Helping with Healthcare
By: NobleHour Special Contributor Taylor Bradley
As we venture into part three of our series Volunteer to Career - Applying Meaningful Service to Your Resume, I would like to review some of the amazing volunteering scenarios available in Healthcare. The Healthcare industry can provide great career opportunities with relatively strong job security. The question is, how do you break into an industry flooded with applicants for entry level positions? Fortunately, there are many exceptional ways to obtain applicable experience while making valuable contributions and connections through volunteerism.
My career started in a volunteer position for a local hospital, assisting patients’ families to navigate the hospital and later ended registering patients into the emergency room. These positions would later turn into an adventurous and fulfilling career, helping those in need around the globe. Looking back, I am amazed at what came from taking that first step into a volunteering office at the local hospital. There are many innovative ways you can get involved in healthcare today. Here are a number of options to consider, some of which could lead you to a fulfilling and lifelong career of your own.
I vividly remember walking in to my first interview to become a volunteer. The coordinator spent a good half an hour reviewing the vast array of volunteering opportunities within the hospital. It was a bit mind-boggling to comprehend all of the possible placements, but I ended up selecting a position in the emergency room. For me, this placement coincided with my training as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). The beneficial part regarding many of these hospital-based volunteer programs is the volunteer’s ability to learn a hospital’s organizational structures, systems, and terminology. I started out small, making sure the coffee was always brewed for the nurses and doctors, and guiding families through the hospital. I worked my way up to registering patients as they made their way into the emergency room.
All of these may appear to be mundane tasks, but I was a sponge, soaking up any information the doctors, nurses, and administrative staff were willing to share. Although many students passed through the emergency room, the regular volunteers are often taken under the wing of the clinical staff to further their knowledge base and experiences. When I would later apply for my first paying job at a hospital, this experience was key to getting an offer. I was able to highlight why I was the strongest entry level candidate, sharing my hands on experience within a hospital environment. I was confident in my knowledge base, and was the developmental entry-level candidate that recruiters are eager to find.
Local hospitals offer a variety of promising opportunities with enough variety to match any interest. Even high school students can jumpstart their careers by volunteering as early as the age of 16.
Experience For Your Resume: (As part of the Volunteer to Career series, I will provide a variety of ways you can frame your experience in your resume.)
While you need to create your own points for each particular position, these examples provide the framework of how volunteerism can translate into applicable resume bullet points!
- Proficient user of “XYZ” electronic medical record systems.
- Coordinated patient registration for the emergency department.
- Two years of customer service experience in a patient care setting.
Skills Obtained: Medical Terminology, Hospital Policy and Procedures, Customer Service.
Becoming a volunteer firefighter and paramedic was one of the most fulfilling accomplishments of my life. It would serve as the foundation to a fulfilling and satisfying career in medicine which would later lead to an expanded career in Human Resources. Volunteering for the Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) can provide you with a diverse portfolio of professional experiences. Many of these opportunities are available to volunteers in high school, college and adulthood. Fire Services across the country are eager to accept new volunteers, and often times have access to state funds to pay for much of your training and professional development. This volunteering opportunity led me to be certified as a firefighter, EMT, and hazardous materials technician at no cost to myself. Many of these volunteer programs can be great stepping stones to well paying and benefited careers in local government, medicine, and the private sector.
Along with the professional benefits, there is no better feeling than being able to help those in need, and be a calming presence for those going through an extreme event or crisis. If you are considering a career in the EMS or Fire Service, then volunteer your way to your goal without paying for those expensive courses yourself.
Experience For Your Resume:
This position can be specialized to land a Fire/EMS job, but the experience you can gain can be applied to any career. With this particular position, you can frame your working experience as:
- Provided exceptional customer service in often difficult and hostile circumstances.
- Selected by supervisors to attend advanced training courses.
- Maintained confidential records in accordance with departmental regulations.
Skills Obtained: Administrative Processes, Community Engagement, Demonstrates Professional Development.
Although I have found my calling in Human Resources, I am still passionate about staying connected with these industries. I volunteer on the Membership and Recruitment Board of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT). This organization acts as a national advocate for the Emergency Medical Services, and is a great example of how you can match your professional ambitions and talents with an area that means something to you. I am a professional talent acquisition specialist, so I have applied my expertise in talent acquisition policy and recruitment to the NAEMT. This has allowed me to network with like minded professionals across the country in an effort to advocate the NAEMT’s mission and objectives. In this role, I attend quarterly meetings to determine ways to better serve the thousands of EMS professionals while encouraging additional professionals to join in the advocacy. This board determines what benefits, incentives, and programs will encourage retention and expansion within the organization.
The take away from this volunteer idea, is to find a national advocacy group that supports an industry that is important to you. Many of the opportunities can be fulfilled by utilizing remote volunteering, yet still have a national impact.
Experience For Your Resume:
These are just a few of the ideal ways to highlight your experiences:
- Advocated for National Legislation of H.R. 1818 with congressional leaders.
- Assisted in the coordination of national recruitment strategy.
- Tailor your volunteering experiences to the specific positions you are seeking:
- Coordinated public events.
- Managed volunteer teams.
- Participated in diverse multi-cultural teams.
Skills Obtained: Legislative Development, National Outreach, Participated in Strategic Vision.
Reaping The Rewards
Each of these opportunities can provide a great return on investment, and can lead to fulfilling careers within your areas of passion. It should also be worth noting, that many of these programs provide scholarships to their volunteers which could allow you to gain experience and potentially reduce your need for school loans. As always, the more active you are with your volunteering, the more exposure you can receive as a professional. This can allow you to gain the edge you need, to knock the other candidates out of the park. You should work to design effective bullet points that engage the recruiter, and act as a talking point in your interview. This gives you the chance to share your accomplishments in your interview, while backing them up with professional references you have gained through this form of networking.
Hospitals are great source of entry-level positions, even if you are not interested in a career in patient care. These organizations would prefer hiring from their volunteer core, and often provide excellent benefits to their employees. This is how I graduated with my first degree loan-free. I took advantage of the generous tuition reimbursement package offered through the hospital system where I was employed. Get engaged today, make a difference, change a life, and enhance your professional potential at the same time.
Our next installment in this series is for those of you who like to get their hands dirty! I will take a look into volunteerism in the great outdoors. From the bike trails to your local park, you will get an inside look into turning your passion for the environment into meaningful service for your resume. If you missed Part I & II in our series, you can check them out here -
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Taylor Bradley is an International Talent Acquisition Specialist. He enjoys writing and sharing his experiences, successes, and failures as a young professional for the betterment of others. Taylor is actively pursuing a second degree in HR Management. He has traveled to all 50 states and approximately 45 countries, many of which he visited as a volunteer for the United Nations, the Red Cross, and other related NGO's.