: I have contact with patients and their family during transportation. I would need to confirm with them where they are going and explain how we are going to get there.
Liked best: meeting a lot of different people
More information: 206-598-4218
UWMC
"escort, greet patients, check on patients and see if they need anything, stocking, cleaning rooms, etc"
When and for how long: almost 2 years
Provider contact: Lots of opportunities to interact with medical care providers especially the nurses since you are often actively acting as a communication bridge between them and the patients while you are rounding on patients and checking if they are doing well. Many opportunities to see healthcare providers and patients contact too.
Patient & community contact: Talk to patients and family members to try to make sure they are staying in the hospital as comfortable as the conditions allowed. Listen to their medical concerns and notify the medical care providers if necessary.
Liked best: Lots of opportunities to interact with both patients and healthcare providers, and learn to deal with different kind of situations.
More information: Main phone: 206-598-4218 UWMC Room NN-303 Appointments may be necessary. Call for Volunteer Manager office hours.
Atlantis Project
"As an Atlantis Project fellow, I was able to travel to the Canary Islands in Spain and earn over 100 hours of shadowing experience. I spent a week each in 5 different specialties and was able to observe physicians overseas to gain experience in the medical field. I had to learn how to speak Spanish before I went, but was able to learn enough to understand what was going on in the hospitals."
When and for how long: July-August 2014, 5 weeks
Provider contact: I interacted the most with medical care providers. As I was shadowing them, they explained everything that was going on at a given moment and spent time really teaching me their procedures and course of action. I was able to learn from them and watch them give patient care, both in consultations and surgeries.
Patient & community contact: I did not have any physical contact with patients. However, I was able to watch their appointments and have friendly conversation with them while in the room.
Liked best: I was able to travel the world while earning both shadowing experience and volunteer experience in their hospitals. It was an amazing experience that taught me a lot about healthcare as well as myself. I was able to see a lot of different kinds of specialties, which was a great opportunity. I shadowed some that were never even on my radar, but learned that they were fields I was very interested in. Seeing healthcare outside of the US really put a lot of things into perspective for me, and I would recommend exploring these kinds of opportunities while in school.
More information: Meagan Wilson; admissions@atlantis-project.org
Swedish Medical Center
"Shadowing a group of Interventional Radiologists. I learned how to tie surgical knots, the OR scrub-in procedure, and the names and uses of various catheters."
When and for how long: June 2011 for two weeks
Provider contact: It was a very great learning experience and I was able to ask a lot of questions. Before every procedure the doctor would teach me what way through the body they would need to take and taught me briefly about fluoroscopy and MRI/X-ray reading.
Patient & community contact: I had little contact with the patients but the contact that I did have was insightful. Since the procedures were mostly out-patient procedures, the appointment where they discussed the procedure and determined the need for the procedure had already occurred.
Liked best: I learned a lot about this area of medicine and got a glimpse into the life of a surgeon. It made me have a greater passion for medicine.
More information: N/A
Harrison Medical Center
"My role as a volunteer for the hospital was to help guide patients around the hospital, help support staff provide family members with updates while loved ones were in surgery, and general office support such as filing papers, etc. Patient confidentiality is always a crucial component of working in the hospital setting and along with this responsibility it was crucial that I was efficient and knowledgeable at providing patient support."
When and for how long: Summer 2013, 3 months
Provider contact: During this time I had brief interactions with doctors, as most of my responsibilities and duties required more contact with support staff, receptionists, and nurses rather than direct support to the doctors themselves.
Patient & community contact: Most of my interactions on a day to day basis was with patients and their families, making sure they knew where to go for appointments and helping make them feel welcome and comfortable while in our care at the hospital. I was also in direct contact with other community volunteers who helped out in similar positions that I was in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was getting to understand the patient experience from the time they entered the front doors to the time they left. Having had contact with both patients and their families I got a unique insight into how they felt about their hospital experiences and how we could make changes to make patients and family members as comfortable as possible when having to seek medical care through the providers at our local hospital.
More information: harrisonmedical.org
Harborview Medical Center
"Located in the Emergency Department you assist the Medical Assistants and the Nursing staff with restocking and room set up. Work with patients to make their stay more comfortable, as well as transporting patients to various places. General housekeeping responsibilities."
When and for how long: Oct 2013 - Present
Provider contact: Very constant interactions with MA's and Nurses, by assisting them with their needs of stocking and running errands. Minimal contact with physicians and EMTs, mostly just observation of their interactions with patients.
Patient & community contact: Patient contact varies with the flow of the emergency department. Generally the patient contact includes delivering warm blankets and water to patients, occasionally escorting patients to waiting areas and the pharmacy.
Liked best: The best thing about volunteering in the Emergency Department is the wide variety of patients that you get to interact with and observe the doctor patient relationship. Each week you could interact with entirely different patients than you saw the previous week.
More information: hmcvol@u.washington.edu.
UWMC volunteer servicces
"Transport patients via wheelchair to appointments. Greet, direct and provide way-finding for patients and visitors. Maintain cleanliness of patient and public waiting areas. Escort/walk patients and visitors to clinic locations. Discharge patients to third floor lobby / UWMC entrance. Deliver flowers, mail, books and magazines to patients. Deliver charts, specimens and supplies throughout medical center All around help"
When and for how long: I've been a volunteer for two years
Provider contact: Contact with medical professionals is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Patient & community contact: Contact with medical professionals and families is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Liked best: As a volunteer at the UWMC your experience is entirely in your control. If you are nervous and alittle shyer you can hang back and just deliver specimens,organize paperwork, and direct patients very low key tasks. Or you can volunteer in a department like one of the ICU's and be very much in the middle of the chaos which can be alittle scarier but also very enlightening and a great learning opportunity. However, either way you're getting to see the hospital's inner workings in and get to soak in how the hospital runs while making a difference because have no doubt the UWMC would not work nearly as efficiently without their volunteers.
Other notes: They do not spoon feed you a volunteer position nor check in with how you are doing as a volunteer. To get started you have to take a lot of initiative and once you're a volunteer if you're unhappy in you're position it's up to you to go check in with volunteer services. They're happy to help once you go in but this isn't a volunteer program that cares if you're having a valuable experience or not. If you like a sense of leadership and community from programs you're involved in I wouldn't recommend this one because it is a very independent type of position at the UWMC.But very convenient in proximity.
More information: 206-598-4218 webpage: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
COPE Health Solutions
"Accountable for answering the patients’ call lights and assisting them with basic care requests on the assigned floor unit (about 25 patients) at Swedish Hopsital. Provide patient care after surgery, including assisting nursing staff with feeding patients, ambulating patients, changing linens, visiting with patients, and wound care."
When and for how long: I started August 2014 and am still in the program
Provider contact: There is a lot of contact with nurses and fewer with physicians, but there is still contact and interaction with physicians when they are rounding and checking-in with patients and conversing with them.
Patient & community contact: There is hands-on care with patients where some tasks are done by yourself or with assistance to nurse. The family of patients are often there during the recovery process.
Liked best: You get a lot of hands-on experience with patient care and interaction with health care team in the hospital.
More information: Poornima Bajwa
University of Washington Medical Center
"As a volunteer on the ICU, my main responsibility is to assist nurses. Here is pretty much what I do every time I volunteer... before entering the unit, I check the family waiting room for hot/cold water, napkins, cups etc to make sure there is enough for the patient families. I usually need to refill hot/cold water. After that I check the amount of coffee left in break room for nurses and make coffee for the nurses. There are usually some carts that need to be cleaned and restocked (each cart takes about 40 min to process), and volunteers need to clean the carts. If there is no more carts to clean, I usually stay near the front desk and assist PSS (answer phone calls, issue parking passes, collect blank patient charts, sending & receiving medicines etc). If I get lucky, there might be a chance to watch some procedures."
When and for how long: Since December 2012 till now
Provider contact: Most of the time I interact with nurses and watch busy physicians passing by. Everybody is very busy in the unit, but people are friendly.
Patient & community contact: Most of the patients I see on the unit are very sick and in a lot of pain. They are exhausted by their illnesses, and many of them are sedated. So there is not much interaction. Family members are very worried and stressed out, but they try to be nice if a volunteer offers help. Patient families typically do not ask for anything, but many are grateful that volunteers offer them warm blankets, water, pillow etc.
Liked best: It gives me an idea of the environment of a medical facility. People, especially those who are sick or stressed out, can be tough to deal with. I reassured myself that I like to "interact" with people like them.
More information: UWMC Volunteer Service
University of Washington Medical Center
"I was volunteering at the Outpatient Pharmacy. The main role of the position is to assist the Pharmacy staff in providing the best patient care service by taking responsibilities such as re-stocking vials, caps, and bottles, archiving prescription files and other pharmacy documents, tracking expiration dates to prevent use of outdated medications, and restocking office supplies at individual pharmacy staff stations to increase work efficiency."
When and for how long: It's been half a year and I'm still volunteering at the same location.
Provider contact: Through this volunteer, you are able to closely interact with the pharmacist manager of the Outpatient Pharmacy. The manager takes charge of assigning most jobs done during the volunteer shift depending on the varying assistance needed within the pharmacy. However, I approach the pharmacy technicians for help in terms of identifying medications by category for returned medications to be shelved.
Patient & community contact: Unfortunately, there is no direct contact with patients/family/community members regarding this position. It is with cooperating with the pharmacy staffs only.
Liked best: It is in part a shadowing experience of how a pharmacy works. You are exposed to a team of pharmacy staffs who you can watch and learn what their main duties are and to talk with them during their lunch breaks. Also, as you assist in tracking outdates and placing back return medications, you are able to familiarize the names of the medications and hone your organizational skills.
More information: fossc@uw.edu (Cynnie Foss, Volunteer Program Manager)
University of Washington Global Medical Brigade
"Global Medical Brigades develops sustainable health initiatives and provides relief where there is limited access to health care. Global Medical Brigades is just one part of the Global Brigades organization. Other programs include dental, public health, water, environmental, architecture, law, business, and microfinance. Together, these programs make up the world's largest student-led development organization and work off each other since there are many overlapping factors of our work. For Global Medical Brigades, students and recruited health professionals travel together to rural villages to provide free health care and conduct health education workshops to empower local leaders."
When and for how long: In the club for one year, travelled to Panama for a medical mission for one week of September 2013. (Now the group goes to Nicaragua)
Provider contact: We interacted with nurses and physicians. Triage is usually comprised of nurses and is the next stop for patients after intake. In triage, patients relay their symptoms and ailments while volunteers administer glucose tests, take blood pressure, weigh patients, etc. Nurses oversee any volunteer/patient conversations, aid in translation, description of symptoms, and vital taking. The consultation station is comprised of doctors who attend to patients after they have been through triage. Doctors consult, diagnose and then prescribe the medication they feel is best suited for each individual patient. If a doctor comes across an ailment they feel the brigade does not have the proper medication or equipment to address, that doctor can refer the patient to the clinic for further treatment provided free of cost by Global Medical Brigades. Students purely observe during this rotation with the opportunity to ask the physician questions about diagnosis and treatment plan.
Patient & community contact: Each brigade consists of different stations (typically intake, triage, physician consultation, pharmacy, and health education). Each volunteer will be rotated through each station, although it is much easier to place Spanish speaking volunteers to certain roles, such as translating and triage. Patients generally wait in line to be seen by students working in triage, then by the doctors in the consultation room. All patients receive prescribed medication and vitamins, in addition to attending health education workshops we put on. Volunteers interact with patients at each level, with more observation when shadowing the consultation. We also rotated through a "break" station and in this gap we played games with the children in the school yard.
Liked best: This was an incredible opportunity to experience the lifestyle and culture of a country very different from the US. I appreciated the exposure to diversity, the mode of rural health care in a third world country, and the role of healthcare in the every day context for Panamanians.
Other notes: There is a fee to participate and it's a competitive application. Apps usually open fall quarter with the trip planned for the end of summer following the application cycle.
More information: uwbrigades@gmail.com
UW General Internal Medicine Center
"Stocking examination rooms, sorting faxes, and any miscellaneous projects that may come up."
When and for how long: Fall 2013 to present. 4 hours a week.
Provider contact: The clinic itself is relatively small, so you will always pass by a medical care provider. This clinic also trains resident doctors, which you can shadow.
Patient & community contact: Little to none during volunteer hours as most duties do not require you to be in the presence of a patient. On some rare occasions you may be asked to push a patient and their wheelchair to the lobby.
Liked best: The abundance of shadowing opportunities.
Other notes: This clinic is located at UWMC-Roosevelt, not the main hospital.
More information: UWMC Volunteer services. Volunteer manager: Cynnie Foss
Dental Mission Trips
"Simple assisting jobs such as sterilizing equipment and calling patients because I am not trained to be a dentist and do not yet have the ability to work on patients."
When and for how long: 3 weeks
Provider contact: Some days I would have more contact with the care providers that others. On days I had the most contact with them, I was with them while they were working on a patient and handing them tools. On the days that I had less contact with them, I would be sterilizing instruments or calling patients.
Patient & community contact: Like with the care providers, the amount of contact I had with the patients fluctuated. Depending on the day, I would have short conversations with them, or I would only check them in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was being able to make a difference in the daily lives of the patients and being able to see how grateful they were for something that I often take for granted. It really changed the way I viewed my everyday health care.
More information: dentalmissiontrips@gmail.com
Neighborcare Health
"Community outreach volunteer, did outreach to current medical patients to referred them to our dental clinic. Well child check reminders to infants and childrens."
When and for how long: Was there since 2012
Provider contact: Did not really have much contact with medical care providers. I did shadow the dental providers and have a great relationship with them.
Patient & community contact: Usually not much due to working in the office.
Liked best: Learning about how healthcare works.
More information: 206-461-6935 or info@neighborcare.org
Seattle Children's Hospital
"My volunteer title was :Child Life Volunteer. There are many different departments that volunteers can choose from but I chose child life because it had maximum patient interaction. I volunteered 3 hours per week. My role consisted of setting up and cleaning up the communal patient playroom. These tasks were completed at the beginning and end of the shift. In between these times I visited various patient rooms, bringing toys, books, etc. I would spend time with patients and allow parents/guardians to take a break, if they wished."
When and for how long: April 2013-October 2013
Provider contact: I spoke to nurses prior to entering each patient room in order to check base about specific patient precautions or other details.
Patient & community contact: I had direct contact with patients and family members. I visited them in their rooms. My role for the patient was to provide some sort of entertainment or distraction by being a non-medicine related interaction. My role for the parent was to offer assistance by giving them time to leave the patient room with the assurance that someone was still with the patient.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience was interacting with patients. My role was small but it was great to get to know patients/families. Another great aspect about volunteering was simply seeing the environment of Children's. Having volunteered at Swedish Edmonds Hospital prior, I was able to directly compare the environments. It was very eye-opening to see how different hospitals can tailor to the specific needs of their patients.
More information: Chelsea Sandlin
Seattle Children's Hospital in Belleuve
"I had a few different roles at the hospital. I started off as a greeter at the main entrance, making sure to answer that patients and their families feel welcomed and get all the information necessary while at the hospital. I would usually provide information about the facility, such as where the restrooms are, where the vending machines are, where they need to check in for their appointments, what is the closest restaurant or grocery store, how to get on I-5 or 520. My second position was at a Surgery Center desk where I served as a mediator between the medical staff and families of the patients getting the surgical procedure. I was the one to greet them as they walk out of the induction room after their child has been put the sleep, make sure they know around what time the procedure should be done, what are the next steps for them and for their child and to take them either straight to the recovery or to the waiting room. The third position that I am just starting is in the recovery room where I am making sure that recovery rooms are cleaned and set up for the next patient."
When and for how long: I am volunteering there since July 2014
Provider contact: As a volunteer are a surgery center, I had to keep track of the cases and families in the waiting area, recovery and rooms. Drs. needed everything to run smoothly at the waiting room with parents so they can talk to them about the procedure and move to the next case. I had a responsibility of making sure the family is in their assigned waiting room at the time the doctor walks in to talk to them. As the schedules sometimes get very busy, I needed to coordinate with the charge and induction room nurse to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Patient & community contact: Right after the induction room, I was the first person that family and parents would talk to. They would usually be very emotional after seeing their child go to sleep, and I would make sure they are ok. I would let them know how long the procedure is and when the doctor should be coming to talk to them. I would walk them to their waiting room and let them know as soon as they are able to go back to the recovery room and rejoin with their child. In the mean time, for anything they need I would be the first source. I made sure they knew my name and my role and that they are being the most comfortable during their stay.
Liked best: The best thing was to feel that you are making families the most comfortable with their stay in the hospital while their child is getting a procedure. Multiple times I have been thanked for the service as I have contributed to making their stay at the hospital the most pleasant as it can be. Additionally, I got to see how the whole hospital works and how many people and different professions it takes to make the hospital work properly. I as a volunteer had a clear role and felt that I was making a great contribution toward making the families and patients satisfied with the service at Seattle Children's.
More information: Patricia Hovik, patricia.hovik@seattlechildrens.org
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"My role was to plan the actual trip to Goldendale, and then make sure that things went smoothly once we arrived. Otherwise, my main responsibility was to be professional with all the doctors and clinic staff while we shadowed and with the host family after the work day was over."
When and for how long: I was in Goldendale, Washington for one week during UW's spring break.
Provider contact: It was pretty extensive. I shadowed four doctors, one PA, and one ARNP, so I was able to see a lot of different patients, procedures, and styles of care. In addition, I interacted with several nurses. From all of them, I learned a lot about medical care in rural areas and the struggles that can come with that. They came from a variety of areas, with some having lived in rural areas all their lives and others having chosen to move to a smaller town.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients was varied, usually depending on the healthcare provider that I was shadowing and how talkative the patient was. Some of them would talk to me of their own accord and ask about myself, and we would have conversations that way. Other times, the doctor had me take a closer look at something on the patient, so I would get a more scientific interaction with the patient as the doctor explained something to me.
Liked best: The best thing was the large variety in different types of things that I got to see when I was on this trip. Since everyone I shadowed was general practice, I got to see a lot of different types of people and issues. Watching doctors have to grapple with a wide array of issues looked challenging and exciting.
Other notes: HCASB is a good experience for people looking to shadow in rural areas as a way to see what kind of problems healthcare providers must deal with when they do not have all the resources and culture of a big city.
More information: The people in charge of me for HCASB last year all graduated, so I don't know how to contact them now, unfortunately.
Evergreen Hospital
"At the gift shop and the NICU, I didn't interact with any physicians or patients. However, at the Surgical Services desk, I had a nurse supervisor who worked with me. My duties included getting print outs of the surgery schedule for the next day, maintaining the cleanliness of the waiting room, compiling paperwork packets for patients and families to complete before surgery, check in patient family members and obtain their contact information, monitor the progress of the operating room board using online software, answer phone calls, accompany family members to the pre-operation care unit and post-anesthesia care unit, and direct physicians to family members after the surgery is complete."
When and for how long: I was there from 2010-2012, volunteering at the Gift Shop, NICU, and the Surgical Services desk
Provider contact: I worked alongside a nurse supervisor, who helped me with my duties. I also came in contact with surgical nurses who would pick up patients before surgery, as well as post-anesthesia care unit nurses when I went to check on the patients. Finally, I had contact with surgeons when they visited the family members after surgery. If the family member was absent, I would have to write down messages or instructions for the family members from the physician, or I'd have to go pick up a prescription that they'd sent to the pharmacy.
Patient & community contact: I had the most amount of contact with patient family members while they were in the waiting room. There was a wide spectrum of attitudes and behaviors that I saw, which is understandable since it's a very personal experience. Sometimes the family members would talk to me, and sometimes they'd just keep to themselves. At the very least, I always made sure to give them updates whenever the surgery status changed.
Liked best: I got to see a lot of things that I wouldn't have been able to as an outside observer. For instance, I knew next to nothing about the life of surgeons and healthcare policy, but after this experience, I definitely learned a lot. It shocked me that some patients would wait for hours after their scheduled surgery time in the pre-operation unit, because the surgeon had gone overtime on his last surgery. I thought there was a way to prevent that from happening, but it seems like there isn't. Furthermore, I got to see a really wide range of patients come through. Some of them just needed minor surgery (i.e to repair a knee injury), whereas others underwent major operations, like having a brain tumor removed. All of these people went through the Surgical Services desk.
Other notes: In order to work at surgical services, volunteers need to have Level 2 clearance due to exposure to patients. It's definitely a process, and you need to have a good amount of previous volunteer experience at the hospital.
More information: Volunteer office phone number: 425-899-1994
University of Washington Medical Center
"I was an escort at first. I discharged patients and did a lot of deliveries. I was then working as a volunteer in the Emergency Department. My main job was to check in with patients and do whatever the nurses and medical assistants assigned."
When and for how long: 2011 December - 2014 June, two and half years
Provider contact: I worked mainly with the nurses and medical assistants there. I passed on patients' request to them so they could check in with patients. I could also shadow them if there was something I would like to learn. There was once a patient who just had a serious car accident and a group of doctors were doing some procedures, and I was able to watch that.
Patient & community contact: I also communicated with these members a lot since my main job was to check in with them. I rounded in the department and asked everyone whether they were doing okay and if they would like anything. I got to talk to a lot of lonely patients a lot and brought them much comfort.
Liked best: I think I got the chance to talk to and comfort the patients there. Sometimes the Emergency Department was very busy and there were not enough nurses. Patients sometimes felt like they were ignored and I was able to be with them. This was something that nurses or medical assistants were not able to do.
More information: 206-598-4218
Evergreen Hospital
"Discharging patients, various administrative activities, delivering various packages, and escorting visitors."
When and for how long: 2008-2012
Provider contact: You were able to interact with nurses when discharging patients or delivering goods to various wards.
Patient & community contact: There was a lot of patient and visitor contact. The volunteer run information desk was the main location for patients and visitors to learn how to get around the hospital.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience was that the management allows you to think on your feet and problem solve under pressure without giving you direct commands unless the situation demands them.
More information: For more information, call the Volunteer office at 425.899.1994 or email mllong@evergreenhealthcare.org.
Swedish Hospital
"To assist all medical care providers with all types of tasks that promote the efficiency and quality of healthcare towards patients. These tasks can include rounding, transporting and comforting patients, as well as stocking and organizing medical supplies."
When and for how long: 4 hour shifts, past 2 years
Provider contact: I volunteer directly under the supervision and direction of medical care providers. I provide assistance with anything during medical preparations or procedures.
Patient & community contact: I am always checking in on patients during the brief or extended times that they are in the emergency department. My purpose is to provide comfort and information for patients and their families while they wait for procedures or results etc.
Liked best: My favorite experience was with a patient X. I recognized her from a different volunteering facility that I was a part of prior to this position. I had gotten to know her well with that other facility. She was an elderly woman with a severe hearing difficulty, and she too, recognized me when I checked in on her during my rounds at the ER. Her face lit up when she saw my familiar face in the hospital. She has a hard time hearing, and I knew that, so I already had a sense of how to make her feel comfortable and at ease. I spent a good time with her, sitting next to her and holding her hand to provide some comfort in such a busy and overwhelming ER. It really made me happy, and her too, to spend some time together in what can be an upsetting situation: sick and vulnerable at a busy ER.
More information: 425-640-4341
Red Cross
"I was a volunteer at first aid stations at various events in Seattle such as Hempfest and alcoholics anonymous. I helped people who need care, from something as small as a bandaid to having a concussion and needing to go to the hospital. This was a very rewarding experience and the red cross gives you all the training for free."
When and for how long: spring/summer/fall 2014
Provider contact: You work with other volunteers and also AMR first responders, EMTs.
Patient & community contact: You have direct contact with community members and you directly treat/help them when you are at the first aid station or when you are doing rounds around the event.
Liked best: There is a lot of patient contact and a lot of opportunities to learn more about first aid and emergency response.
More information: Brendon.Bottle@redcross.org
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"I shadowed primary care physicians in Moses Lake from Monday through Thursday, then went to a local high school on Friday morning to talk about the values of higher education."
When and for how long: Spring break, the whole week
Provider contact: I shadowed a different physician each day, and got to chat with them during down times and ask about medicine.
Patient & community contact: We lived with a woman in a trailer park, and learned a lot about the community. We also heard a lot about the issues facing the community from the doctors we shadowed and the staff at the clinic.
Liked best: This experience solidified my desire to go to medical school, and piqued my interest in primary care.
More information: hcasb@uw.edu
Nick of Time Foundation- UW
"To help the Nick of Time Foundation with their mission of increasing awareness of sudden cardiac arrest, as well as increasing availability of heart screenings to adolescents throughout Washington. Namely, to volunteer at their many events and help their cause."
When and for how long: I've been an active member since Fall 2013.
Provider contact: At the heart screenings the NOTF holds, I was able to work side by side with talented cardiologists towards a common goal. This has led to many opportunities to see these doctors in action, as well as talk to them about Medical School and the field in general.
Patient & community contact: Once again at the heart screenings, I have worked closely with patients. This involved placing EKG leads, talking to them prior to the doctor's visit, and teaching them CPR while they wait.
Liked best: Through my volunteer work with the NOTF, I have been given the opportunity to work with doctors towards something that we are all passionate about. It is an amazing chance to learn from them, learn from the patients, and give back to the community.
More information: notfuw@uw.edu
COPE Health Solutions
"Responsibilities include assisting nurses and other staff with tasks involved in patient care such as feeding, changing, and bathing patients. Other office type duties are performed as well as simply sitting in and watching various procedures."
When and for how long: June 2014-Current
Provider contact: This internship provides undergraduate students with 3 month rotations on varying units of the hospital to assist medical staff in providing comfort care tasks for the patients. Also there is the opportunity to shadow doctors and other specialists and sit in on varying procedures.
Patient & community contact: One of the best parts of this volunteer opportunity is that there is a significant amount of interaction with patients and their families. Most of the time the interactions are simple and brief, but other times the patients or family are looking for someone to talk to. One of the best parts about this volunteer position has simply been listening to the stories and experiences of those that I have interacted with.
Liked best: Networking with professionals in the field and seeing them at work
More information: Poornima Bajwa email: pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
Swedish Hospital Edmonds
"Working in the front desk, helping patients, wheel chairing patients."
When and for how long: High School for 1 year
Provider contact: Not very much. Mostly communicated with nurses.
Patient & community contact: Lots of patient interaction.
Liked best: Being in the hospital setting, which allowed me to see the interactions and hospital community. Seeing this actually deterred me away from becoming a doctor because I look more local and close interactions.
More information: Volunteer Coordinator
Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute
"I job shadowed many Optometrists working in the medical aspect of optometry. I also sat in on multiple cataract surgeries in the Operating Room."
When and for how long: September 2014, one day
Provider contact: I was able to talk to the doctors and surgeon about what they did for a job. They told me about the pros and cons of their jobs. I was also able to learn a lot about the lifestyles of the doctors outside of the workday.
Patient & community contact: I was able to talk to patients about their symptoms as well as using some of the medical equipment in the office.
Liked best: The best thing about this job shadowing experience was that I was able to see the medical side of optometry that really appeals to me. I was also able to learn about the lifestyle of an optometrist which helped me realize that this is a field that I am very interested in pursuing. The doctors all were able to balance a social and family life outside of their jobs.
More information: Phone number: (360) 748-8632
Evergreen Medical Center
"Volunteered as front desk reception as well as delivered lab specimens and discharging of patients."
When and for how long: 170+ hours
Provider contact: Communicated with nurses as to when to discharge patients and any other possible tasks they needed our help with.
Patient & community contact: Talked to patients and family members regularly, whether it was at the front desk when family member were visiting and had question or if it was during the discharge.
Liked best: Interacting with patients and being able to make a, even if slight, difference at the hospital.
More information: Linda Watson

homeless

HealthPoint
"My main role was to make reminder phone calls to patients that need to come in for their annual check up/well child check up/mammogram/etc. I would also aid in various other administrative duties when needed."
When and for how long: July-September 2012
Provider contact: I was introduced to all the medical care providers in the clinic and had the option to shadow but I was not able to do so at the time.
Patient & community contact: I would be given a list of patients of all ages to call. The patients were for the most part from the surrounding community. I spoke to many of the patients on these lists about coming into the clinic for the check up they were due for.
Liked best: This was where I first learned not to take negative comments people may say to heart. Often times patients would not know what I was calling for and think I was trying to sell them a product they were not interested in.
Other notes: Although this opportunity did not necessarily provide me experience with a doctor or nurse directly, I was grateful for the patient contact. I was able to talk to patients and learned about the language barriers that may come between a provider and a patient which was not something I had previously thought about before. Also, HealthPoint provides care for many low income families. It is difficult to provide preventative care when patients don't want to come in to see the doctor whether it is for financial reasons or because they don't understand what their check up is for.
More information: 425-277-1566
Prep-Step Health Care Scholarship Program
"Help out the nursing staff and NAC staff on the patient floors with patient care such as: cleaning up, providing meals, talking to patients, running messages to the staff, and ambulating patients."
When and for how long: Since August 2014 to currently
Provider contact: I directly get instruction and advice from the healthcare staff. Physicians are relatively rare throughout the day, but I get to see the constant work that the nurses and NAC's do all day.
Patient & community contact: I have the opportunity to speak directly with patients and their family members. Sometimes patients want to be left alone, but sometimes they want more interaction than the nurses can provide with their busy schedules.
Liked best: Getting to spend extended time with the nursing staff and seeing how important treating patients as individual people is to their overall care and experience in the hospital.
More information: 206-386-3879
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Translate for American doctors and dentists to diagnose Vietnamese villagers. Sort medicine into small bags for prescribing and explain to patients how to use."
When and for how long: 2 weeks but trained for 1 year
Provider contact: Become the voice for the doctors and dentists to help the patients understand dental treatments (usually teeth extractions) or diagnosis.
Patient & community contact: To fund the cost of the medicine and supplies we had to host a banquet which required contact with family and businesses to support us. That year we raised 28K in one night.
Liked best: Living in a foreign country for 2 weeks. Making new friends with the student volunteers and health professionals. Stark difference in the appreciation of care from Vietnamese patients vs American patients.
More information: Scott Fung
Harborview
"Worked in the ER, helped RNs and doctors Restocked shelves Cleaned and prepared cots Observed Trauma Care"
When and for how long: Summer of Junior Year
Provider contact: Mostly observation
Patient & community contact: I did not interact with patients unless they requested my assistance
Liked best: I think the best part was observing the health care providers and seeing how a hospital ran from the inside.
Med Life
"Volunteer for a medical brigade- to bring free medicine/healthcare to underserved, and impoverished communities. I went on two separate occasions- once in Lima, Peru, and then in Tena, Ecuador. Both wonderful experiences, I got to help heakth professionals set up the clinics, sort medicine, translate, and take vitals and mecial history of the patients."
When and for how long: April 2012; December 2013
Provider contact: Side by side, watching them work! Sometimes I would translate from Spanish to English for other students observing.
Patient & community contact: Once again, very hands on, especially when writing down medical history and taking vitals. I got to learn a lot about the way certain people in communities live, by speaking to people who waited in line for care.
Liked best: It simply feels good to help people who need it.
More information: www.medlifeweb.org
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Soliciting in order to raise money for the medical supplies we were to bring on our trip. Contact other health professions to assist us on our trip because they are the only way how we can treat them. The volunteers and leaders who were mainly under-graduates were only able to observe, assist and scribe for the health professionals."
When and for how long: From the beginning of 2014 until late september of the same year.
Provider contact: Scribe for the medical care providers. Some students and I were able to become translators between the patients and the health professions. Medical care providers were also able to teach us diseases/sicknesses the patients had, and how we can tell from our diagnosis on how they have it.
Patient & community contact: Consulting with the villagers. Teaching them on how to take their medication. Teaching them what their sickness is. Teaching patients the basics of public health (Water sanitation, risks of drinking alcohol/smoking obsessively, brushing teeth), in order to prevent exposure to some microbes that can cause harm to us.
Liked best: Going to a different country and using my ability to interact with patients in a medical/clinical setting. Working in a clinic that was student ran. A lot of work and communication was required.
More information: info@vnhealth.org
Fellowship Bible Church
"I was part of a Medical Outreach team providing medical relief in the jungles of Africa, specifically Liberia. My role was to screen patients, building medical history and symptom reports allowing our limited team of doctors to see more patients quickly."
When and for how long: June 2013 for 3 weeks
Provider contact: I worked side by side both nurses and doctors to bring direly needed medical supplies and aid to one of the poorest nations in the world. I made the initial contact with patients, separating the severely sick to those that are simply dehydrated but lack even the basic knowledge of health awareness to realize it. This allowed the Doctors to maximize time with the truly sick patients coming through our clinic.
Patient & community contact: I was able to have numerous one-on-one patient interactions seeing anywhere from 20-40 patients in a day. Putting the patient at ease, making them comfortable and then making an initial assessment of the patient needs.
Liked best: The best part of this experience was the patient interactions. I have never been exposed to such poverty, sickness and starvation. Meeting countless Africans every day who live incredibly difficult lives was a humbling experience. Learning how to communicate through cultural gaps was both difficult and rewarding. The singly most influential experience was my encounter with my very first patient, a mother bringing her 8 year old son. The boy was severely emaciated and paralyzed to the point that he could not support his own head nor move anything more than his eyes. He had been this way for 2 months and his body was rejecting any sustenance. With primitive medical diagnostic equipment our doctors were unable to do much more than guess what was causing the symptoms. This boy, Togba, stayed under my care for three days before he finally died. I will never forget Togba, and he is largely the reason for my pursuit of medical school.
UWMC
"escort, greet patients, check on patients and see if they need anything, stocking, cleaning rooms, etc"
When and for how long: almost 2 years
Provider contact: Lots of opportunities to interact with medical care providers especially the nurses since you are often actively acting as a communication bridge between them and the patients while you are rounding on patients and checking if they are doing well. Many opportunities to see healthcare providers and patients contact too.
Patient & community contact: Talk to patients and family members to try to make sure they are staying in the hospital as comfortable as the conditions allowed. Listen to their medical concerns and notify the medical care providers if necessary.
Liked best: Lots of opportunities to interact with both patients and healthcare providers, and learn to deal with different kind of situations.
More information: Main phone: 206-598-4218 UWMC Room NN-303 Appointments may be necessary. Call for Volunteer Manager office hours.
Harborview Medical Center
"Located in the Emergency Department you assist the Medical Assistants and the Nursing staff with restocking and room set up. Work with patients to make their stay more comfortable, as well as transporting patients to various places. General housekeeping responsibilities."
When and for how long: Oct 2013 - Present
Provider contact: Very constant interactions with MA's and Nurses, by assisting them with their needs of stocking and running errands. Minimal contact with physicians and EMTs, mostly just observation of their interactions with patients.
Patient & community contact: Patient contact varies with the flow of the emergency department. Generally the patient contact includes delivering warm blankets and water to patients, occasionally escorting patients to waiting areas and the pharmacy.
Liked best: The best thing about volunteering in the Emergency Department is the wide variety of patients that you get to interact with and observe the doctor patient relationship. Each week you could interact with entirely different patients than you saw the previous week.
More information: hmcvol@u.washington.edu.
Union Gospel Mission Dental Clinic
"As volunteers, we make sure that the clinic is in order and clean. We also greet patients and set up the stations where they have their appointments. Volunteers learn to assist chair side with local dentists who also volunteer their time at the UGM dental clinic, take x-rays and develop film, and how to sterilize dental tools. Although volunteer work at the UGM dental clinic goes far beyond the office, as volunteers can also help by organizing fundraisers, applying for grants, and other activities that help organize the clinic."
When and for how long: I began volunteering there in August 2014 and still currently volunteer there
Provider contact: I get to work alongside the providers as they are treating and helping patients. It is really great to be able to do this as many of the dentists understand that the volunteers are aspiring to go to dental school, so they are very accommodating with explaining what they are doing and why.
Patient & community contact: At the UGM, we get to work directly with patients by taking their dental history, blood pressure, and encouraging them to consistently come in when they can for dental care. With the patients, our job is to make them feel welcomed and make sure they get the best care possible with the available resources.
Liked best: Not only do I get hands on experience volunteering at the UGM dental clinic, I get to learn so many things about other important aspects in dentistry other than just teeth. For example, I learn the importance of sterilization and how to do that, how to take x-rays, and the incredible work that dental assistants do for dentists. I also get to see a wide range of patients and learn more about them and their lives.
More information: Juanita Banks --> jbanks@ugm.org
Dental Mission Trips
"Simple assisting jobs such as sterilizing equipment and calling patients because I am not trained to be a dentist and do not yet have the ability to work on patients."
When and for how long: 3 weeks
Provider contact: Some days I would have more contact with the care providers that others. On days I had the most contact with them, I was with them while they were working on a patient and handing them tools. On the days that I had less contact with them, I would be sterilizing instruments or calling patients.
Patient & community contact: Like with the care providers, the amount of contact I had with the patients fluctuated. Depending on the day, I would have short conversations with them, or I would only check them in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was being able to make a difference in the daily lives of the patients and being able to see how grateful they were for something that I often take for granted. It really changed the way I viewed my everyday health care.
More information: dentalmissiontrips@gmail.com
Seattle Union Gospel Mission
"Sterilization, Assistant chair-side with dentist, cleaning, preparing and taking down rooms, maintenance of facility"
When and for how long: November 2014 - present
Provider contact: The volunteers mostly talk to the dental assistant(s) there, but since the facility is so small, talking with dentists are very common as well
Patient & community contact: I have no contact to the patients
Liked best: Being in a dental enviroment and learning about the preliminary skills someone who wants to go into dentistry should have.
More information: ugm.com/volunteer
Evergreen Hospital
"Discharging patients, various administrative activities, delivering various packages, and escorting visitors."
When and for how long: 2008-2012
Provider contact: You were able to interact with nurses when discharging patients or delivering goods to various wards.
Patient & community contact: There was a lot of patient and visitor contact. The volunteer run information desk was the main location for patients and visitors to learn how to get around the hospital.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience was that the management allows you to think on your feet and problem solve under pressure without giving you direct commands unless the situation demands them.
More information: For more information, call the Volunteer office at 425.899.1994 or email mllong@evergreenhealthcare.org.
Swedish Hospital
"To assist all medical care providers with all types of tasks that promote the efficiency and quality of healthcare towards patients. These tasks can include rounding, transporting and comforting patients, as well as stocking and organizing medical supplies."
When and for how long: 4 hour shifts, past 2 years
Provider contact: I volunteer directly under the supervision and direction of medical care providers. I provide assistance with anything during medical preparations or procedures.
Patient & community contact: I am always checking in on patients during the brief or extended times that they are in the emergency department. My purpose is to provide comfort and information for patients and their families while they wait for procedures or results etc.
Liked best: My favorite experience was with a patient X. I recognized her from a different volunteering facility that I was a part of prior to this position. I had gotten to know her well with that other facility. She was an elderly woman with a severe hearing difficulty, and she too, recognized me when I checked in on her during my rounds at the ER. Her face lit up when she saw my familiar face in the hospital. She has a hard time hearing, and I knew that, so I already had a sense of how to make her feel comfortable and at ease. I spent a good time with her, sitting next to her and holding her hand to provide some comfort in such a busy and overwhelming ER. It really made me happy, and her too, to spend some time together in what can be an upsetting situation: sick and vulnerable at a busy ER.
More information: 425-640-4341
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
COPE Health Solutions
"Responsibilities include assisting nurses and other staff with tasks involved in patient care such as feeding, changing, and bathing patients. Other office type duties are performed as well as simply sitting in and watching various procedures."
When and for how long: June 2014-Current
Provider contact: This internship provides undergraduate students with 3 month rotations on varying units of the hospital to assist medical staff in providing comfort care tasks for the patients. Also there is the opportunity to shadow doctors and other specialists and sit in on varying procedures.
Patient & community contact: One of the best parts of this volunteer opportunity is that there is a significant amount of interaction with patients and their families. Most of the time the interactions are simple and brief, but other times the patients or family are looking for someone to talk to. One of the best parts about this volunteer position has simply been listening to the stories and experiences of those that I have interacted with.
Liked best: Networking with professionals in the field and seeing them at work
More information: Poornima Bajwa email: pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org

LGBTQQ

UWMC
"My role as a medical volunteer was to interact with many patients and keep the medical environment clean. By greeting people, helping them find their way throughout the center, and aid those who need help, I create an open and friendly environment for UWMC. By wiping down equipment after use, deliver paperwork and charts, and make sure equipment is stocked, I keep the medical environment clean and organized."
When and for how long: Flexible hours (4 hours a week) for one year.
Provider contact: My contact with medical care providers is through delivering charts and paperwork to those who request it. I also assist them with non-patient care duties.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients is to provide them with as much help as I can, including escorting patients to locations, transporting those in wheelchairs, and delivering items to patients, while maintaining a friendly environment.
Liked best: Lots of exposure. If you need a place to learn about the everyday workings of a medical institution, this is the place for you.
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
Prep-Step Health Care Scholarship Program
"Help out the nursing staff and NAC staff on the patient floors with patient care such as: cleaning up, providing meals, talking to patients, running messages to the staff, and ambulating patients."
When and for how long: Since August 2014 to currently
Provider contact: I directly get instruction and advice from the healthcare staff. Physicians are relatively rare throughout the day, but I get to see the constant work that the nurses and NAC's do all day.
Patient & community contact: I have the opportunity to speak directly with patients and their family members. Sometimes patients want to be left alone, but sometimes they want more interaction than the nurses can provide with their busy schedules.
Liked best: Getting to spend extended time with the nursing staff and seeing how important treating patients as individual people is to their overall care and experience in the hospital.
More information: 206-386-3879
Group Health Cooperative - Capitol Hill
"I volunteer in the Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy department, doing maintenance/cleaning duties and shadowing physical therapists, getting exposure and experience for the PT profession."
When and for how long: Spring 2014-Present
Provider contact: Contact with Physical Therapists included shadowing/assisting the PTs when needed where appropriate.
Patient & community contact: Assisted patients with some exercises, sometimes just observed and learned diagnostic/rehabilitative strategies & techniques.
Liked best: Group Health is a welcoming environment, and the PT department at Capitol Hill is filled with great role models for the profession. I have the utmost respect for the physical therapists there, and have enjoyed observing and learning from them. Your volunteer hours are flexible, and they help make the volunteering experience work for your schedule.
More information: Jeannette Flodin, flodin.j@ghc.org (Volunteer Coordinator)
UWMC
"escort, greet patients, check on patients and see if they need anything, stocking, cleaning rooms, etc"
When and for how long: almost 2 years
Provider contact: Lots of opportunities to interact with medical care providers especially the nurses since you are often actively acting as a communication bridge between them and the patients while you are rounding on patients and checking if they are doing well. Many opportunities to see healthcare providers and patients contact too.
Patient & community contact: Talk to patients and family members to try to make sure they are staying in the hospital as comfortable as the conditions allowed. Listen to their medical concerns and notify the medical care providers if necessary.
Liked best: Lots of opportunities to interact with both patients and healthcare providers, and learn to deal with different kind of situations.
More information: Main phone: 206-598-4218 UWMC Room NN-303 Appointments may be necessary. Call for Volunteer Manager office hours.
Harborview Medical Center
"Located in the Emergency Department you assist the Medical Assistants and the Nursing staff with restocking and room set up. Work with patients to make their stay more comfortable, as well as transporting patients to various places. General housekeeping responsibilities."
When and for how long: Oct 2013 - Present
Provider contact: Very constant interactions with MA's and Nurses, by assisting them with their needs of stocking and running errands. Minimal contact with physicians and EMTs, mostly just observation of their interactions with patients.
Patient & community contact: Patient contact varies with the flow of the emergency department. Generally the patient contact includes delivering warm blankets and water to patients, occasionally escorting patients to waiting areas and the pharmacy.
Liked best: The best thing about volunteering in the Emergency Department is the wide variety of patients that you get to interact with and observe the doctor patient relationship. Each week you could interact with entirely different patients than you saw the previous week.
More information: hmcvol@u.washington.edu.
UWMC volunteer servicces
"Transport patients via wheelchair to appointments. Greet, direct and provide way-finding for patients and visitors. Maintain cleanliness of patient and public waiting areas. Escort/walk patients and visitors to clinic locations. Discharge patients to third floor lobby / UWMC entrance. Deliver flowers, mail, books and magazines to patients. Deliver charts, specimens and supplies throughout medical center All around help"
When and for how long: I've been a volunteer for two years
Provider contact: Contact with medical professionals is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Patient & community contact: Contact with medical professionals and families is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Liked best: As a volunteer at the UWMC your experience is entirely in your control. If you are nervous and alittle shyer you can hang back and just deliver specimens,organize paperwork, and direct patients very low key tasks. Or you can volunteer in a department like one of the ICU's and be very much in the middle of the chaos which can be alittle scarier but also very enlightening and a great learning opportunity. However, either way you're getting to see the hospital's inner workings in and get to soak in how the hospital runs while making a difference because have no doubt the UWMC would not work nearly as efficiently without their volunteers.
Other notes: They do not spoon feed you a volunteer position nor check in with how you are doing as a volunteer. To get started you have to take a lot of initiative and once you're a volunteer if you're unhappy in you're position it's up to you to go check in with volunteer services. They're happy to help once you go in but this isn't a volunteer program that cares if you're having a valuable experience or not. If you like a sense of leadership and community from programs you're involved in I wouldn't recommend this one because it is a very independent type of position at the UWMC.But very convenient in proximity.
More information: 206-598-4218 webpage: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
Red Cross
"I was a volunteer at first aid stations at various events in Seattle such as Hempfest and alcoholics anonymous. I helped people who need care, from something as small as a bandaid to having a concussion and needing to go to the hospital. This was a very rewarding experience and the red cross gives you all the training for free."
When and for how long: spring/summer/fall 2014
Provider contact: You work with other volunteers and also AMR first responders, EMTs.
Patient & community contact: You have direct contact with community members and you directly treat/help them when you are at the first aid station or when you are doing rounds around the event.
Liked best: There is a lot of patient contact and a lot of opportunities to learn more about first aid and emergency response.
More information: Brendon.Bottle@redcross.org
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
COPE Health Solutions
"Responsibilities include assisting nurses and other staff with tasks involved in patient care such as feeding, changing, and bathing patients. Other office type duties are performed as well as simply sitting in and watching various procedures."
When and for how long: June 2014-Current
Provider contact: This internship provides undergraduate students with 3 month rotations on varying units of the hospital to assist medical staff in providing comfort care tasks for the patients. Also there is the opportunity to shadow doctors and other specialists and sit in on varying procedures.
Patient & community contact: One of the best parts of this volunteer opportunity is that there is a significant amount of interaction with patients and their families. Most of the time the interactions are simple and brief, but other times the patients or family are looking for someone to talk to. One of the best parts about this volunteer position has simply been listening to the stories and experiences of those that I have interacted with.
Liked best: Networking with professionals in the field and seeing them at work
More information: Poornima Bajwa email: pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org

low income

UWMC
"My role as a medical volunteer was to interact with many patients and keep the medical environment clean. By greeting people, helping them find their way throughout the center, and aid those who need help, I create an open and friendly environment for UWMC. By wiping down equipment after use, deliver paperwork and charts, and make sure equipment is stocked, I keep the medical environment clean and organized."
When and for how long: Flexible hours (4 hours a week) for one year.
Provider contact: My contact with medical care providers is through delivering charts and paperwork to those who request it. I also assist them with non-patient care duties.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients is to provide them with as much help as I can, including escorting patients to locations, transporting those in wheelchairs, and delivering items to patients, while maintaining a friendly environment.
Liked best: Lots of exposure. If you need a place to learn about the everyday workings of a medical institution, this is the place for you.
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
HealthPoint
"My main role was to make reminder phone calls to patients that need to come in for their annual check up/well child check up/mammogram/etc. I would also aid in various other administrative duties when needed."
When and for how long: July-September 2012
Provider contact: I was introduced to all the medical care providers in the clinic and had the option to shadow but I was not able to do so at the time.
Patient & community contact: I would be given a list of patients of all ages to call. The patients were for the most part from the surrounding community. I spoke to many of the patients on these lists about coming into the clinic for the check up they were due for.
Liked best: This was where I first learned not to take negative comments people may say to heart. Often times patients would not know what I was calling for and think I was trying to sell them a product they were not interested in.
Other notes: Although this opportunity did not necessarily provide me experience with a doctor or nurse directly, I was grateful for the patient contact. I was able to talk to patients and learned about the language barriers that may come between a provider and a patient which was not something I had previously thought about before. Also, HealthPoint provides care for many low income families. It is difficult to provide preventative care when patients don't want to come in to see the doctor whether it is for financial reasons or because they don't understand what their check up is for.
More information: 425-277-1566
University of Washington Medical Center
"As a patient escort, my role was to provide services such as transporting patients in wheelchairs, blood refrigerators, patient test samples, letters, and gifts. In addition I also helped with paperwork by preparing mail, patient info forms, and filing patient charts. It was also common for me to act as a greeter with one or two other volunteer escorts by directing patients to where they need to go or walking them to their destination if possible."
When and for how long: Mostly on weekends, 4 hr a week for three years.
Provider contact: Little to no interaction with medical care providers. Never spoke to a doctor, spoke with some nurses but only to clarify objectives. Often spoke to med technicians and lab technicians on delivery pickup/dropoff.
Patient & community contact: High amount of patient interaction potential as well as with family members. A lot of experience with patient management is possible due to the nature of the escort position. Also worth noting is that you meet a lot of UW students and individuals from the Seattle area who are somewhere in the application process for a health related profession as well as members of the community (often retired) who are passionate about giving to the community.
Liked best: This was my first experience being in an environment where I was given responsibility of providing service to patients. Back in high school I was a really shy and quiet person, but volunteering as an escort forced me to be proactive and initiate conversations with patients and visitors in order to provide excellent service. Patient interaction was also a really eye opening experience. Being able to talk to patients span a wide range of backgrounds as well as handle stressful situations dealing with patient management are definitely skills that can be learned. I think this personal growth, in addition to being able to observe the mechanics of how one of the best hospitals in our nation come together, is really great.
Other notes: While volunteering I often heard others complain that they aren't able to interact with doctors, nurses, PAs, etc. while being an escort. In my opinion those types of experiences are acquired through shadowing. This experience is heavily correlated with how much personal effort a person makes to take on tasks and proactively provide service to patients. In addition, while volunteering I have seen lots of changes happen to the volunteer program. When I started there were many things escorts were able to do, but since then there have been more and more restrictions and cutbacks on the variety of tasks escorts can do. I think it's mostly limited to patient transport and greeting now. It's partially due to this that I chose to retire from volunteering at the UWMC after three years and move onto other volunteering projects.
More information: Volunteer Services: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer/requirements/application
University of Washington Medical Center
"Escort services: transport of patients flower deliveries specimen deliveries"
When and for how long: September 2014- present (4 months)
Provider contact: very limited
Patient & community contact: lots of patient contact when discharging patients and or transporting them
Liked best: Being able to interact with patients is very helpful to discover how I personally am around sick people. It teaches you what it will be like to provide for all types of people with various illnesses, moods, conditions and personalities.
Global Dental Brigades UW Chapter
"I was in charge of holding charlas where I showed kids how to brush. I also got the chance to shadowing a dentist while she performed dental procedures."
When and for how long: Summer of 2013, 9 days
Provider contact: I shadowed a dentist and got to ask any questions I had.
Patient & community contact: I got to teach them how to brush and take care of there oral hygiene.
Liked best: The best part was when the kids got there brushes and they treated it as if they had just got there hands on the newest piece of technology.
More information: Depends who is president of the club that year
Prep-Step Health Care Scholarship Program
"Help out the nursing staff and NAC staff on the patient floors with patient care such as: cleaning up, providing meals, talking to patients, running messages to the staff, and ambulating patients."
When and for how long: Since August 2014 to currently
Provider contact: I directly get instruction and advice from the healthcare staff. Physicians are relatively rare throughout the day, but I get to see the constant work that the nurses and NAC's do all day.
Patient & community contact: I have the opportunity to speak directly with patients and their family members. Sometimes patients want to be left alone, but sometimes they want more interaction than the nurses can provide with their busy schedules.
Liked best: Getting to spend extended time with the nursing staff and seeing how important treating patients as individual people is to their overall care and experience in the hospital.
More information: 206-386-3879
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Translate for American doctors and dentists to diagnose Vietnamese villagers. Sort medicine into small bags for prescribing and explain to patients how to use."
When and for how long: 2 weeks but trained for 1 year
Provider contact: Become the voice for the doctors and dentists to help the patients understand dental treatments (usually teeth extractions) or diagnosis.
Patient & community contact: To fund the cost of the medicine and supplies we had to host a banquet which required contact with family and businesses to support us. That year we raised 28K in one night.
Liked best: Living in a foreign country for 2 weeks. Making new friends with the student volunteers and health professionals. Stark difference in the appreciation of care from Vietnamese patients vs American patients.
More information: Scott Fung
Harborview
"Worked in the ER, helped RNs and doctors Restocked shelves Cleaned and prepared cots Observed Trauma Care"
When and for how long: Summer of Junior Year
Provider contact: Mostly observation
Patient & community contact: I did not interact with patients unless they requested my assistance
Liked best: I think the best part was observing the health care providers and seeing how a hospital ran from the inside.
Group Health Cooperative - Capitol Hill
"I volunteer in the Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy department, doing maintenance/cleaning duties and shadowing physical therapists, getting exposure and experience for the PT profession."
When and for how long: Spring 2014-Present
Provider contact: Contact with Physical Therapists included shadowing/assisting the PTs when needed where appropriate.
Patient & community contact: Assisted patients with some exercises, sometimes just observed and learned diagnostic/rehabilitative strategies & techniques.
Liked best: Group Health is a welcoming environment, and the PT department at Capitol Hill is filled with great role models for the profession. I have the utmost respect for the physical therapists there, and have enjoyed observing and learning from them. Your volunteer hours are flexible, and they help make the volunteering experience work for your schedule.
More information: Jeannette Flodin, flodin.j@ghc.org (Volunteer Coordinator)
Med Life
"Volunteer for a medical brigade- to bring free medicine/healthcare to underserved, and impoverished communities. I went on two separate occasions- once in Lima, Peru, and then in Tena, Ecuador. Both wonderful experiences, I got to help heakth professionals set up the clinics, sort medicine, translate, and take vitals and mecial history of the patients."
When and for how long: April 2012; December 2013
Provider contact: Side by side, watching them work! Sometimes I would translate from Spanish to English for other students observing.
Patient & community contact: Once again, very hands on, especially when writing down medical history and taking vitals. I got to learn a lot about the way certain people in communities live, by speaking to people who waited in line for care.
Liked best: It simply feels good to help people who need it.
More information: www.medlifeweb.org
Prep Step Health Care Scholar Program at Swedish Medical Center First Hill
"As a prep-step health care scholar I am assigned to a unit in the hospital on a 3 month rotation basis where I assist staff and patients with whatever they need. Duties can include stocking the unit, discharging patients, assisting NAC's and nurses with patient care, taking vitals, rounding on patients, and answering call lights."
When and for how long: I have been a prep-step for a little over 3 months and am currently in the program.
Provider contact: In this position you get a lot of contact with nurses and nursing assistants. The nurses are often willing to let you shadow them while they interact with patients and will answer questions and explain their tasks. Physicians, Physician Assistants, nutritionists, and physical therapists are on the floor less frequently so it is more difficult to talk with them but when they are around, they are often willing to let you watch procedures and ask questions.
Patient & community contact: This program provides lots of opportunity for interaction with patients and their visitors. Through rounding you have the opportunity to go into each patient's room and chat with them and their family if they engage you in conversation. Many of my best experiences I have had occurred through conversations with patients. You also are trained to assist NAC's and nurses with various patient care tasks like walking, taking vitals, feeding, and repositioning.
Liked best: The best part about this experience is being able to make a true difference in a patient's hospital stay. I have had many experiences with patients where I was able to make them feel cared for and comfortable while going through a painful and scary experience. I am also looking forward to experiencing different units in the hospital so I can get a better idea of what area of medicine is right for me.
More information: https://www.l3connect.org/prospective-applicants/cce-faq Program Director: Poornima Bajwa pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
Seattle Children's Hospital
"Child Life volunteer. I was going to the patients' rooms or playing with the patients at the playroom."
When and for how long: Fall, Winter 2012
Provider contact: I need to check in/out with the nurses before and after I played with patients. I was sometimes allowed to stay in the room while doctors were examining the patients.
Patient & community contact: I was directly in contact with the parents/caregivers of the patients. I not only played with the kids and entertaining them, but also was giving some space for the parents so that they can have some free time for themselves.
Liked best: Making kids happy. The best reward was to seeing unhealthy and sometimes unhappy kids smiling and having fun.
More information: Alison Garrison, email: alison.garrison@seattlechildrens.org
Seattle Children's Hospital
"I volunteer in the Child Life department - so my major role is to interact (basically spend time/hang out and play) with patients in need. This may be due to the patient's parents needing a break, or it can be a case where the patient's family is not in the same country. Either way, the goal is to let the patient feel more at home at the hospital by providing them with a better experience during their stay at Seattle Children's. Before and after spending time with patients, I help clean and organize toys for the playroom, as well as prepare and clean up the playroom itself."
When and for how long: Started in Fall of 2013, and still volunteering
Provider contact: Before I visit each patient, I get to speak with the nurse about any problems or concerns I should keep in mind about the patient. The nurse will occasionally visit the room (usually to check vitals) during my stay. Generally, the nurses are quite friendly, and will ask me about what I do, what I am studying and what my future goals are. On 'rare' occasions, a doctor (presumably the surgeon for the patient in some cases), and more often residences, will stop by as well. In these instances, they may also ask about my background - but usually they are concentrating on the patient! (Which does give a good insight on what they do)
Patient & community contact: My interactions with the patients are fairly direct - I get to play games, talk, watch movies and more with them. My contact with the patient's family members (usually their parents) is less frequent. However, most parents at the hospital are nice and enjoy talking with me for a little bit. They do enjoy being able to talk about their experiences and concerns about what is happening with their child - which they may not be able to do too often.
Liked best: For me, the people who I work with in this hospital - be it volunteers, doctors, nurses or receptionists - have really opened me up to an outstanding group of individuals. These people genuinely care about other's well-being; and wanting to go into a medical profession, I feel that that is the most important asset to have. Seattle Children's gives a fantastic example of how a family-friendly hospital should be like.
More information: amy.faris@seattlechildrens.org
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Soliciting in order to raise money for the medical supplies we were to bring on our trip. Contact other health professions to assist us on our trip because they are the only way how we can treat them. The volunteers and leaders who were mainly under-graduates were only able to observe, assist and scribe for the health professionals."
When and for how long: From the beginning of 2014 until late september of the same year.
Provider contact: Scribe for the medical care providers. Some students and I were able to become translators between the patients and the health professions. Medical care providers were also able to teach us diseases/sicknesses the patients had, and how we can tell from our diagnosis on how they have it.
Patient & community contact: Consulting with the villagers. Teaching them on how to take their medication. Teaching them what their sickness is. Teaching patients the basics of public health (Water sanitation, risks of drinking alcohol/smoking obsessively, brushing teeth), in order to prevent exposure to some microbes that can cause harm to us.
Liked best: Going to a different country and using my ability to interact with patients in a medical/clinical setting. Working in a clinic that was student ran. A lot of work and communication was required.
More information: info@vnhealth.org
Sea Mar Community Health Centers
"I perform music for residents and patients of the Sea Mar Community Care Center in White Center."
When and for how long: I have been volunteering since March 2014, taking a break over the summer.
Provider contact: I interact primarily with nurses, nursing assistants, and other care staff.
Patient & community contact: I interact with the patients directly when I play music for them. I try to engage them with songs they like and encourage them to sing along.
Liked best: I love seeing the patients/residents respond to my music and sing along with me. I like getting to know them on an individual basis and seeing them regularly.
More information: http://www.seamar.org/static_pages/volunteer.php
Fellowship Bible Church
"I was part of a Medical Outreach team providing medical relief in the jungles of Africa, specifically Liberia. My role was to screen patients, building medical history and symptom reports allowing our limited team of doctors to see more patients quickly."
When and for how long: June 2013 for 3 weeks
Provider contact: I worked side by side both nurses and doctors to bring direly needed medical supplies and aid to one of the poorest nations in the world. I made the initial contact with patients, separating the severely sick to those that are simply dehydrated but lack even the basic knowledge of health awareness to realize it. This allowed the Doctors to maximize time with the truly sick patients coming through our clinic.
Patient & community contact: I was able to have numerous one-on-one patient interactions seeing anywhere from 20-40 patients in a day. Putting the patient at ease, making them comfortable and then making an initial assessment of the patient needs.
Liked best: The best part of this experience was the patient interactions. I have never been exposed to such poverty, sickness and starvation. Meeting countless Africans every day who live incredibly difficult lives was a humbling experience. Learning how to communicate through cultural gaps was both difficult and rewarding. The singly most influential experience was my encounter with my very first patient, a mother bringing her 8 year old son. The boy was severely emaciated and paralyzed to the point that he could not support his own head nor move anything more than his eyes. He had been this way for 2 months and his body was rejecting any sustenance. With primitive medical diagnostic equipment our doctors were unable to do much more than guess what was causing the symptoms. This boy, Togba, stayed under my care for three days before he finally died. I will never forget Togba, and he is largely the reason for my pursuit of medical school.
Sea Mar Community Health Center
"I was in charge of leading small groups of the migrant children in short lessons and educational activities concerning preventive dental health care techniques, including proper teeth brushing and flossing methods."
When and for how long: For approx. 3 hours during 3 different mobile medical and dental education clinics at a migrant workers camp in Mount Vernon, WA. Summer 2013.
Provider contact: I worked with the dental health care providers while preparing the material I was in charge of presenting the children with. When my presentations were over, I also helped run supplies to the stations where the dental health care providers were.
Patient & community contact: I was able to work closely with the children of the migrant workers to help give them some basic preventive health care education. Several times that day, I also had to translate for one of the other volunteers while they were giving their presentation and running through their activity. I was able to help answer the children's questions, mostly in English and a bit in Spanish to the best of my ability.
Liked best: It was a really unique experience and not something I would have pictured myself doing when I thought about volunteering in the health care field. The mobile clinic not only provided education workshops for the children and adults in this migrant camp, they also provided free dental and medical check ups to the people there and even performed basic procedures on patients (some of which I was able to observe). The work I did may have been centered a little more on education but it was really rewarding to be able to show someone how they can avoid bad oral health so it doesn't come back to bite them in the future. I really enjoyed how hands on and interactive of an experience it was, especially with a population that is typically underserved in the health care field.
More information: Sea Mar CHC - Mount Vernon Dental Clinic 1400 N LaVenture Mount Vernon, Washington 98273
UWMC
"escort, greet patients, check on patients and see if they need anything, stocking, cleaning rooms, etc"
When and for how long: almost 2 years
Provider contact: Lots of opportunities to interact with medical care providers especially the nurses since you are often actively acting as a communication bridge between them and the patients while you are rounding on patients and checking if they are doing well. Many opportunities to see healthcare providers and patients contact too.
Patient & community contact: Talk to patients and family members to try to make sure they are staying in the hospital as comfortable as the conditions allowed. Listen to their medical concerns and notify the medical care providers if necessary.
Liked best: Lots of opportunities to interact with both patients and healthcare providers, and learn to deal with different kind of situations.
More information: Main phone: 206-598-4218 UWMC Room NN-303 Appointments may be necessary. Call for Volunteer Manager office hours.
Atlantis Project
"As an Atlantis Project fellow, I was able to travel to the Canary Islands in Spain and earn over 100 hours of shadowing experience. I spent a week each in 5 different specialties and was able to observe physicians overseas to gain experience in the medical field. I had to learn how to speak Spanish before I went, but was able to learn enough to understand what was going on in the hospitals."
When and for how long: July-August 2014, 5 weeks
Provider contact: I interacted the most with medical care providers. As I was shadowing them, they explained everything that was going on at a given moment and spent time really teaching me their procedures and course of action. I was able to learn from them and watch them give patient care, both in consultations and surgeries.
Patient & community contact: I did not have any physical contact with patients. However, I was able to watch their appointments and have friendly conversation with them while in the room.
Liked best: I was able to travel the world while earning both shadowing experience and volunteer experience in their hospitals. It was an amazing experience that taught me a lot about healthcare as well as myself. I was able to see a lot of different kinds of specialties, which was a great opportunity. I shadowed some that were never even on my radar, but learned that they were fields I was very interested in. Seeing healthcare outside of the US really put a lot of things into perspective for me, and I would recommend exploring these kinds of opportunities while in school.
More information: Meagan Wilson; admissions@atlantis-project.org
Harrison Medical Center
"My role as a volunteer for the hospital was to help guide patients around the hospital, help support staff provide family members with updates while loved ones were in surgery, and general office support such as filing papers, etc. Patient confidentiality is always a crucial component of working in the hospital setting and along with this responsibility it was crucial that I was efficient and knowledgeable at providing patient support."
When and for how long: Summer 2013, 3 months
Provider contact: During this time I had brief interactions with doctors, as most of my responsibilities and duties required more contact with support staff, receptionists, and nurses rather than direct support to the doctors themselves.
Patient & community contact: Most of my interactions on a day to day basis was with patients and their families, making sure they knew where to go for appointments and helping make them feel welcome and comfortable while in our care at the hospital. I was also in direct contact with other community volunteers who helped out in similar positions that I was in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was getting to understand the patient experience from the time they entered the front doors to the time they left. Having had contact with both patients and their families I got a unique insight into how they felt about their hospital experiences and how we could make changes to make patients and family members as comfortable as possible when having to seek medical care through the providers at our local hospital.
More information: harrisonmedical.org
Harborview Medical Center
"Located in the Emergency Department you assist the Medical Assistants and the Nursing staff with restocking and room set up. Work with patients to make their stay more comfortable, as well as transporting patients to various places. General housekeeping responsibilities."
When and for how long: Oct 2013 - Present
Provider contact: Very constant interactions with MA's and Nurses, by assisting them with their needs of stocking and running errands. Minimal contact with physicians and EMTs, mostly just observation of their interactions with patients.
Patient & community contact: Patient contact varies with the flow of the emergency department. Generally the patient contact includes delivering warm blankets and water to patients, occasionally escorting patients to waiting areas and the pharmacy.
Liked best: The best thing about volunteering in the Emergency Department is the wide variety of patients that you get to interact with and observe the doctor patient relationship. Each week you could interact with entirely different patients than you saw the previous week.
More information: hmcvol@u.washington.edu.
UWMC volunteer servicces
"Transport patients via wheelchair to appointments. Greet, direct and provide way-finding for patients and visitors. Maintain cleanliness of patient and public waiting areas. Escort/walk patients and visitors to clinic locations. Discharge patients to third floor lobby / UWMC entrance. Deliver flowers, mail, books and magazines to patients. Deliver charts, specimens and supplies throughout medical center All around help"
When and for how long: I've been a volunteer for two years
Provider contact: Contact with medical professionals is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Patient & community contact: Contact with medical professionals and families is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Liked best: As a volunteer at the UWMC your experience is entirely in your control. If you are nervous and alittle shyer you can hang back and just deliver specimens,organize paperwork, and direct patients very low key tasks. Or you can volunteer in a department like one of the ICU's and be very much in the middle of the chaos which can be alittle scarier but also very enlightening and a great learning opportunity. However, either way you're getting to see the hospital's inner workings in and get to soak in how the hospital runs while making a difference because have no doubt the UWMC would not work nearly as efficiently without their volunteers.
Other notes: They do not spoon feed you a volunteer position nor check in with how you are doing as a volunteer. To get started you have to take a lot of initiative and once you're a volunteer if you're unhappy in you're position it's up to you to go check in with volunteer services. They're happy to help once you go in but this isn't a volunteer program that cares if you're having a valuable experience or not. If you like a sense of leadership and community from programs you're involved in I wouldn't recommend this one because it is a very independent type of position at the UWMC.But very convenient in proximity.
More information: 206-598-4218 webpage: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
COPE Health Solutions
"Accountable for answering the patients’ call lights and assisting them with basic care requests on the assigned floor unit (about 25 patients) at Swedish Hopsital. Provide patient care after surgery, including assisting nursing staff with feeding patients, ambulating patients, changing linens, visiting with patients, and wound care."
When and for how long: I started August 2014 and am still in the program
Provider contact: There is a lot of contact with nurses and fewer with physicians, but there is still contact and interaction with physicians when they are rounding and checking-in with patients and conversing with them.
Patient & community contact: There is hands-on care with patients where some tasks are done by yourself or with assistance to nurse. The family of patients are often there during the recovery process.
Liked best: You get a lot of hands-on experience with patient care and interaction with health care team in the hospital.
More information: Poornima Bajwa
Union Gospel Mission Dental Clinic
"As volunteers, we make sure that the clinic is in order and clean. We also greet patients and set up the stations where they have their appointments. Volunteers learn to assist chair side with local dentists who also volunteer their time at the UGM dental clinic, take x-rays and develop film, and how to sterilize dental tools. Although volunteer work at the UGM dental clinic goes far beyond the office, as volunteers can also help by organizing fundraisers, applying for grants, and other activities that help organize the clinic."
When and for how long: I began volunteering there in August 2014 and still currently volunteer there
Provider contact: I get to work alongside the providers as they are treating and helping patients. It is really great to be able to do this as many of the dentists understand that the volunteers are aspiring to go to dental school, so they are very accommodating with explaining what they are doing and why.
Patient & community contact: At the UGM, we get to work directly with patients by taking their dental history, blood pressure, and encouraging them to consistently come in when they can for dental care. With the patients, our job is to make them feel welcomed and make sure they get the best care possible with the available resources.
Liked best: Not only do I get hands on experience volunteering at the UGM dental clinic, I get to learn so many things about other important aspects in dentistry other than just teeth. For example, I learn the importance of sterilization and how to do that, how to take x-rays, and the incredible work that dental assistants do for dentists. I also get to see a wide range of patients and learn more about them and their lives.
More information: Juanita Banks --> jbanks@ugm.org
University of Washington Global Medical Brigade
"Global Medical Brigades develops sustainable health initiatives and provides relief where there is limited access to health care. Global Medical Brigades is just one part of the Global Brigades organization. Other programs include dental, public health, water, environmental, architecture, law, business, and microfinance. Together, these programs make up the world's largest student-led development organization and work off each other since there are many overlapping factors of our work. For Global Medical Brigades, students and recruited health professionals travel together to rural villages to provide free health care and conduct health education workshops to empower local leaders."
When and for how long: In the club for one year, travelled to Panama for a medical mission for one week of September 2013. (Now the group goes to Nicaragua)
Provider contact: We interacted with nurses and physicians. Triage is usually comprised of nurses and is the next stop for patients after intake. In triage, patients relay their symptoms and ailments while volunteers administer glucose tests, take blood pressure, weigh patients, etc. Nurses oversee any volunteer/patient conversations, aid in translation, description of symptoms, and vital taking. The consultation station is comprised of doctors who attend to patients after they have been through triage. Doctors consult, diagnose and then prescribe the medication they feel is best suited for each individual patient. If a doctor comes across an ailment they feel the brigade does not have the proper medication or equipment to address, that doctor can refer the patient to the clinic for further treatment provided free of cost by Global Medical Brigades. Students purely observe during this rotation with the opportunity to ask the physician questions about diagnosis and treatment plan.
Patient & community contact: Each brigade consists of different stations (typically intake, triage, physician consultation, pharmacy, and health education). Each volunteer will be rotated through each station, although it is much easier to place Spanish speaking volunteers to certain roles, such as translating and triage. Patients generally wait in line to be seen by students working in triage, then by the doctors in the consultation room. All patients receive prescribed medication and vitamins, in addition to attending health education workshops we put on. Volunteers interact with patients at each level, with more observation when shadowing the consultation. We also rotated through a "break" station and in this gap we played games with the children in the school yard.
Liked best: This was an incredible opportunity to experience the lifestyle and culture of a country very different from the US. I appreciated the exposure to diversity, the mode of rural health care in a third world country, and the role of healthcare in the every day context for Panamanians.
Other notes: There is a fee to participate and it's a competitive application. Apps usually open fall quarter with the trip planned for the end of summer following the application cycle.
More information: uwbrigades@gmail.com
Dental Mission Trips
"Simple assisting jobs such as sterilizing equipment and calling patients because I am not trained to be a dentist and do not yet have the ability to work on patients."
When and for how long: 3 weeks
Provider contact: Some days I would have more contact with the care providers that others. On days I had the most contact with them, I was with them while they were working on a patient and handing them tools. On the days that I had less contact with them, I would be sterilizing instruments or calling patients.
Patient & community contact: Like with the care providers, the amount of contact I had with the patients fluctuated. Depending on the day, I would have short conversations with them, or I would only check them in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was being able to make a difference in the daily lives of the patients and being able to see how grateful they were for something that I often take for granted. It really changed the way I viewed my everyday health care.
More information: dentalmissiontrips@gmail.com
Neighborcare Health
"Community outreach volunteer, did outreach to current medical patients to referred them to our dental clinic. Well child check reminders to infants and childrens."
When and for how long: Was there since 2012
Provider contact: Did not really have much contact with medical care providers. I did shadow the dental providers and have a great relationship with them.
Patient & community contact: Usually not much due to working in the office.
Liked best: Learning about how healthcare works.
More information: 206-461-6935 or info@neighborcare.org
Seattle Children's Hospital
"My volunteer title was :Child Life Volunteer. There are many different departments that volunteers can choose from but I chose child life because it had maximum patient interaction. I volunteered 3 hours per week. My role consisted of setting up and cleaning up the communal patient playroom. These tasks were completed at the beginning and end of the shift. In between these times I visited various patient rooms, bringing toys, books, etc. I would spend time with patients and allow parents/guardians to take a break, if they wished."
When and for how long: April 2013-October 2013
Provider contact: I spoke to nurses prior to entering each patient room in order to check base about specific patient precautions or other details.
Patient & community contact: I had direct contact with patients and family members. I visited them in their rooms. My role for the patient was to provide some sort of entertainment or distraction by being a non-medicine related interaction. My role for the parent was to offer assistance by giving them time to leave the patient room with the assurance that someone was still with the patient.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience was interacting with patients. My role was small but it was great to get to know patients/families. Another great aspect about volunteering was simply seeing the environment of Children's. Having volunteered at Swedish Edmonds Hospital prior, I was able to directly compare the environments. It was very eye-opening to see how different hospitals can tailor to the specific needs of their patients.
More information: Chelsea Sandlin
Seattle Children's Hospital in Belleuve
"I had a few different roles at the hospital. I started off as a greeter at the main entrance, making sure to answer that patients and their families feel welcomed and get all the information necessary while at the hospital. I would usually provide information about the facility, such as where the restrooms are, where the vending machines are, where they need to check in for their appointments, what is the closest restaurant or grocery store, how to get on I-5 or 520. My second position was at a Surgery Center desk where I served as a mediator between the medical staff and families of the patients getting the surgical procedure. I was the one to greet them as they walk out of the induction room after their child has been put the sleep, make sure they know around what time the procedure should be done, what are the next steps for them and for their child and to take them either straight to the recovery or to the waiting room. The third position that I am just starting is in the recovery room where I am making sure that recovery rooms are cleaned and set up for the next patient."
When and for how long: I am volunteering there since July 2014
Provider contact: As a volunteer are a surgery center, I had to keep track of the cases and families in the waiting area, recovery and rooms. Drs. needed everything to run smoothly at the waiting room with parents so they can talk to them about the procedure and move to the next case. I had a responsibility of making sure the family is in their assigned waiting room at the time the doctor walks in to talk to them. As the schedules sometimes get very busy, I needed to coordinate with the charge and induction room nurse to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Patient & community contact: Right after the induction room, I was the first person that family and parents would talk to. They would usually be very emotional after seeing their child go to sleep, and I would make sure they are ok. I would let them know how long the procedure is and when the doctor should be coming to talk to them. I would walk them to their waiting room and let them know as soon as they are able to go back to the recovery room and rejoin with their child. In the mean time, for anything they need I would be the first source. I made sure they knew my name and my role and that they are being the most comfortable during their stay.
Liked best: The best thing was to feel that you are making families the most comfortable with their stay in the hospital while their child is getting a procedure. Multiple times I have been thanked for the service as I have contributed to making their stay at the hospital the most pleasant as it can be. Additionally, I got to see how the whole hospital works and how many people and different professions it takes to make the hospital work properly. I as a volunteer had a clear role and felt that I was making a great contribution toward making the families and patients satisfied with the service at Seattle Children's.
More information: Patricia Hovik, patricia.hovik@seattlechildrens.org
Seattle Union Gospel Mission
"Sterilization, Assistant chair-side with dentist, cleaning, preparing and taking down rooms, maintenance of facility"
When and for how long: November 2014 - present
Provider contact: The volunteers mostly talk to the dental assistant(s) there, but since the facility is so small, talking with dentists are very common as well
Patient & community contact: I have no contact to the patients
Liked best: Being in a dental enviroment and learning about the preliminary skills someone who wants to go into dentistry should have.
More information: ugm.com/volunteer
Evergreen Hospital
"Discharging patients, various administrative activities, delivering various packages, and escorting visitors."
When and for how long: 2008-2012
Provider contact: You were able to interact with nurses when discharging patients or delivering goods to various wards.
Patient & community contact: There was a lot of patient and visitor contact. The volunteer run information desk was the main location for patients and visitors to learn how to get around the hospital.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience was that the management allows you to think on your feet and problem solve under pressure without giving you direct commands unless the situation demands them.
More information: For more information, call the Volunteer office at 425.899.1994 or email mllong@evergreenhealthcare.org.
Swedish Hospital
"To assist all medical care providers with all types of tasks that promote the efficiency and quality of healthcare towards patients. These tasks can include rounding, transporting and comforting patients, as well as stocking and organizing medical supplies."
When and for how long: 4 hour shifts, past 2 years
Provider contact: I volunteer directly under the supervision and direction of medical care providers. I provide assistance with anything during medical preparations or procedures.
Patient & community contact: I am always checking in on patients during the brief or extended times that they are in the emergency department. My purpose is to provide comfort and information for patients and their families while they wait for procedures or results etc.
Liked best: My favorite experience was with a patient X. I recognized her from a different volunteering facility that I was a part of prior to this position. I had gotten to know her well with that other facility. She was an elderly woman with a severe hearing difficulty, and she too, recognized me when I checked in on her during my rounds at the ER. Her face lit up when she saw my familiar face in the hospital. She has a hard time hearing, and I knew that, so I already had a sense of how to make her feel comfortable and at ease. I spent a good time with her, sitting next to her and holding her hand to provide some comfort in such a busy and overwhelming ER. It really made me happy, and her too, to spend some time together in what can be an upsetting situation: sick and vulnerable at a busy ER.
More information: 425-640-4341
Red Cross
"I was a volunteer at first aid stations at various events in Seattle such as Hempfest and alcoholics anonymous. I helped people who need care, from something as small as a bandaid to having a concussion and needing to go to the hospital. This was a very rewarding experience and the red cross gives you all the training for free."
When and for how long: spring/summer/fall 2014
Provider contact: You work with other volunteers and also AMR first responders, EMTs.
Patient & community contact: You have direct contact with community members and you directly treat/help them when you are at the first aid station or when you are doing rounds around the event.
Liked best: There is a lot of patient contact and a lot of opportunities to learn more about first aid and emergency response.
More information: Brendon.Bottle@redcross.org
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Rural Mobile Health Clinic
"I was part of a rural mobile health clinic located in Surin, Thailand as a medical volunteer and some of the tasks were making medicine kits, dressing wounds, measuring blood pressure, etc."
When and for how long: 15 days
Provider contact: I had direct contact with the local doctors and nurses there.
Patient & community contact: I also had close, direct contact with the patients that came to the community clinic through dressing wounds and basic health measurements.
Liked best: It really changed my way of pursuing medicine in that I strived with a less self-centered approach and more humanitarian.
More information: N/A
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"I shadowed primary care physicians in Moses Lake from Monday through Thursday, then went to a local high school on Friday morning to talk about the values of higher education."
When and for how long: Spring break, the whole week
Provider contact: I shadowed a different physician each day, and got to chat with them during down times and ask about medicine.
Patient & community contact: We lived with a woman in a trailer park, and learned a lot about the community. We also heard a lot about the issues facing the community from the doctors we shadowed and the staff at the clinic.
Liked best: This experience solidified my desire to go to medical school, and piqued my interest in primary care.
More information: hcasb@uw.edu
COPE Health Solutions
"Responsibilities include assisting nurses and other staff with tasks involved in patient care such as feeding, changing, and bathing patients. Other office type duties are performed as well as simply sitting in and watching various procedures."
When and for how long: June 2014-Current
Provider contact: This internship provides undergraduate students with 3 month rotations on varying units of the hospital to assist medical staff in providing comfort care tasks for the patients. Also there is the opportunity to shadow doctors and other specialists and sit in on varying procedures.
Patient & community contact: One of the best parts of this volunteer opportunity is that there is a significant amount of interaction with patients and their families. Most of the time the interactions are simple and brief, but other times the patients or family are looking for someone to talk to. One of the best parts about this volunteer position has simply been listening to the stories and experiences of those that I have interacted with.
Liked best: Networking with professionals in the field and seeing them at work
More information: Poornima Bajwa email: pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
Swedish Hospital Edmonds
"Working in the front desk, helping patients, wheel chairing patients."
When and for how long: High School for 1 year
Provider contact: Not very much. Mostly communicated with nurses.
Patient & community contact: Lots of patient interaction.
Liked best: Being in the hospital setting, which allowed me to see the interactions and hospital community. Seeing this actually deterred me away from becoming a doctor because I look more local and close interactions.
More information: Volunteer Coordinator

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UWMC
"My role as a medical volunteer was to interact with many patients and keep the medical environment clean. By greeting people, helping them find their way throughout the center, and aid those who need help, I create an open and friendly environment for UWMC. By wiping down equipment after use, deliver paperwork and charts, and make sure equipment is stocked, I keep the medical environment clean and organized."
When and for how long: Flexible hours (4 hours a week) for one year.
Provider contact: My contact with medical care providers is through delivering charts and paperwork to those who request it. I also assist them with non-patient care duties.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients is to provide them with as much help as I can, including escorting patients to locations, transporting those in wheelchairs, and delivering items to patients, while maintaining a friendly environment.
Liked best: Lots of exposure. If you need a place to learn about the everyday workings of a medical institution, this is the place for you.
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
HealthPoint
"My main role was to make reminder phone calls to patients that need to come in for their annual check up/well child check up/mammogram/etc. I would also aid in various other administrative duties when needed."
When and for how long: July-September 2012
Provider contact: I was introduced to all the medical care providers in the clinic and had the option to shadow but I was not able to do so at the time.
Patient & community contact: I would be given a list of patients of all ages to call. The patients were for the most part from the surrounding community. I spoke to many of the patients on these lists about coming into the clinic for the check up they were due for.
Liked best: This was where I first learned not to take negative comments people may say to heart. Often times patients would not know what I was calling for and think I was trying to sell them a product they were not interested in.
Other notes: Although this opportunity did not necessarily provide me experience with a doctor or nurse directly, I was grateful for the patient contact. I was able to talk to patients and learned about the language barriers that may come between a provider and a patient which was not something I had previously thought about before. Also, HealthPoint provides care for many low income families. It is difficult to provide preventative care when patients don't want to come in to see the doctor whether it is for financial reasons or because they don't understand what their check up is for.
More information: 425-277-1566
Lady of the Sea Hospital: Surgical Department (Los Angeles)
"I would mainly catalog, label, and put away all of the surgical supplies. I would also help the nurses with other work including helping to set up operating rooms for a procedure."
When and for how long: 3 years ago. I was there a couple days a week for a month or so.
Provider contact: I was mostly in contact with the nurses, although I would meet the surgeons when they came. I also met the anesthesiologist and he showed me his equipment, and described the work that he did.
Patient & community contact: They didn't let me contact any of the patients.
Liked best: I thought it was beneficial because I was able to witness all the work that goes on in a surgical department before a surgeon arrives and after he leaves. I saw how much of a team effort it was to provide medical care. The nurses would show me about the equipment and supplies that they use during operations and describe different procedures and their experiences with them.
More information: (985) 632-6401
Camp Korey
"Take care of the campers (campers were separated into cabins by age groups) and take whole cabin activity to activity, as well as make sure the campers take their designated medicine at the appropriate times."
When and for how long: Summer 2014, week-long
Provider contact: We mainly checked in with our designated cabin's nurse to make sure the campers have taken their medications and if there was anything to watch out for, but there was a constant direct contact.
Patient & community contact: Family wasn't allowed at the camp other than to drop and pick off their kids. But we oversaw everything the patients (campers) did throughout the week and watched out for their wellbeing. We kept the spirit and energy up as well!
Liked best: Being able to be around children, who are facing life's biggest struggles, and still see them be overjoyed by life's small, happy moments is incredibly heartwarming. It was an exhausting volunteer position, but it was very rewarding seeing how you can make an impact on these kids' lives.
More information: Janelle Kitson: 425-844-3190, jkitson@campkorey.org
University of Washington Medical Center
"Escort services: transport of patients flower deliveries specimen deliveries"
When and for how long: September 2014- present (4 months)
Provider contact: very limited
Patient & community contact: lots of patient contact when discharging patients and or transporting them
Liked best: Being able to interact with patients is very helpful to discover how I personally am around sick people. It teaches you what it will be like to provide for all types of people with various illnesses, moods, conditions and personalities.
Seattle Children's (Observership)
"This program guaranteed 20 shadowing hours over the course of a quarter. I was paired with a neurosurgeon and was able to shadow him in the operating room and during his clinic times."
When and for how long: Fall 2013, one quarter
Provider contact: I had direct contact with the attending physician, the fellows, the residents, the nurses, and the technicians.
Patient & community contact: I had very limited direct interaction with patients or family members, but I was able to observe their interactions with the physician.
Liked best: This experience gave me great insight into "the day in the life" of a physician. I learned a lot about how a doctor interacts with patients and coworkers and how a hospital is organized and run.
More information: search for "Observership", within the "Education" section of the web site; this is an application
Global Dental Brigades UW Chapter
"I was in charge of holding charlas where I showed kids how to brush. I also got the chance to shadowing a dentist while she performed dental procedures."
When and for how long: Summer of 2013, 9 days
Provider contact: I shadowed a dentist and got to ask any questions I had.
Patient & community contact: I got to teach them how to brush and take care of there oral hygiene.
Liked best: The best part was when the kids got there brushes and they treated it as if they had just got there hands on the newest piece of technology.
More information: Depends who is president of the club that year
Prep-Step Health Care Scholarship Program
"Help out the nursing staff and NAC staff on the patient floors with patient care such as: cleaning up, providing meals, talking to patients, running messages to the staff, and ambulating patients."
When and for how long: Since August 2014 to currently
Provider contact: I directly get instruction and advice from the healthcare staff. Physicians are relatively rare throughout the day, but I get to see the constant work that the nurses and NAC's do all day.
Patient & community contact: I have the opportunity to speak directly with patients and their family members. Sometimes patients want to be left alone, but sometimes they want more interaction than the nurses can provide with their busy schedules.
Liked best: Getting to spend extended time with the nursing staff and seeing how important treating patients as individual people is to their overall care and experience in the hospital.
More information: 206-386-3879
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Translate for American doctors and dentists to diagnose Vietnamese villagers. Sort medicine into small bags for prescribing and explain to patients how to use."
When and for how long: 2 weeks but trained for 1 year
Provider contact: Become the voice for the doctors and dentists to help the patients understand dental treatments (usually teeth extractions) or diagnosis.
Patient & community contact: To fund the cost of the medicine and supplies we had to host a banquet which required contact with family and businesses to support us. That year we raised 28K in one night.
Liked best: Living in a foreign country for 2 weeks. Making new friends with the student volunteers and health professionals. Stark difference in the appreciation of care from Vietnamese patients vs American patients.
More information: Scott Fung
Harborview
"Worked in the ER, helped RNs and doctors Restocked shelves Cleaned and prepared cots Observed Trauma Care"
When and for how long: Summer of Junior Year
Provider contact: Mostly observation
Patient & community contact: I did not interact with patients unless they requested my assistance
Liked best: I think the best part was observing the health care providers and seeing how a hospital ran from the inside.
Group Health Cooperative - Capitol Hill
"I volunteer in the Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy department, doing maintenance/cleaning duties and shadowing physical therapists, getting exposure and experience for the PT profession."
When and for how long: Spring 2014-Present
Provider contact: Contact with Physical Therapists included shadowing/assisting the PTs when needed where appropriate.
Patient & community contact: Assisted patients with some exercises, sometimes just observed and learned diagnostic/rehabilitative strategies & techniques.
Liked best: Group Health is a welcoming environment, and the PT department at Capitol Hill is filled with great role models for the profession. I have the utmost respect for the physical therapists there, and have enjoyed observing and learning from them. Your volunteer hours are flexible, and they help make the volunteering experience work for your schedule.
More information: Jeannette Flodin, flodin.j@ghc.org (Volunteer Coordinator)
Med Life
"Volunteer for a medical brigade- to bring free medicine/healthcare to underserved, and impoverished communities. I went on two separate occasions- once in Lima, Peru, and then in Tena, Ecuador. Both wonderful experiences, I got to help heakth professionals set up the clinics, sort medicine, translate, and take vitals and mecial history of the patients."
When and for how long: April 2012; December 2013
Provider contact: Side by side, watching them work! Sometimes I would translate from Spanish to English for other students observing.
Patient & community contact: Once again, very hands on, especially when writing down medical history and taking vitals. I got to learn a lot about the way certain people in communities live, by speaking to people who waited in line for care.
Liked best: It simply feels good to help people who need it.
More information: www.medlifeweb.org
PCLI
"My role at the cataract eye surgery clinic: PCLI was to shadow optometrists, anesthesiologist, and ophthalmologist. as they prepared patients and went through routine checks before they were ready to go through cataract eye surgeries. Then I met the anesthesiologist that numbed the patients and finally the ophthalmologist performing all the surgeries."
When and for how long: September 2014, for one day.
Provider contact: I shadowed the optometrists as they prepared patients and went through routine checks before they were ready to go through cataract eye surgeries. Then I met the anesthesiologist that numbed the patients and finally the ophthalmologist performing all the surgeries.
Patient & community contact: I followed a patient every step of the way, from the waiting room all the way to the end of her surgery. This allowed me to build a strong connection with her because I had become her friend, holding her hand through every step, and was able to hear about her case through the numerous doctors perspectives and for her side as well, regarding her current eye health condition.
Liked best: The very up close experience of being in my very first surgery setting. I felt like I was a doctor at that moment because of how close I was during the process and the connection I had built with the patients and doctors, I felt as though I was one of them.
University of Washington Athletic Department
"I am a sports medicine intern through the University of Washington Athletic department. I shadow different athletic trainers as they treat the athletes. I assist in some rehab and different modalities to help the student athletes in their recovery. I also help by disinfecting and cleaning different pieces of equipment as well as assisting in the set up of onsite first aid and water stations."
When and for how long: From August 2014-present
Provider contact: I work directly under one athletic trainer assigned to one sport and rotate to a different athletic trainer every month or so.
Patient & community contact: I am right beside the athletic trainer as they treat the different patients. I also directly work with the patient by providing them with different treatments such as massage, ice, deep muscle stimulating (DMS), etc.
Liked best: Being able to build a rapport with the athletes that came in for multiple treatments. Working with them directly and building a connection with them by helping them.
More information: Michael Dillon, mldillon@uw.edu
Prep Step Health Care Scholar Program at Swedish Medical Center First Hill
"As a prep-step health care scholar I am assigned to a unit in the hospital on a 3 month rotation basis where I assist staff and patients with whatever they need. Duties can include stocking the unit, discharging patients, assisting NAC's and nurses with patient care, taking vitals, rounding on patients, and answering call lights."
When and for how long: I have been a prep-step for a little over 3 months and am currently in the program.
Provider contact: In this position you get a lot of contact with nurses and nursing assistants. The nurses are often willing to let you shadow them while they interact with patients and will answer questions and explain their tasks. Physicians, Physician Assistants, nutritionists, and physical therapists are on the floor less frequently so it is more difficult to talk with them but when they are around, they are often willing to let you watch procedures and ask questions.
Patient & community contact: This program provides lots of opportunity for interaction with patients and their visitors. Through rounding you have the opportunity to go into each patient's room and chat with them and their family if they engage you in conversation. Many of my best experiences I have had occurred through conversations with patients. You also are trained to assist NAC's and nurses with various patient care tasks like walking, taking vitals, feeding, and repositioning.
Liked best: The best part about this experience is being able to make a true difference in a patient's hospital stay. I have had many experiences with patients where I was able to make them feel cared for and comfortable while going through a painful and scary experience. I am also looking forward to experiencing different units in the hospital so I can get a better idea of what area of medicine is right for me.
More information: https://www.l3connect.org/prospective-applicants/cce-faq Program Director: Poornima Bajwa pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
UW Medical Center
"Transporting stable patients, restocking medical supplies, and bringing biological samples to the labs."
When and for how long: Summer 2013-Winter 2014
Provider contact: Being close to the patients allowed me to see how medical care providers interacted with them. This gave me a better sense of how to interact with and care for patients in difficult circumstances. I often observed doctors and nurses navigate through difficult conversations to give their patients hope for the next step of their treatment.
Patient & community contact: Transporting patients meant that I often was able to have conversations with them about life. From these chats I got a better sense of the patient perspective with regards to hospital settings and medicine in general.
Liked best: More often than not, patients were very willing to give me life advice or express their expectations of a good doctor. The experience made me realize that I can often get just as much support from patients as I can give to them.
More information: 206-598-4218
Seattle Children's Hospital
"Child Life volunteer. I was going to the patients' rooms or playing with the patients at the playroom."
When and for how long: Fall, Winter 2012
Provider contact: I need to check in/out with the nurses before and after I played with patients. I was sometimes allowed to stay in the room while doctors were examining the patients.
Patient & community contact: I was directly in contact with the parents/caregivers of the patients. I not only played with the kids and entertaining them, but also was giving some space for the parents so that they can have some free time for themselves.
Liked best: Making kids happy. The best reward was to seeing unhealthy and sometimes unhappy kids smiling and having fun.
More information: Alison Garrison, email: alison.garrison@seattlechildrens.org
University of Washington Medical Center
"Volunteer patient escort: escorting patients around the hospital via wheelchairs or walking Volunteer in ICU: cleaning/stocking medical supplies, retrieving items for patients, clerical duties (answering the phone, filing paperwork)"
When and for how long: 2011-2013
Provider contact: Opportunity to observe procedures performed by physicians
Patient & community contact: Reading to and/or feeding patients, escorting families and patients in and out of the hospital
Liked best: Interacting with patients, observing the harsh realities, and also the beauty of medicine
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
Seattle Children's Hospital
"I volunteer in the Child Life department - so my major role is to interact (basically spend time/hang out and play) with patients in need. This may be due to the patient's parents needing a break, or it can be a case where the patient's family is not in the same country. Either way, the goal is to let the patient feel more at home at the hospital by providing them with a better experience during their stay at Seattle Children's. Before and after spending time with patients, I help clean and organize toys for the playroom, as well as prepare and clean up the playroom itself."
When and for how long: Started in Fall of 2013, and still volunteering
Provider contact: Before I visit each patient, I get to speak with the nurse about any problems or concerns I should keep in mind about the patient. The nurse will occasionally visit the room (usually to check vitals) during my stay. Generally, the nurses are quite friendly, and will ask me about what I do, what I am studying and what my future goals are. On 'rare' occasions, a doctor (presumably the surgeon for the patient in some cases), and more often residences, will stop by as well. In these instances, they may also ask about my background - but usually they are concentrating on the patient! (Which does give a good insight on what they do)
Patient & community contact: My interactions with the patients are fairly direct - I get to play games, talk, watch movies and more with them. My contact with the patient's family members (usually their parents) is less frequent. However, most parents at the hospital are nice and enjoy talking with me for a little bit. They do enjoy being able to talk about their experiences and concerns about what is happening with their child - which they may not be able to do too often.
Liked best: For me, the people who I work with in this hospital - be it volunteers, doctors, nurses or receptionists - have really opened me up to an outstanding group of individuals. These people genuinely care about other's well-being; and wanting to go into a medical profession, I feel that that is the most important asset to have. Seattle Children's gives a fantastic example of how a family-friendly hospital should be like.
More information: amy.faris@seattlechildrens.org
Little Bit Theraputic Riding Center
"Interact with horses and children with disabilities and their parents."
When and for how long: High school 4 years and college
Provider contact: Physical therapists control the class and give instructions.
Patient & community contact: Talk to parents before and after the class, help the kids ride and play games with them.
Liked best: Seeing the kids have fun and seeing the differences from week to week
More information: (425) 882-1554
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Soliciting in order to raise money for the medical supplies we were to bring on our trip. Contact other health professions to assist us on our trip because they are the only way how we can treat them. The volunteers and leaders who were mainly under-graduates were only able to observe, assist and scribe for the health professionals."
When and for how long: From the beginning of 2014 until late september of the same year.
Provider contact: Scribe for the medical care providers. Some students and I were able to become translators between the patients and the health professions. Medical care providers were also able to teach us diseases/sicknesses the patients had, and how we can tell from our diagnosis on how they have it.
Patient & community contact: Consulting with the villagers. Teaching them on how to take their medication. Teaching them what their sickness is. Teaching patients the basics of public health (Water sanitation, risks of drinking alcohol/smoking obsessively, brushing teeth), in order to prevent exposure to some microbes that can cause harm to us.
Liked best: Going to a different country and using my ability to interact with patients in a medical/clinical setting. Working in a clinic that was student ran. A lot of work and communication was required.
More information: info@vnhealth.org
Sea Mar Community Health Centers
"I perform music for residents and patients of the Sea Mar Community Care Center in White Center."
When and for how long: I have been volunteering since March 2014, taking a break over the summer.
Provider contact: I interact primarily with nurses, nursing assistants, and other care staff.
Patient & community contact: I interact with the patients directly when I play music for them. I try to engage them with songs they like and encourage them to sing along.
Liked best: I love seeing the patients/residents respond to my music and sing along with me. I like getting to know them on an individual basis and seeing them regularly.
More information: http://www.seamar.org/static_pages/volunteer.php
UWMC Pharmacy
"Re-stock vials, caps, bags and bottles. Filing the written prescriptions in daily bundles. Checking expirations dates (monthly), and identify soon to be outdated medications with expirations stickers."
When and for how long: April 2014, Less than a year
Provider contact: There's a lot of contact with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. They are the ones that assign duties and teach volunteers about their assignment.
Patient & community contact: There is almost no contact with patients for this position.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience is having the opportunity to observe the interaction between pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and patients. Also, volunteering at a pharmacy is insighful because you get to learn and see how a pharmacy operates and what actually takes to deliver the medicine to the patient.
More information: Jennifer Mehlberg
Sea Mar Community Health Center
"I was in charge of leading small groups of the migrant children in short lessons and educational activities concerning preventive dental health care techniques, including proper teeth brushing and flossing methods."
When and for how long: For approx. 3 hours during 3 different mobile medical and dental education clinics at a migrant workers camp in Mount Vernon, WA. Summer 2013.
Provider contact: I worked with the dental health care providers while preparing the material I was in charge of presenting the children with. When my presentations were over, I also helped run supplies to the stations where the dental health care providers were.
Patient & community contact: I was able to work closely with the children of the migrant workers to help give them some basic preventive health care education. Several times that day, I also had to translate for one of the other volunteers while they were giving their presentation and running through their activity. I was able to help answer the children's questions, mostly in English and a bit in Spanish to the best of my ability.
Liked best: It was a really unique experience and not something I would have pictured myself doing when I thought about volunteering in the health care field. The mobile clinic not only provided education workshops for the children and adults in this migrant camp, they also provided free dental and medical check ups to the people there and even performed basic procedures on patients (some of which I was able to observe). The work I did may have been centered a little more on education but it was really rewarding to be able to show someone how they can avoid bad oral health so it doesn't come back to bite them in the future. I really enjoyed how hands on and interactive of an experience it was, especially with a population that is typically underserved in the health care field.
More information: Sea Mar CHC - Mount Vernon Dental Clinic 1400 N LaVenture Mount Vernon, Washington 98273
UW Medical center
"I mainly work as a patient escort and transport patients in wheelchairs and sometimes deliver things like specimen."
When and for how long: Started in winter 2014 and have been there for three quarters
Provider contact: I don't have much contact with medical care providers. Most contact I have are with nurses about questions about patient transportation.
Patient & community contact: I have contact with patients and their family during transportation. I would need to confirm with them where they are going and explain how we are going to get there.
Liked best: meeting a lot of different people
More information: 206-598-4218
UWMC
"escort, greet patients, check on patients and see if they need anything, stocking, cleaning rooms, etc"
When and for how long: almost 2 years
Provider contact: Lots of opportunities to interact with medical care providers especially the nurses since you are often actively acting as a communication bridge between them and the patients while you are rounding on patients and checking if they are doing well. Many opportunities to see healthcare providers and patients contact too.
Patient & community contact: Talk to patients and family members to try to make sure they are staying in the hospital as comfortable as the conditions allowed. Listen to their medical concerns and notify the medical care providers if necessary.
Liked best: Lots of opportunities to interact with both patients and healthcare providers, and learn to deal with different kind of situations.
More information: Main phone: 206-598-4218 UWMC Room NN-303 Appointments may be necessary. Call for Volunteer Manager office hours.
Atlantis Project
"As an Atlantis Project fellow, I was able to travel to the Canary Islands in Spain and earn over 100 hours of shadowing experience. I spent a week each in 5 different specialties and was able to observe physicians overseas to gain experience in the medical field. I had to learn how to speak Spanish before I went, but was able to learn enough to understand what was going on in the hospitals."
When and for how long: July-August 2014, 5 weeks
Provider contact: I interacted the most with medical care providers. As I was shadowing them, they explained everything that was going on at a given moment and spent time really teaching me their procedures and course of action. I was able to learn from them and watch them give patient care, both in consultations and surgeries.
Patient & community contact: I did not have any physical contact with patients. However, I was able to watch their appointments and have friendly conversation with them while in the room.
Liked best: I was able to travel the world while earning both shadowing experience and volunteer experience in their hospitals. It was an amazing experience that taught me a lot about healthcare as well as myself. I was able to see a lot of different kinds of specialties, which was a great opportunity. I shadowed some that were never even on my radar, but learned that they were fields I was very interested in. Seeing healthcare outside of the US really put a lot of things into perspective for me, and I would recommend exploring these kinds of opportunities while in school.
More information: Meagan Wilson; admissions@atlantis-project.org
Swedish Medical Center
"Shadowing a group of Interventional Radiologists. I learned how to tie surgical knots, the OR scrub-in procedure, and the names and uses of various catheters."
When and for how long: June 2011 for two weeks
Provider contact: It was a very great learning experience and I was able to ask a lot of questions. Before every procedure the doctor would teach me what way through the body they would need to take and taught me briefly about fluoroscopy and MRI/X-ray reading.
Patient & community contact: I had little contact with the patients but the contact that I did have was insightful. Since the procedures were mostly out-patient procedures, the appointment where they discussed the procedure and determined the need for the procedure had already occurred.
Liked best: I learned a lot about this area of medicine and got a glimpse into the life of a surgeon. It made me have a greater passion for medicine.
More information: N/A
Harrison Medical Center
"My role as a volunteer for the hospital was to help guide patients around the hospital, help support staff provide family members with updates while loved ones were in surgery, and general office support such as filing papers, etc. Patient confidentiality is always a crucial component of working in the hospital setting and along with this responsibility it was crucial that I was efficient and knowledgeable at providing patient support."
When and for how long: Summer 2013, 3 months
Provider contact: During this time I had brief interactions with doctors, as most of my responsibilities and duties required more contact with support staff, receptionists, and nurses rather than direct support to the doctors themselves.
Patient & community contact: Most of my interactions on a day to day basis was with patients and their families, making sure they knew where to go for appointments and helping make them feel welcome and comfortable while in our care at the hospital. I was also in direct contact with other community volunteers who helped out in similar positions that I was in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was getting to understand the patient experience from the time they entered the front doors to the time they left. Having had contact with both patients and their families I got a unique insight into how they felt about their hospital experiences and how we could make changes to make patients and family members as comfortable as possible when having to seek medical care through the providers at our local hospital.
More information: harrisonmedical.org
Harborview Medical Center
"Located in the Emergency Department you assist the Medical Assistants and the Nursing staff with restocking and room set up. Work with patients to make their stay more comfortable, as well as transporting patients to various places. General housekeeping responsibilities."
When and for how long: Oct 2013 - Present
Provider contact: Very constant interactions with MA's and Nurses, by assisting them with their needs of stocking and running errands. Minimal contact with physicians and EMTs, mostly just observation of their interactions with patients.
Patient & community contact: Patient contact varies with the flow of the emergency department. Generally the patient contact includes delivering warm blankets and water to patients, occasionally escorting patients to waiting areas and the pharmacy.
Liked best: The best thing about volunteering in the Emergency Department is the wide variety of patients that you get to interact with and observe the doctor patient relationship. Each week you could interact with entirely different patients than you saw the previous week.
More information: hmcvol@u.washington.edu.
UWMC volunteer servicces
"Transport patients via wheelchair to appointments. Greet, direct and provide way-finding for patients and visitors. Maintain cleanliness of patient and public waiting areas. Escort/walk patients and visitors to clinic locations. Discharge patients to third floor lobby / UWMC entrance. Deliver flowers, mail, books and magazines to patients. Deliver charts, specimens and supplies throughout medical center All around help"
When and for how long: I've been a volunteer for two years
Provider contact: Contact with medical professionals is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Patient & community contact: Contact with medical professionals and families is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Liked best: As a volunteer at the UWMC your experience is entirely in your control. If you are nervous and alittle shyer you can hang back and just deliver specimens,organize paperwork, and direct patients very low key tasks. Or you can volunteer in a department like one of the ICU's and be very much in the middle of the chaos which can be alittle scarier but also very enlightening and a great learning opportunity. However, either way you're getting to see the hospital's inner workings in and get to soak in how the hospital runs while making a difference because have no doubt the UWMC would not work nearly as efficiently without their volunteers.
Other notes: They do not spoon feed you a volunteer position nor check in with how you are doing as a volunteer. To get started you have to take a lot of initiative and once you're a volunteer if you're unhappy in you're position it's up to you to go check in with volunteer services. They're happy to help once you go in but this isn't a volunteer program that cares if you're having a valuable experience or not. If you like a sense of leadership and community from programs you're involved in I wouldn't recommend this one because it is a very independent type of position at the UWMC.But very convenient in proximity.
More information: 206-598-4218 webpage: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
COPE Health Solutions
"Accountable for answering the patients’ call lights and assisting them with basic care requests on the assigned floor unit (about 25 patients) at Swedish Hopsital. Provide patient care after surgery, including assisting nursing staff with feeding patients, ambulating patients, changing linens, visiting with patients, and wound care."
When and for how long: I started August 2014 and am still in the program
Provider contact: There is a lot of contact with nurses and fewer with physicians, but there is still contact and interaction with physicians when they are rounding and checking-in with patients and conversing with them.
Patient & community contact: There is hands-on care with patients where some tasks are done by yourself or with assistance to nurse. The family of patients are often there during the recovery process.
Liked best: You get a lot of hands-on experience with patient care and interaction with health care team in the hospital.
More information: Poornima Bajwa
University of Washington Medical Center
"As a volunteer on the ICU, my main responsibility is to assist nurses. Here is pretty much what I do every time I volunteer... before entering the unit, I check the family waiting room for hot/cold water, napkins, cups etc to make sure there is enough for the patient families. I usually need to refill hot/cold water. After that I check the amount of coffee left in break room for nurses and make coffee for the nurses. There are usually some carts that need to be cleaned and restocked (each cart takes about 40 min to process), and volunteers need to clean the carts. If there is no more carts to clean, I usually stay near the front desk and assist PSS (answer phone calls, issue parking passes, collect blank patient charts, sending & receiving medicines etc). If I get lucky, there might be a chance to watch some procedures."
When and for how long: Since December 2012 till now
Provider contact: Most of the time I interact with nurses and watch busy physicians passing by. Everybody is very busy in the unit, but people are friendly.
Patient & community contact: Most of the patients I see on the unit are very sick and in a lot of pain. They are exhausted by their illnesses, and many of them are sedated. So there is not much interaction. Family members are very worried and stressed out, but they try to be nice if a volunteer offers help. Patient families typically do not ask for anything, but many are grateful that volunteers offer them warm blankets, water, pillow etc.
Liked best: It gives me an idea of the environment of a medical facility. People, especially those who are sick or stressed out, can be tough to deal with. I reassured myself that I like to "interact" with people like them.
More information: UWMC Volunteer Service
University of Washington Medical Center
"I was volunteering at the Outpatient Pharmacy. The main role of the position is to assist the Pharmacy staff in providing the best patient care service by taking responsibilities such as re-stocking vials, caps, and bottles, archiving prescription files and other pharmacy documents, tracking expiration dates to prevent use of outdated medications, and restocking office supplies at individual pharmacy staff stations to increase work efficiency."
When and for how long: It's been half a year and I'm still volunteering at the same location.
Provider contact: Through this volunteer, you are able to closely interact with the pharmacist manager of the Outpatient Pharmacy. The manager takes charge of assigning most jobs done during the volunteer shift depending on the varying assistance needed within the pharmacy. However, I approach the pharmacy technicians for help in terms of identifying medications by category for returned medications to be shelved.
Patient & community contact: Unfortunately, there is no direct contact with patients/family/community members regarding this position. It is with cooperating with the pharmacy staffs only.
Liked best: It is in part a shadowing experience of how a pharmacy works. You are exposed to a team of pharmacy staffs who you can watch and learn what their main duties are and to talk with them during their lunch breaks. Also, as you assist in tracking outdates and placing back return medications, you are able to familiarize the names of the medications and hone your organizational skills.
More information: fossc@uw.edu (Cynnie Foss, Volunteer Program Manager)
University of Washington Global Medical Brigade
"Global Medical Brigades develops sustainable health initiatives and provides relief where there is limited access to health care. Global Medical Brigades is just one part of the Global Brigades organization. Other programs include dental, public health, water, environmental, architecture, law, business, and microfinance. Together, these programs make up the world's largest student-led development organization and work off each other since there are many overlapping factors of our work. For Global Medical Brigades, students and recruited health professionals travel together to rural villages to provide free health care and conduct health education workshops to empower local leaders."
When and for how long: In the club for one year, travelled to Panama for a medical mission for one week of September 2013. (Now the group goes to Nicaragua)
Provider contact: We interacted with nurses and physicians. Triage is usually comprised of nurses and is the next stop for patients after intake. In triage, patients relay their symptoms and ailments while volunteers administer glucose tests, take blood pressure, weigh patients, etc. Nurses oversee any volunteer/patient conversations, aid in translation, description of symptoms, and vital taking. The consultation station is comprised of doctors who attend to patients after they have been through triage. Doctors consult, diagnose and then prescribe the medication they feel is best suited for each individual patient. If a doctor comes across an ailment they feel the brigade does not have the proper medication or equipment to address, that doctor can refer the patient to the clinic for further treatment provided free of cost by Global Medical Brigades. Students purely observe during this rotation with the opportunity to ask the physician questions about diagnosis and treatment plan.
Patient & community contact: Each brigade consists of different stations (typically intake, triage, physician consultation, pharmacy, and health education). Each volunteer will be rotated through each station, although it is much easier to place Spanish speaking volunteers to certain roles, such as translating and triage. Patients generally wait in line to be seen by students working in triage, then by the doctors in the consultation room. All patients receive prescribed medication and vitamins, in addition to attending health education workshops we put on. Volunteers interact with patients at each level, with more observation when shadowing the consultation. We also rotated through a "break" station and in this gap we played games with the children in the school yard.
Liked best: This was an incredible opportunity to experience the lifestyle and culture of a country very different from the US. I appreciated the exposure to diversity, the mode of rural health care in a third world country, and the role of healthcare in the every day context for Panamanians.
Other notes: There is a fee to participate and it's a competitive application. Apps usually open fall quarter with the trip planned for the end of summer following the application cycle.
More information: uwbrigades@gmail.com
UW General Internal Medicine Center
"Stocking examination rooms, sorting faxes, and any miscellaneous projects that may come up."
When and for how long: Fall 2013 to present. 4 hours a week.
Provider contact: The clinic itself is relatively small, so you will always pass by a medical care provider. This clinic also trains resident doctors, which you can shadow.
Patient & community contact: Little to none during volunteer hours as most duties do not require you to be in the presence of a patient. On some rare occasions you may be asked to push a patient and their wheelchair to the lobby.
Liked best: The abundance of shadowing opportunities.
Other notes: This clinic is located at UWMC-Roosevelt, not the main hospital.
More information: UWMC Volunteer services. Volunteer manager: Cynnie Foss
Dental Mission Trips
"Simple assisting jobs such as sterilizing equipment and calling patients because I am not trained to be a dentist and do not yet have the ability to work on patients."
When and for how long: 3 weeks
Provider contact: Some days I would have more contact with the care providers that others. On days I had the most contact with them, I was with them while they were working on a patient and handing them tools. On the days that I had less contact with them, I would be sterilizing instruments or calling patients.
Patient & community contact: Like with the care providers, the amount of contact I had with the patients fluctuated. Depending on the day, I would have short conversations with them, or I would only check them in.
Liked best: The best thing about this experience was being able to make a difference in the daily lives of the patients and being able to see how grateful they were for something that I often take for granted. It really changed the way I viewed my everyday health care.
More information: dentalmissiontrips@gmail.com
Neighborcare Health
"Community outreach volunteer, did outreach to current medical patients to referred them to our dental clinic. Well child check reminders to infants and childrens."
When and for how long: Was there since 2012
Provider contact: Did not really have much contact with medical care providers. I did shadow the dental providers and have a great relationship with them.
Patient & community contact: Usually not much due to working in the office.
Liked best: Learning about how healthcare works.
More information: 206-461-6935 or info@neighborcare.org
Seattle Children's Hospital
"My volunteer title was :Child Life Volunteer. There are many different departments that volunteers can choose from but I chose child life because it had maximum patient interaction. I volunteered 3 hours per week. My role consisted of setting up and cleaning up the communal patient playroom. These tasks were completed at the beginning and end of the shift. In between these times I visited various patient rooms, bringing toys, books, etc. I would spend time with patients and allow parents/guardians to take a break, if they wished."
When and for how long: April 2013-October 2013
Provider contact: I spoke to nurses prior to entering each patient room in order to check base about specific patient precautions or other details.
Patient & community contact: I had direct contact with patients and family members. I visited them in their rooms. My role for the patient was to provide some sort of entertainment or distraction by being a non-medicine related interaction. My role for the parent was to offer assistance by giving them time to leave the patient room with the assurance that someone was still with the patient.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience was interacting with patients. My role was small but it was great to get to know patients/families. Another great aspect about volunteering was simply seeing the environment of Children's. Having volunteered at Swedish Edmonds Hospital prior, I was able to directly compare the environments. It was very eye-opening to see how different hospitals can tailor to the specific needs of their patients.
More information: Chelsea Sandlin
Seattle Children's Hospital in Belleuve
"I had a few different roles at the hospital. I started off as a greeter at the main entrance, making sure to answer that patients and their families feel welcomed and get all the information necessary while at the hospital. I would usually provide information about the facility, such as where the restrooms are, where the vending machines are, where they need to check in for their appointments, what is the closest restaurant or grocery store, how to get on I-5 or 520. My second position was at a Surgery Center desk where I served as a mediator between the medical staff and families of the patients getting the surgical procedure. I was the one to greet them as they walk out of the induction room after their child has been put the sleep, make sure they know around what time the procedure should be done, what are the next steps for them and for their child and to take them either straight to the recovery or to the waiting room. The third position that I am just starting is in the recovery room where I am making sure that recovery rooms are cleaned and set up for the next patient."
When and for how long: I am volunteering there since July 2014
Provider contact: As a volunteer are a surgery center, I had to keep track of the cases and families in the waiting area, recovery and rooms. Drs. needed everything to run smoothly at the waiting room with parents so they can talk to them about the procedure and move to the next case. I had a responsibility of making sure the family is in their assigned waiting room at the time the doctor walks in to talk to them. As the schedules sometimes get very busy, I needed to coordinate with the charge and induction room nurse to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Patient & community contact: Right after the induction room, I was the first person that family and parents would talk to. They would usually be very emotional after seeing their child go to sleep, and I would make sure they are ok. I would let them know how long the procedure is and when the doctor should be coming to talk to them. I would walk them to their waiting room and let them know as soon as they are able to go back to the recovery room and rejoin with their child. In the mean time, for anything they need I would be the first source. I made sure they knew my name and my role and that they are being the most comfortable during their stay.
Liked best: The best thing was to feel that you are making families the most comfortable with their stay in the hospital while their child is getting a procedure. Multiple times I have been thanked for the service as I have contributed to making their stay at the hospital the most pleasant as it can be. Additionally, I got to see how the whole hospital works and how many people and different professions it takes to make the hospital work properly. I as a volunteer had a clear role and felt that I was making a great contribution toward making the families and patients satisfied with the service at Seattle Children's.
More information: Patricia Hovik, patricia.hovik@seattlechildrens.org
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"My role was to plan the actual trip to Goldendale, and then make sure that things went smoothly once we arrived. Otherwise, my main responsibility was to be professional with all the doctors and clinic staff while we shadowed and with the host family after the work day was over."
When and for how long: I was in Goldendale, Washington for one week during UW's spring break.
Provider contact: It was pretty extensive. I shadowed four doctors, one PA, and one ARNP, so I was able to see a lot of different patients, procedures, and styles of care. In addition, I interacted with several nurses. From all of them, I learned a lot about medical care in rural areas and the struggles that can come with that. They came from a variety of areas, with some having lived in rural areas all their lives and others having chosen to move to a smaller town.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients was varied, usually depending on the healthcare provider that I was shadowing and how talkative the patient was. Some of them would talk to me of their own accord and ask about myself, and we would have conversations that way. Other times, the doctor had me take a closer look at something on the patient, so I would get a more scientific interaction with the patient as the doctor explained something to me.
Liked best: The best thing was the large variety in different types of things that I got to see when I was on this trip. Since everyone I shadowed was general practice, I got to see a lot of different types of people and issues. Watching doctors have to grapple with a wide array of issues looked challenging and exciting.
Other notes: HCASB is a good experience for people looking to shadow in rural areas as a way to see what kind of problems healthcare providers must deal with when they do not have all the resources and culture of a big city.
More information: The people in charge of me for HCASB last year all graduated, so I don't know how to contact them now, unfortunately.
Evergreen Hospital
"At the gift shop and the NICU, I didn't interact with any physicians or patients. However, at the Surgical Services desk, I had a nurse supervisor who worked with me. My duties included getting print outs of the surgery schedule for the next day, maintaining the cleanliness of the waiting room, compiling paperwork packets for patients and families to complete before surgery, check in patient family members and obtain their contact information, monitor the progress of the operating room board using online software, answer phone calls, accompany family members to the pre-operation care unit and post-anesthesia care unit, and direct physicians to family members after the surgery is complete."
When and for how long: I was there from 2010-2012, volunteering at the Gift Shop, NICU, and the Surgical Services desk
Provider contact: I worked alongside a nurse supervisor, who helped me with my duties. I also came in contact with surgical nurses who would pick up patients before surgery, as well as post-anesthesia care unit nurses when I went to check on the patients. Finally, I had contact with surgeons when they visited the family members after surgery. If the family member was absent, I would have to write down messages or instructions for the family members from the physician, or I'd have to go pick up a prescription that they'd sent to the pharmacy.
Patient & community contact: I had the most amount of contact with patient family members while they were in the waiting room. There was a wide spectrum of attitudes and behaviors that I saw, which is understandable since it's a very personal experience. Sometimes the family members would talk to me, and sometimes they'd just keep to themselves. At the very least, I always made sure to give them updates whenever the surgery status changed.
Liked best: I got to see a lot of things that I wouldn't have been able to as an outside observer. For instance, I knew next to nothing about the life of surgeons and healthcare policy, but after this experience, I definitely learned a lot. It shocked me that some patients would wait for hours after their scheduled surgery time in the pre-operation unit, because the surgeon had gone overtime on his last surgery. I thought there was a way to prevent that from happening, but it seems like there isn't. Furthermore, I got to see a really wide range of patients come through. Some of them just needed minor surgery (i.e to repair a knee injury), whereas others underwent major operations, like having a brain tumor removed. All of these people went through the Surgical Services desk.
Other notes: In order to work at surgical services, volunteers need to have Level 2 clearance due to exposure to patients. It's definitely a process, and you need to have a good amount of previous volunteer experience at the hospital.
More information: Volunteer office phone number: 425-899-1994
University of Washington Medical Center
"I was an escort at first. I discharged patients and did a lot of deliveries. I was then working as a volunteer in the Emergency Department. My main job was to check in with patients and do whatever the nurses and medical assistants assigned."
When and for how long: 2011 December - 2014 June, two and half years
Provider contact: I worked mainly with the nurses and medical assistants there. I passed on patients' request to them so they could check in with patients. I could also shadow them if there was something I would like to learn. There was once a patient who just had a serious car accident and a group of doctors were doing some procedures, and I was able to watch that.
Patient & community contact: I also communicated with these members a lot since my main job was to check in with them. I rounded in the department and asked everyone whether they were doing okay and if they would like anything. I got to talk to a lot of lonely patients a lot and brought them much comfort.
Liked best: I think I got the chance to talk to and comfort the patients there. Sometimes the Emergency Department was very busy and there were not enough nurses. Patients sometimes felt like they were ignored and I was able to be with them. This was something that nurses or medical assistants were not able to do.
More information: 206-598-4218
Evergreen Hospital
"Discharging patients, various administrative activities, delivering various packages, and escorting visitors."
When and for how long: 2008-2012
Provider contact: You were able to interact with nurses when discharging patients or delivering goods to various wards.
Patient & community contact: There was a lot of patient and visitor contact. The volunteer run information desk was the main location for patients and visitors to learn how to get around the hospital.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience was that the management allows you to think on your feet and problem solve under pressure without giving you direct commands unless the situation demands them.
More information: For more information, call the Volunteer office at 425.899.1994 or email mllong@evergreenhealthcare.org.
Swedish Hospital
"To assist all medical care providers with all types of tasks that promote the efficiency and quality of healthcare towards patients. These tasks can include rounding, transporting and comforting patients, as well as stocking and organizing medical supplies."
When and for how long: 4 hour shifts, past 2 years
Provider contact: I volunteer directly under the supervision and direction of medical care providers. I provide assistance with anything during medical preparations or procedures.
Patient & community contact: I am always checking in on patients during the brief or extended times that they are in the emergency department. My purpose is to provide comfort and information for patients and their families while they wait for procedures or results etc.
Liked best: My favorite experience was with a patient X. I recognized her from a different volunteering facility that I was a part of prior to this position. I had gotten to know her well with that other facility. She was an elderly woman with a severe hearing difficulty, and she too, recognized me when I checked in on her during my rounds at the ER. Her face lit up when she saw my familiar face in the hospital. She has a hard time hearing, and I knew that, so I already had a sense of how to make her feel comfortable and at ease. I spent a good time with her, sitting next to her and holding her hand to provide some comfort in such a busy and overwhelming ER. It really made me happy, and her too, to spend some time together in what can be an upsetting situation: sick and vulnerable at a busy ER.
More information: 425-640-4341
Red Cross
"I was a volunteer at first aid stations at various events in Seattle such as Hempfest and alcoholics anonymous. I helped people who need care, from something as small as a bandaid to having a concussion and needing to go to the hospital. This was a very rewarding experience and the red cross gives you all the training for free."
When and for how long: spring/summer/fall 2014
Provider contact: You work with other volunteers and also AMR first responders, EMTs.
Patient & community contact: You have direct contact with community members and you directly treat/help them when you are at the first aid station or when you are doing rounds around the event.
Liked best: There is a lot of patient contact and a lot of opportunities to learn more about first aid and emergency response.
More information: Brendon.Bottle@redcross.org
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"I shadowed primary care physicians in Moses Lake from Monday through Thursday, then went to a local high school on Friday morning to talk about the values of higher education."
When and for how long: Spring break, the whole week
Provider contact: I shadowed a different physician each day, and got to chat with them during down times and ask about medicine.
Patient & community contact: We lived with a woman in a trailer park, and learned a lot about the community. We also heard a lot about the issues facing the community from the doctors we shadowed and the staff at the clinic.
Liked best: This experience solidified my desire to go to medical school, and piqued my interest in primary care.
More information: hcasb@uw.edu
Nick of Time Foundation- UW
"To help the Nick of Time Foundation with their mission of increasing awareness of sudden cardiac arrest, as well as increasing availability of heart screenings to adolescents throughout Washington. Namely, to volunteer at their many events and help their cause."
When and for how long: I've been an active member since Fall 2013.
Provider contact: At the heart screenings the NOTF holds, I was able to work side by side with talented cardiologists towards a common goal. This has led to many opportunities to see these doctors in action, as well as talk to them about Medical School and the field in general.
Patient & community contact: Once again at the heart screenings, I have worked closely with patients. This involved placing EKG leads, talking to them prior to the doctor's visit, and teaching them CPR while they wait.
Liked best: Through my volunteer work with the NOTF, I have been given the opportunity to work with doctors towards something that we are all passionate about. It is an amazing chance to learn from them, learn from the patients, and give back to the community.
More information: notfuw@uw.edu
COPE Health Solutions
"Responsibilities include assisting nurses and other staff with tasks involved in patient care such as feeding, changing, and bathing patients. Other office type duties are performed as well as simply sitting in and watching various procedures."
When and for how long: June 2014-Current
Provider contact: This internship provides undergraduate students with 3 month rotations on varying units of the hospital to assist medical staff in providing comfort care tasks for the patients. Also there is the opportunity to shadow doctors and other specialists and sit in on varying procedures.
Patient & community contact: One of the best parts of this volunteer opportunity is that there is a significant amount of interaction with patients and their families. Most of the time the interactions are simple and brief, but other times the patients or family are looking for someone to talk to. One of the best parts about this volunteer position has simply been listening to the stories and experiences of those that I have interacted with.
Liked best: Networking with professionals in the field and seeing them at work
More information: Poornima Bajwa email: pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
Swedish Hospital Edmonds
"Working in the front desk, helping patients, wheel chairing patients."
When and for how long: High School for 1 year
Provider contact: Not very much. Mostly communicated with nurses.
Patient & community contact: Lots of patient interaction.
Liked best: Being in the hospital setting, which allowed me to see the interactions and hospital community. Seeing this actually deterred me away from becoming a doctor because I look more local and close interactions.
More information: Volunteer Coordinator
Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute
"I job shadowed many Optometrists working in the medical aspect of optometry. I also sat in on multiple cataract surgeries in the Operating Room."
When and for how long: September 2014, one day
Provider contact: I was able to talk to the doctors and surgeon about what they did for a job. They told me about the pros and cons of their jobs. I was also able to learn a lot about the lifestyles of the doctors outside of the workday.
Patient & community contact: I was able to talk to patients about their symptoms as well as using some of the medical equipment in the office.
Liked best: The best thing about this job shadowing experience was that I was able to see the medical side of optometry that really appeals to me. I was also able to learn about the lifestyle of an optometrist which helped me realize that this is a field that I am very interested in pursuing. The doctors all were able to balance a social and family life outside of their jobs.
More information: Phone number: (360) 748-8632
Evergreen Medical Center
"Volunteered as front desk reception as well as delivered lab specimens and discharging of patients."
When and for how long: 170+ hours
Provider contact: Communicated with nurses as to when to discharge patients and any other possible tasks they needed our help with.
Patient & community contact: Talked to patients and family members regularly, whether it was at the front desk when family member were visiting and had question or if it was during the discharge.
Liked best: Interacting with patients and being able to make a, even if slight, difference at the hospital.
More information: Linda Watson

non-binary gender

UWMC
"My role as a medical volunteer was to interact with many patients and keep the medical environment clean. By greeting people, helping them find their way throughout the center, and aid those who need help, I create an open and friendly environment for UWMC. By wiping down equipment after use, deliver paperwork and charts, and make sure equipment is stocked, I keep the medical environment clean and organized."
When and for how long: Flexible hours (4 hours a week) for one year.
Provider contact: My contact with medical care providers is through delivering charts and paperwork to those who request it. I also assist them with non-patient care duties.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients is to provide them with as much help as I can, including escorting patients to locations, transporting those in wheelchairs, and delivering items to patients, while maintaining a friendly environment.
Liked best: Lots of exposure. If you need a place to learn about the everyday workings of a medical institution, this is the place for you.
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
Group Health Cooperative - Capitol Hill
"I volunteer in the Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy department, doing maintenance/cleaning duties and shadowing physical therapists, getting exposure and experience for the PT profession."
When and for how long: Spring 2014-Present
Provider contact: Contact with Physical Therapists included shadowing/assisting the PTs when needed where appropriate.
Patient & community contact: Assisted patients with some exercises, sometimes just observed and learned diagnostic/rehabilitative strategies & techniques.
Liked best: Group Health is a welcoming environment, and the PT department at Capitol Hill is filled with great role models for the profession. I have the utmost respect for the physical therapists there, and have enjoyed observing and learning from them. Your volunteer hours are flexible, and they help make the volunteering experience work for your schedule.
More information: Jeannette Flodin, flodin.j@ghc.org (Volunteer Coordinator)
UWMC
"escort, greet patients, check on patients and see if they need anything, stocking, cleaning rooms, etc"
When and for how long: almost 2 years
Provider contact: Lots of opportunities to interact with medical care providers especially the nurses since you are often actively acting as a communication bridge between them and the patients while you are rounding on patients and checking if they are doing well. Many opportunities to see healthcare providers and patients contact too.
Patient & community contact: Talk to patients and family members to try to make sure they are staying in the hospital as comfortable as the conditions allowed. Listen to their medical concerns and notify the medical care providers if necessary.
Liked best: Lots of opportunities to interact with both patients and healthcare providers, and learn to deal with different kind of situations.
More information: Main phone: 206-598-4218 UWMC Room NN-303 Appointments may be necessary. Call for Volunteer Manager office hours.
Harborview Medical Center
"Located in the Emergency Department you assist the Medical Assistants and the Nursing staff with restocking and room set up. Work with patients to make their stay more comfortable, as well as transporting patients to various places. General housekeeping responsibilities."
When and for how long: Oct 2013 - Present
Provider contact: Very constant interactions with MA's and Nurses, by assisting them with their needs of stocking and running errands. Minimal contact with physicians and EMTs, mostly just observation of their interactions with patients.
Patient & community contact: Patient contact varies with the flow of the emergency department. Generally the patient contact includes delivering warm blankets and water to patients, occasionally escorting patients to waiting areas and the pharmacy.
Liked best: The best thing about volunteering in the Emergency Department is the wide variety of patients that you get to interact with and observe the doctor patient relationship. Each week you could interact with entirely different patients than you saw the previous week.
More information: hmcvol@u.washington.edu.
UWMC volunteer servicces
"Transport patients via wheelchair to appointments. Greet, direct and provide way-finding for patients and visitors. Maintain cleanliness of patient and public waiting areas. Escort/walk patients and visitors to clinic locations. Discharge patients to third floor lobby / UWMC entrance. Deliver flowers, mail, books and magazines to patients. Deliver charts, specimens and supplies throughout medical center All around help"
When and for how long: I've been a volunteer for two years
Provider contact: Contact with medical professionals is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Patient & community contact: Contact with medical professionals and families is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Liked best: As a volunteer at the UWMC your experience is entirely in your control. If you are nervous and alittle shyer you can hang back and just deliver specimens,organize paperwork, and direct patients very low key tasks. Or you can volunteer in a department like one of the ICU's and be very much in the middle of the chaos which can be alittle scarier but also very enlightening and a great learning opportunity. However, either way you're getting to see the hospital's inner workings in and get to soak in how the hospital runs while making a difference because have no doubt the UWMC would not work nearly as efficiently without their volunteers.
Other notes: They do not spoon feed you a volunteer position nor check in with how you are doing as a volunteer. To get started you have to take a lot of initiative and once you're a volunteer if you're unhappy in you're position it's up to you to go check in with volunteer services. They're happy to help once you go in but this isn't a volunteer program that cares if you're having a valuable experience or not. If you like a sense of leadership and community from programs you're involved in I wouldn't recommend this one because it is a very independent type of position at the UWMC.But very convenient in proximity.
More information: 206-598-4218 webpage: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
Red Cross
"I was a volunteer at first aid stations at various events in Seattle such as Hempfest and alcoholics anonymous. I helped people who need care, from something as small as a bandaid to having a concussion and needing to go to the hospital. This was a very rewarding experience and the red cross gives you all the training for free."
When and for how long: spring/summer/fall 2014
Provider contact: You work with other volunteers and also AMR first responders, EMTs.
Patient & community contact: You have direct contact with community members and you directly treat/help them when you are at the first aid station or when you are doing rounds around the event.
Liked best: There is a lot of patient contact and a lot of opportunities to learn more about first aid and emergency response.
More information: Brendon.Bottle@redcross.org
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218

other

RYGB Animal Mechanisms Lab, Surgical Outcomes Research Center (SORCE)
"As an intern at the RYGB Animal Mechanisms Lab, I cared for the pigs in my lab through daily animal husbandry procedures. After the pigs underwent the bariatric surgery per the lab's protocol, I carried out critical care procedures where I administered controlled substance pain medications to the pigs. I also received certification under the Department of Surgery at the UW to scrub-in to human and animal surgeries. I had to perform a kidney removal from a rat under supervision of a veterinarian in Veterinary Services. After successful completion of the kidney removal, I was then allowed to assist in the bariatric surgery on the pigs in my lab. I was also trained on how to suture following surgery."
When and for how long: I was an intern for a year from 2013-2014
Provider contact: I worked directly with veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary specialists.
Patient & community contact: I worked with animals.
Liked best: I received a lot of hands on experience working with and operating on animals.
Other notes: RYGB is no longer around, however SORCE provides volunteer internships similar to it that I would highly recommend!
More information: http://uwsurgery.org/divisions/surgerycenters/sorce/sorce-intro
Harborview
"Worked in the ER, helped RNs and doctors Restocked shelves Cleaned and prepared cots Observed Trauma Care"
When and for how long: Summer of Junior Year
Provider contact: Mostly observation
Patient & community contact: I did not interact with patients unless they requested my assistance
Liked best: I think the best part was observing the health care providers and seeing how a hospital ran from the inside.
Sea Mar Community Health Center
"I was in charge of leading small groups of the migrant children in short lessons and educational activities concerning preventive dental health care techniques, including proper teeth brushing and flossing methods."
When and for how long: For approx. 3 hours during 3 different mobile medical and dental education clinics at a migrant workers camp in Mount Vernon, WA. Summer 2013.
Provider contact: I worked with the dental health care providers while preparing the material I was in charge of presenting the children with. When my presentations were over, I also helped run supplies to the stations where the dental health care providers were.
Patient & community contact: I was able to work closely with the children of the migrant workers to help give them some basic preventive health care education. Several times that day, I also had to translate for one of the other volunteers while they were giving their presentation and running through their activity. I was able to help answer the children's questions, mostly in English and a bit in Spanish to the best of my ability.
Liked best: It was a really unique experience and not something I would have pictured myself doing when I thought about volunteering in the health care field. The mobile clinic not only provided education workshops for the children and adults in this migrant camp, they also provided free dental and medical check ups to the people there and even performed basic procedures on patients (some of which I was able to observe). The work I did may have been centered a little more on education but it was really rewarding to be able to show someone how they can avoid bad oral health so it doesn't come back to bite them in the future. I really enjoyed how hands on and interactive of an experience it was, especially with a population that is typically underserved in the health care field.
More information: Sea Mar CHC - Mount Vernon Dental Clinic 1400 N LaVenture Mount Vernon, Washington 98273
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Sacred Heart Medical Center
"I was an Emergency Room volunteer. I assisted with any non-clinical needs of the nurses, or physicians."
When and for how long: For one year, during march 2012-2013.
Provider contact: I shadowed doctors, was taught basic medical procedures, and observed a multitude of procedures with specialities including: trauma surgery, neurosurgery, pediatric ICU, raidology, and emergency medicine.
Patient & community contact: I was free to visit patients when appropriate, to talk to them and assist with non-clincal requests.
Liked best: Getting experience one on one with doctors and nurses. And learning how patients interact in different healtcare environments. I.E. how to make them feel less uncomfortable than they did.
More information: Brenda Johnson
Washington Oral Health Foundation (WOHF)
"I began by visiting the office once a week to help with office organization of their educational materials. A few months into the volunteering, I took on a larger role and began to make a new presentation for the organization to give to students about oral health. I did the majority of work on this from home on my own computer. In the end, I created 4 presentations for different age-groups that are still being used today by WOHF."
When and for how long: I volunteered there in 2013 for about 8 months.
Provider contact: I consulted a dentist that I job-shadowed for information to include in the presentation material.
Patient & community contact: I did not contact any patients.
Liked best: The best part was that the organization valued my work enough to actually use what I created.
Other notes: I hope to find the time to give the presentation to students soon.
More information: NA-my contact left the organization

rural

UWMC
"My role as a medical volunteer was to interact with many patients and keep the medical environment clean. By greeting people, helping them find their way throughout the center, and aid those who need help, I create an open and friendly environment for UWMC. By wiping down equipment after use, deliver paperwork and charts, and make sure equipment is stocked, I keep the medical environment clean and organized."
When and for how long: Flexible hours (4 hours a week) for one year.
Provider contact: My contact with medical care providers is through delivering charts and paperwork to those who request it. I also assist them with non-patient care duties.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients is to provide them with as much help as I can, including escorting patients to locations, transporting those in wheelchairs, and delivering items to patients, while maintaining a friendly environment.
Liked best: Lots of exposure. If you need a place to learn about the everyday workings of a medical institution, this is the place for you.
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
Lady of the Sea Hospital: Surgical Department (Los Angeles)
"I would mainly catalog, label, and put away all of the surgical supplies. I would also help the nurses with other work including helping to set up operating rooms for a procedure."
When and for how long: 3 years ago. I was there a couple days a week for a month or so.
Provider contact: I was mostly in contact with the nurses, although I would meet the surgeons when they came. I also met the anesthesiologist and he showed me his equipment, and described the work that he did.
Patient & community contact: They didn't let me contact any of the patients.
Liked best: I thought it was beneficial because I was able to witness all the work that goes on in a surgical department before a surgeon arrives and after he leaves. I saw how much of a team effort it was to provide medical care. The nurses would show me about the equipment and supplies that they use during operations and describe different procedures and their experiences with them.
More information: (985) 632-6401
University of Washington Medical Center
"Escort services: transport of patients flower deliveries specimen deliveries"
When and for how long: September 2014- present (4 months)
Provider contact: very limited
Patient & community contact: lots of patient contact when discharging patients and or transporting them
Liked best: Being able to interact with patients is very helpful to discover how I personally am around sick people. It teaches you what it will be like to provide for all types of people with various illnesses, moods, conditions and personalities.
Global Dental Brigades UW Chapter
"I was in charge of holding charlas where I showed kids how to brush. I also got the chance to shadowing a dentist while she performed dental procedures."
When and for how long: Summer of 2013, 9 days
Provider contact: I shadowed a dentist and got to ask any questions I had.
Patient & community contact: I got to teach them how to brush and take care of there oral hygiene.
Liked best: The best part was when the kids got there brushes and they treated it as if they had just got there hands on the newest piece of technology.
More information: Depends who is president of the club that year
Prep-Step Health Care Scholarship Program
"Help out the nursing staff and NAC staff on the patient floors with patient care such as: cleaning up, providing meals, talking to patients, running messages to the staff, and ambulating patients."
When and for how long: Since August 2014 to currently
Provider contact: I directly get instruction and advice from the healthcare staff. Physicians are relatively rare throughout the day, but I get to see the constant work that the nurses and NAC's do all day.
Patient & community contact: I have the opportunity to speak directly with patients and their family members. Sometimes patients want to be left alone, but sometimes they want more interaction than the nurses can provide with their busy schedules.
Liked best: Getting to spend extended time with the nursing staff and seeing how important treating patients as individual people is to their overall care and experience in the hospital.
More information: 206-386-3879
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Translate for American doctors and dentists to diagnose Vietnamese villagers. Sort medicine into small bags for prescribing and explain to patients how to use."
When and for how long: 2 weeks but trained for 1 year
Provider contact: Become the voice for the doctors and dentists to help the patients understand dental treatments (usually teeth extractions) or diagnosis.
Patient & community contact: To fund the cost of the medicine and supplies we had to host a banquet which required contact with family and businesses to support us. That year we raised 28K in one night.
Liked best: Living in a foreign country for 2 weeks. Making new friends with the student volunteers and health professionals. Stark difference in the appreciation of care from Vietnamese patients vs American patients.
More information: Scott Fung
Group Health Cooperative - Capitol Hill
"I volunteer in the Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy department, doing maintenance/cleaning duties and shadowing physical therapists, getting exposure and experience for the PT profession."
When and for how long: Spring 2014-Present
Provider contact: Contact with Physical Therapists included shadowing/assisting the PTs when needed where appropriate.
Patient & community contact: Assisted patients with some exercises, sometimes just observed and learned diagnostic/rehabilitative strategies & techniques.
Liked best: Group Health is a welcoming environment, and the PT department at Capitol Hill is filled with great role models for the profession. I have the utmost respect for the physical therapists there, and have enjoyed observing and learning from them. Your volunteer hours are flexible, and they help make the volunteering experience work for your schedule.
More information: Jeannette Flodin, flodin.j@ghc.org (Volunteer Coordinator)
Med Life
"Volunteer for a medical brigade- to bring free medicine/healthcare to underserved, and impoverished communities. I went on two separate occasions- once in Lima, Peru, and then in Tena, Ecuador. Both wonderful experiences, I got to help heakth professionals set up the clinics, sort medicine, translate, and take vitals and mecial history of the patients."
When and for how long: April 2012; December 2013
Provider contact: Side by side, watching them work! Sometimes I would translate from Spanish to English for other students observing.
Patient & community contact: Once again, very hands on, especially when writing down medical history and taking vitals. I got to learn a lot about the way certain people in communities live, by speaking to people who waited in line for care.
Liked best: It simply feels good to help people who need it.
More information: www.medlifeweb.org
Vietnam Health Clinic
"Soliciting in order to raise money for the medical supplies we were to bring on our trip. Contact other health professions to assist us on our trip because they are the only way how we can treat them. The volunteers and leaders who were mainly under-graduates were only able to observe, assist and scribe for the health professionals."
When and for how long: From the beginning of 2014 until late september of the same year.
Provider contact: Scribe for the medical care providers. Some students and I were able to become translators between the patients and the health professions. Medical care providers were also able to teach us diseases/sicknesses the patients had, and how we can tell from our diagnosis on how they have it.
Patient & community contact: Consulting with the villagers. Teaching them on how to take their medication. Teaching them what their sickness is. Teaching patients the basics of public health (Water sanitation, risks of drinking alcohol/smoking obsessively, brushing teeth), in order to prevent exposure to some microbes that can cause harm to us.
Liked best: Going to a different country and using my ability to interact with patients in a medical/clinical setting. Working in a clinic that was student ran. A lot of work and communication was required.
More information: info@vnhealth.org
Fellowship Bible Church
"I was part of a Medical Outreach team providing medical relief in the jungles of Africa, specifically Liberia. My role was to screen patients, building medical history and symptom reports allowing our limited team of doctors to see more patients quickly."
When and for how long: June 2013 for 3 weeks
Provider contact: I worked side by side both nurses and doctors to bring direly needed medical supplies and aid to one of the poorest nations in the world. I made the initial contact with patients, separating the severely sick to those that are simply dehydrated but lack even the basic knowledge of health awareness to realize it. This allowed the Doctors to maximize time with the truly sick patients coming through our clinic.
Patient & community contact: I was able to have numerous one-on-one patient interactions seeing anywhere from 20-40 patients in a day. Putting the patient at ease, making them comfortable and then making an initial assessment of the patient needs.
Liked best: The best part of this experience was the patient interactions. I have never been exposed to such poverty, sickness and starvation. Meeting countless Africans every day who live incredibly difficult lives was a humbling experience. Learning how to communicate through cultural gaps was both difficult and rewarding. The singly most influential experience was my encounter with my very first patient, a mother bringing her 8 year old son. The boy was severely emaciated and paralyzed to the point that he could not support his own head nor move anything more than his eyes. He had been this way for 2 months and his body was rejecting any sustenance. With primitive medical diagnostic equipment our doctors were unable to do much more than guess what was causing the symptoms. This boy, Togba, stayed under my care for three days before he finally died. I will never forget Togba, and he is largely the reason for my pursuit of medical school.
Sea Mar Community Health Center
"I was in charge of leading small groups of the migrant children in short lessons and educational activities concerning preventive dental health care techniques, including proper teeth brushing and flossing methods."
When and for how long: For approx. 3 hours during 3 different mobile medical and dental education clinics at a migrant workers camp in Mount Vernon, WA. Summer 2013.
Provider contact: I worked with the dental health care providers while preparing the material I was in charge of presenting the children with. When my presentations were over, I also helped run supplies to the stations where the dental health care providers were.
Patient & community contact: I was able to work closely with the children of the migrant workers to help give them some basic preventive health care education. Several times that day, I also had to translate for one of the other volunteers while they were giving their presentation and running through their activity. I was able to help answer the children's questions, mostly in English and a bit in Spanish to the best of my ability.
Liked best: It was a really unique experience and not something I would have pictured myself doing when I thought about volunteering in the health care field. The mobile clinic not only provided education workshops for the children and adults in this migrant camp, they also provided free dental and medical check ups to the people there and even performed basic procedures on patients (some of which I was able to observe). The work I did may have been centered a little more on education but it was really rewarding to be able to show someone how they can avoid bad oral health so it doesn't come back to bite them in the future. I really enjoyed how hands on and interactive of an experience it was, especially with a population that is typically underserved in the health care field.
More information: Sea Mar CHC - Mount Vernon Dental Clinic 1400 N LaVenture Mount Vernon, Washington 98273
UWMC
"escort, greet patients, check on patients and see if they need anything, stocking, cleaning rooms, etc"
When and for how long: almost 2 years
Provider contact: Lots of opportunities to interact with medical care providers especially the nurses since you are often actively acting as a communication bridge between them and the patients while you are rounding on patients and checking if they are doing well. Many opportunities to see healthcare providers and patients contact too.
Patient & community contact: Talk to patients and family members to try to make sure they are staying in the hospital as comfortable as the conditions allowed. Listen to their medical concerns and notify the medical care providers if necessary.
Liked best: Lots of opportunities to interact with both patients and healthcare providers, and learn to deal with different kind of situations.
More information: Main phone: 206-598-4218 UWMC Room NN-303 Appointments may be necessary. Call for Volunteer Manager office hours.
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"As a participant I spent four days shadowing medical professionals in the North Valley Hospital in Tonasket, WA. On the fifth day I, along with my three colleagues, presented to four elementary school classrooms about pursuing higher education."
When and for how long: I participated during my junior year (2013). The program takes place during the week of spring break- between winter and spring quarters.
Provider contact: The beauty of HCASB is that because you are in a rural setting, the work load in the hospital isn't as high as in more urban areas and the doctors have more time to stop and converse. I spent a fair amount of time with both ER doctors, the radiologist, and the orthopedic and general surgeon. Not only were we able to see them work, but they took the time out to ensure that we learned something form our time with them.
Patient & community contact: Other than the family that hosted us, I didn't get too much contact with the patients beyond viewing the normal patient-doctor interactions.
Liked best: The variety. Each doctor was able to describe the benefits of their specific position in the hospital. They all also had a range of advice to give, from what to look for in medical schools to how to approach a first time patient.
More information: http://hcasb.org/
UWMC volunteer servicces
"Transport patients via wheelchair to appointments. Greet, direct and provide way-finding for patients and visitors. Maintain cleanliness of patient and public waiting areas. Escort/walk patients and visitors to clinic locations. Discharge patients to third floor lobby / UWMC entrance. Deliver flowers, mail, books and magazines to patients. Deliver charts, specimens and supplies throughout medical center All around help"
When and for how long: I've been a volunteer for two years
Provider contact: Contact with medical professionals is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Patient & community contact: Contact with medical professionals and families is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Liked best: As a volunteer at the UWMC your experience is entirely in your control. If you are nervous and alittle shyer you can hang back and just deliver specimens,organize paperwork, and direct patients very low key tasks. Or you can volunteer in a department like one of the ICU's and be very much in the middle of the chaos which can be alittle scarier but also very enlightening and a great learning opportunity. However, either way you're getting to see the hospital's inner workings in and get to soak in how the hospital runs while making a difference because have no doubt the UWMC would not work nearly as efficiently without their volunteers.
Other notes: They do not spoon feed you a volunteer position nor check in with how you are doing as a volunteer. To get started you have to take a lot of initiative and once you're a volunteer if you're unhappy in you're position it's up to you to go check in with volunteer services. They're happy to help once you go in but this isn't a volunteer program that cares if you're having a valuable experience or not. If you like a sense of leadership and community from programs you're involved in I wouldn't recommend this one because it is a very independent type of position at the UWMC.But very convenient in proximity.
More information: 206-598-4218 webpage: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
University of Washington Global Medical Brigade
"Global Medical Brigades develops sustainable health initiatives and provides relief where there is limited access to health care. Global Medical Brigades is just one part of the Global Brigades organization. Other programs include dental, public health, water, environmental, architecture, law, business, and microfinance. Together, these programs make up the world's largest student-led development organization and work off each other since there are many overlapping factors of our work. For Global Medical Brigades, students and recruited health professionals travel together to rural villages to provide free health care and conduct health education workshops to empower local leaders."
When and for how long: In the club for one year, travelled to Panama for a medical mission for one week of September 2013. (Now the group goes to Nicaragua)
Provider contact: We interacted with nurses and physicians. Triage is usually comprised of nurses and is the next stop for patients after intake. In triage, patients relay their symptoms and ailments while volunteers administer glucose tests, take blood pressure, weigh patients, etc. Nurses oversee any volunteer/patient conversations, aid in translation, description of symptoms, and vital taking. The consultation station is comprised of doctors who attend to patients after they have been through triage. Doctors consult, diagnose and then prescribe the medication they feel is best suited for each individual patient. If a doctor comes across an ailment they feel the brigade does not have the proper medication or equipment to address, that doctor can refer the patient to the clinic for further treatment provided free of cost by Global Medical Brigades. Students purely observe during this rotation with the opportunity to ask the physician questions about diagnosis and treatment plan.
Patient & community contact: Each brigade consists of different stations (typically intake, triage, physician consultation, pharmacy, and health education). Each volunteer will be rotated through each station, although it is much easier to place Spanish speaking volunteers to certain roles, such as translating and triage. Patients generally wait in line to be seen by students working in triage, then by the doctors in the consultation room. All patients receive prescribed medication and vitamins, in addition to attending health education workshops we put on. Volunteers interact with patients at each level, with more observation when shadowing the consultation. We also rotated through a "break" station and in this gap we played games with the children in the school yard.
Liked best: This was an incredible opportunity to experience the lifestyle and culture of a country very different from the US. I appreciated the exposure to diversity, the mode of rural health care in a third world country, and the role of healthcare in the every day context for Panamanians.
Other notes: There is a fee to participate and it's a competitive application. Apps usually open fall quarter with the trip planned for the end of summer following the application cycle.
More information: uwbrigades@gmail.com
Seattle Children's Hospital
"My volunteer title was :Child Life Volunteer. There are many different departments that volunteers can choose from but I chose child life because it had maximum patient interaction. I volunteered 3 hours per week. My role consisted of setting up and cleaning up the communal patient playroom. These tasks were completed at the beginning and end of the shift. In between these times I visited various patient rooms, bringing toys, books, etc. I would spend time with patients and allow parents/guardians to take a break, if they wished."
When and for how long: April 2013-October 2013
Provider contact: I spoke to nurses prior to entering each patient room in order to check base about specific patient precautions or other details.
Patient & community contact: I had direct contact with patients and family members. I visited them in their rooms. My role for the patient was to provide some sort of entertainment or distraction by being a non-medicine related interaction. My role for the parent was to offer assistance by giving them time to leave the patient room with the assurance that someone was still with the patient.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience was interacting with patients. My role was small but it was great to get to know patients/families. Another great aspect about volunteering was simply seeing the environment of Children's. Having volunteered at Swedish Edmonds Hospital prior, I was able to directly compare the environments. It was very eye-opening to see how different hospitals can tailor to the specific needs of their patients.
More information: Chelsea Sandlin
Seattle Children's Hospital in Belleuve
"I had a few different roles at the hospital. I started off as a greeter at the main entrance, making sure to answer that patients and their families feel welcomed and get all the information necessary while at the hospital. I would usually provide information about the facility, such as where the restrooms are, where the vending machines are, where they need to check in for their appointments, what is the closest restaurant or grocery store, how to get on I-5 or 520. My second position was at a Surgery Center desk where I served as a mediator between the medical staff and families of the patients getting the surgical procedure. I was the one to greet them as they walk out of the induction room after their child has been put the sleep, make sure they know around what time the procedure should be done, what are the next steps for them and for their child and to take them either straight to the recovery or to the waiting room. The third position that I am just starting is in the recovery room where I am making sure that recovery rooms are cleaned and set up for the next patient."
When and for how long: I am volunteering there since July 2014
Provider contact: As a volunteer are a surgery center, I had to keep track of the cases and families in the waiting area, recovery and rooms. Drs. needed everything to run smoothly at the waiting room with parents so they can talk to them about the procedure and move to the next case. I had a responsibility of making sure the family is in their assigned waiting room at the time the doctor walks in to talk to them. As the schedules sometimes get very busy, I needed to coordinate with the charge and induction room nurse to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Patient & community contact: Right after the induction room, I was the first person that family and parents would talk to. They would usually be very emotional after seeing their child go to sleep, and I would make sure they are ok. I would let them know how long the procedure is and when the doctor should be coming to talk to them. I would walk them to their waiting room and let them know as soon as they are able to go back to the recovery room and rejoin with their child. In the mean time, for anything they need I would be the first source. I made sure they knew my name and my role and that they are being the most comfortable during their stay.
Liked best: The best thing was to feel that you are making families the most comfortable with their stay in the hospital while their child is getting a procedure. Multiple times I have been thanked for the service as I have contributed to making their stay at the hospital the most pleasant as it can be. Additionally, I got to see how the whole hospital works and how many people and different professions it takes to make the hospital work properly. I as a volunteer had a clear role and felt that I was making a great contribution toward making the families and patients satisfied with the service at Seattle Children's.
More information: Patricia Hovik, patricia.hovik@seattlechildrens.org
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"My role was to plan the actual trip to Goldendale, and then make sure that things went smoothly once we arrived. Otherwise, my main responsibility was to be professional with all the doctors and clinic staff while we shadowed and with the host family after the work day was over."
When and for how long: I was in Goldendale, Washington for one week during UW's spring break.
Provider contact: It was pretty extensive. I shadowed four doctors, one PA, and one ARNP, so I was able to see a lot of different patients, procedures, and styles of care. In addition, I interacted with several nurses. From all of them, I learned a lot about medical care in rural areas and the struggles that can come with that. They came from a variety of areas, with some having lived in rural areas all their lives and others having chosen to move to a smaller town.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients was varied, usually depending on the healthcare provider that I was shadowing and how talkative the patient was. Some of them would talk to me of their own accord and ask about myself, and we would have conversations that way. Other times, the doctor had me take a closer look at something on the patient, so I would get a more scientific interaction with the patient as the doctor explained something to me.
Liked best: The best thing was the large variety in different types of things that I got to see when I was on this trip. Since everyone I shadowed was general practice, I got to see a lot of different types of people and issues. Watching doctors have to grapple with a wide array of issues looked challenging and exciting.
Other notes: HCASB is a good experience for people looking to shadow in rural areas as a way to see what kind of problems healthcare providers must deal with when they do not have all the resources and culture of a big city.
More information: The people in charge of me for HCASB last year all graduated, so I don't know how to contact them now, unfortunately.
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
Rural Mobile Health Clinic
"I was part of a rural mobile health clinic located in Surin, Thailand as a medical volunteer and some of the tasks were making medicine kits, dressing wounds, measuring blood pressure, etc."
When and for how long: 15 days
Provider contact: I had direct contact with the local doctors and nurses there.
Patient & community contact: I also had close, direct contact with the patients that came to the community clinic through dressing wounds and basic health measurements.
Liked best: It really changed my way of pursuing medicine in that I strived with a less self-centered approach and more humanitarian.
More information: N/A
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break
"I shadowed primary care physicians in Moses Lake from Monday through Thursday, then went to a local high school on Friday morning to talk about the values of higher education."
When and for how long: Spring break, the whole week
Provider contact: I shadowed a different physician each day, and got to chat with them during down times and ask about medicine.
Patient & community contact: We lived with a woman in a trailer park, and learned a lot about the community. We also heard a lot about the issues facing the community from the doctors we shadowed and the staff at the clinic.
Liked best: This experience solidified my desire to go to medical school, and piqued my interest in primary care.
More information: hcasb@uw.edu
Health Care Alternative Spring Break
"HCASB is a student run organization at UW that organizes healthcare shadowing trips to rural towns in Washington over spring break. It gives pre-health students a chance to understand the unique needs and opportunities of rural medicine, while also increasing their shadowing hours. I was a Team Leader, so I spent Winter quarter contacting different healthcare facilities in Sequim, WA to set up our week of shadowing and where to stay."
When and for how long: Spring Break 2014
Provider contact: I spent four full work days shadowing one on one with several different doctors, including family practice, opthamology, ob/gyn, and geriatric medicine.
Patient & community contact: I got to see healthcare providers working with many different types of patients, from young healthy people, to pregnant women, to elderly people in various states of health. While I did more shadowing than interacting, many patients were friendly and willing to answer questions or talk briefly. We also spent a few hours volunteering at an assisted living facility where we got to participate in the exercise activities with residents.
Liked best: Getting to meet and observe such a good range of medical specialties whom all share the same experience of working in a rural community was most valuable. It gave me insight to what career paths interested me more than others, and allowed me to contrast different perspectives on the benefits and challenges of urban vs. rural medicine.
Other notes: Applications for Team Leader positions close in Fall, and Participant applications close around the start of winter quarter, so its a good idea to start thinking about this beginning of Fall quarter.
More information: hcasb.org

veterans

UWMC
"My role as a medical volunteer was to interact with many patients and keep the medical environment clean. By greeting people, helping them find their way throughout the center, and aid those who need help, I create an open and friendly environment for UWMC. By wiping down equipment after use, deliver paperwork and charts, and make sure equipment is stocked, I keep the medical environment clean and organized."
When and for how long: Flexible hours (4 hours a week) for one year.
Provider contact: My contact with medical care providers is through delivering charts and paperwork to those who request it. I also assist them with non-patient care duties.
Patient & community contact: My contact with patients is to provide them with as much help as I can, including escorting patients to locations, transporting those in wheelchairs, and delivering items to patients, while maintaining a friendly environment.
Liked best: Lots of exposure. If you need a place to learn about the everyday workings of a medical institution, this is the place for you.
More information: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
University of Washington Medical Center
"Escort services: transport of patients flower deliveries specimen deliveries"
When and for how long: September 2014- present (4 months)
Provider contact: very limited
Patient & community contact: lots of patient contact when discharging patients and or transporting them
Liked best: Being able to interact with patients is very helpful to discover how I personally am around sick people. It teaches you what it will be like to provide for all types of people with various illnesses, moods, conditions and personalities.
Prep-Step Health Care Scholarship Program
"Help out the nursing staff and NAC staff on the patient floors with patient care such as: cleaning up, providing meals, talking to patients, running messages to the staff, and ambulating patients."
When and for how long: Since August 2014 to currently
Provider contact: I directly get instruction and advice from the healthcare staff. Physicians are relatively rare throughout the day, but I get to see the constant work that the nurses and NAC's do all day.
Patient & community contact: I have the opportunity to speak directly with patients and their family members. Sometimes patients want to be left alone, but sometimes they want more interaction than the nurses can provide with their busy schedules.
Liked best: Getting to spend extended time with the nursing staff and seeing how important treating patients as individual people is to their overall care and experience in the hospital.
More information: 206-386-3879
Group Health Cooperative - Capitol Hill
"I volunteer in the Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy department, doing maintenance/cleaning duties and shadowing physical therapists, getting exposure and experience for the PT profession."
When and for how long: Spring 2014-Present
Provider contact: Contact with Physical Therapists included shadowing/assisting the PTs when needed where appropriate.
Patient & community contact: Assisted patients with some exercises, sometimes just observed and learned diagnostic/rehabilitative strategies & techniques.
Liked best: Group Health is a welcoming environment, and the PT department at Capitol Hill is filled with great role models for the profession. I have the utmost respect for the physical therapists there, and have enjoyed observing and learning from them. Your volunteer hours are flexible, and they help make the volunteering experience work for your schedule.
More information: Jeannette Flodin, flodin.j@ghc.org (Volunteer Coordinator)
UWMC
"escort, greet patients, check on patients and see if they need anything, stocking, cleaning rooms, etc"
When and for how long: almost 2 years
Provider contact: Lots of opportunities to interact with medical care providers especially the nurses since you are often actively acting as a communication bridge between them and the patients while you are rounding on patients and checking if they are doing well. Many opportunities to see healthcare providers and patients contact too.
Patient & community contact: Talk to patients and family members to try to make sure they are staying in the hospital as comfortable as the conditions allowed. Listen to their medical concerns and notify the medical care providers if necessary.
Liked best: Lots of opportunities to interact with both patients and healthcare providers, and learn to deal with different kind of situations.
More information: Main phone: 206-598-4218 UWMC Room NN-303 Appointments may be necessary. Call for Volunteer Manager office hours.
UWMC volunteer servicces
"Transport patients via wheelchair to appointments. Greet, direct and provide way-finding for patients and visitors. Maintain cleanliness of patient and public waiting areas. Escort/walk patients and visitors to clinic locations. Discharge patients to third floor lobby / UWMC entrance. Deliver flowers, mail, books and magazines to patients. Deliver charts, specimens and supplies throughout medical center All around help"
When and for how long: I've been a volunteer for two years
Provider contact: Contact with medical professionals is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Patient & community contact: Contact with medical professionals and families is entirely dependent on what department you volunteer with. Everybody starts out as an escort and patient contact is high but provider contact in minimal. If you go on to volunteer specifically with a department usually provider time increases but patient time decreases.
Liked best: As a volunteer at the UWMC your experience is entirely in your control. If you are nervous and alittle shyer you can hang back and just deliver specimens,organize paperwork, and direct patients very low key tasks. Or you can volunteer in a department like one of the ICU's and be very much in the middle of the chaos which can be alittle scarier but also very enlightening and a great learning opportunity. However, either way you're getting to see the hospital's inner workings in and get to soak in how the hospital runs while making a difference because have no doubt the UWMC would not work nearly as efficiently without their volunteers.
Other notes: They do not spoon feed you a volunteer position nor check in with how you are doing as a volunteer. To get started you have to take a lot of initiative and once you're a volunteer if you're unhappy in you're position it's up to you to go check in with volunteer services. They're happy to help once you go in but this isn't a volunteer program that cares if you're having a valuable experience or not. If you like a sense of leadership and community from programs you're involved in I wouldn't recommend this one because it is a very independent type of position at the UWMC.But very convenient in proximity.
More information: 206-598-4218 webpage: http://www.uwmedicine.org/uw-medical-center/volunteer
COPE Health Solutions
"Accountable for answering the patients’ call lights and assisting them with basic care requests on the assigned floor unit (about 25 patients) at Swedish Hopsital. Provide patient care after surgery, including assisting nursing staff with feeding patients, ambulating patients, changing linens, visiting with patients, and wound care."
When and for how long: I started August 2014 and am still in the program
Provider contact: There is a lot of contact with nurses and fewer with physicians, but there is still contact and interaction with physicians when they are rounding and checking-in with patients and conversing with them.
Patient & community contact: There is hands-on care with patients where some tasks are done by yourself or with assistance to nurse. The family of patients are often there during the recovery process.
Liked best: You get a lot of hands-on experience with patient care and interaction with health care team in the hospital.
More information: Poornima Bajwa
Evergreen Hospital
"Discharging patients, various administrative activities, delivering various packages, and escorting visitors."
When and for how long: 2008-2012
Provider contact: You were able to interact with nurses when discharging patients or delivering goods to various wards.
Patient & community contact: There was a lot of patient and visitor contact. The volunteer run information desk was the main location for patients and visitors to learn how to get around the hospital.
Liked best: The best thing about this volunteer experience was that the management allows you to think on your feet and problem solve under pressure without giving you direct commands unless the situation demands them.
More information: For more information, call the Volunteer office at 425.899.1994 or email mllong@evergreenhealthcare.org.
Red Cross
"I was a volunteer at first aid stations at various events in Seattle such as Hempfest and alcoholics anonymous. I helped people who need care, from something as small as a bandaid to having a concussion and needing to go to the hospital. This was a very rewarding experience and the red cross gives you all the training for free."
When and for how long: spring/summer/fall 2014
Provider contact: You work with other volunteers and also AMR first responders, EMTs.
Patient & community contact: You have direct contact with community members and you directly treat/help them when you are at the first aid station or when you are doing rounds around the event.
Liked best: There is a lot of patient contact and a lot of opportunities to learn more about first aid and emergency response.
More information: Brendon.Bottle@redcross.org
UWMC
"Responsibilities vary. Opportunities are provided to work in many different positions. Some volunteers chose to remain a greeter throughout their experience, but it is possible to work in an ICU or closely with a nurse as well."
When and for how long: For about a year
Provider contact: Contact is most regularly made with nurses, but often the volunteers get to meet the doctors as well.
Patient & community contact: Some roles such as greeting require extensive contact with patients. Some other do not require the volunteers to communicate with them.
Liked best: Variety! You'll get to do many different things.
More information: 206-598-4218
COPE Health Solutions
"Responsibilities include assisting nurses and other staff with tasks involved in patient care such as feeding, changing, and bathing patients. Other office type duties are performed as well as simply sitting in and watching various procedures."
When and for how long: June 2014-Current
Provider contact: This internship provides undergraduate students with 3 month rotations on varying units of the hospital to assist medical staff in providing comfort care tasks for the patients. Also there is the opportunity to shadow doctors and other specialists and sit in on varying procedures.
Patient & community contact: One of the best parts of this volunteer opportunity is that there is a significant amount of interaction with patients and their families. Most of the time the interactions are simple and brief, but other times the patients or family are looking for someone to talk to. One of the best parts about this volunteer position has simply been listening to the stories and experiences of those that I have interacted with.
Liked best: Networking with professionals in the field and seeing them at work
More information: Poornima Bajwa email: pbajwa@copehealthsolutions.org
Swedish Hospital Edmonds
"Working in the front desk, helping patients, wheel chairing patients."
When and for how long: High School for 1 year
Provider contact: Not very much. Mostly communicated with nurses.
Patient & community contact: Lots of patient interaction.
Liked best: Being in the hospital setting, which allowed me to see the interactions and hospital community. Seeing this actually deterred me away from becoming a doctor because I look more local and close interactions.
More information: Volunteer Coordinator

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