If you’re studying nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy or phlebotomy, now is the right time to get your foot in the door. Instead of waiting until after you’ve earned that degree or completed a certificate program, go out and look for an internship.
Many hospitals, medical laboratories and other providers offer internship programs (unpaid or paid) to high school and college students who are interested in careers in healthcare. While the duties and responsibilities of interns vary greatly from organization to organization, you will gain first-hand knowledge of what it would be like to work in this field. Perhaps even more importantly, you’ll meet people within that organization who may be interested in hiring you in the future. At the very least, you can obtain a letter of reference and add your internship experience to your resume – two powerful points in your favor when you start your job hunt in earnest.
Another option to consider is volunteer service. Most hospitals welcome volunteers who can spend time with patients or help employees with certain tasks, such as giving directions to visitors or providing assistance with the admissions process. Even if the volunteer work is not directly related to your field of study, you will learn a great deal about the hospital’s organization and culture. In addition, you will build your professional network, meeting managers and employees who could put in a good word for you in the future. They may also hear about potential job openings before they are officially announced. That means you could be among the “first in line” to submit your application and talk with the HR recruiter. And since you’ve probably gone through the screening process as a volunteer, you’re already a step ahead of other candidates.
So, don’t wait until you get that degree, diploma or certificate to start thinking about your career. Take advantage of internship or volunteer opportunities right in your community and get your foot in the door!