There are a variety of opportunities for pre-health students to gain exposure to healthcare settings, medical professionals, and patients. These experiences may be called:
Remember, it is not the title of the experience that matters but, rather, what you learned throughout the experience. Most health profession programs are unconcerned as to whether the opportunity is called an "internship" vs. "volunteer position" but will want to know how the experience shaped your view of healthcare and helps you articulate your capacity to be a great provider of care.
Tracking Your Experiences
Unlike volunteering and shadowing in high school, an FSC advisor will not verify the hours you completed (but, you are required to report all extracurricular activities to the Career and Internship Coordinator - see the Guides and Forms section on the right hand side of this page). However, since you will need to report your activities on your future health profession applications, it is important that you keep a journal of your experiences for your own records. You should track experience start/end dates, supervisor information, average hours per week spent in the activity, and your reflections including: great moments, not so great moments, "ah-ha" moments, memorable patients/clients, difficult patients/clients, things you learned about yourself, things you learned about healthcare, hot topics in the field, new philosophies, new technology/devices you were exposed to, etc. Be sure to also notate the names of specific procedure as well as the correct medical/scientific terminology.
Professional Observation Experiences
A Professional Observation Experience, commonly referred to as a “Shadowing Experience”, is an educational exploration where students can learn about a particular occupation or profession by observing or “shadowing” a practitioner in their professional environment. The Professional Observation Mentor is the individual the students is observing/shadowing. The Faculty Advisor, if applicable, is a faculty member at FSC who has sponsored this experience for academic credit.
Professional observation experiences allow students to better understand their field of interest, receive mentoring, establish a professional network, and make their academic studies more relevant.
The following handouts provide additional helpful information: