Gaining Experience in the Health Professions




Listings of Health-Related Activities

View lists of clinical, research, and community service activities. 

Why Do You Need Experience?

If you plan to pursue a career in one of the health professions (medical, dental, veterinary, etc) it is important to gain experience in your chosen field before you apply. This is an excellent way to get an inside perspective on a career as an undergraduate, so you can make an informed choice if it is the right profession for you. Such activities are best pursued on a continual basis, during academic semesters or breaks alike.

Admission committees seek applicants who have strong academic qualifications. They also look for evidence of applicants' altruistic orientation, knowledge of broad issues in health care, and an understanding of the rewards and demands of the profession. Volunteerism and community service demonstrate these qualities and are essential for a successful application.

You should not feel compelled to load up on experiences. In fact, getting involved in a few activities that are truly meaningful to you and engaging in them over time will be more beneficial than taking on too many disparate activities, which will only overwhelm you and suggest that you are either unfocused or padding your resume. 

Self-Assessment

In order to begin looking for health related activities, you should start by reflecting on your choices and passions. Self-assessment is important because it will help you refine your interests and enable you to present yourself more confidently on your resume and when speaking with volunteer and internship coordinators. Here are some questions to consider:

  • What subjects and activities inspire you and spark your curiosity?
  • How do you spend your free time?
  • If you had a day free of studying, how would you spend it? (Sleeping doesn't count!)
  • If you were to help a population of people, who would it be? Children? Elderly? Women? Spanish speaking? A mix?
  • Where and when do you want to complete this experience? In Providence during the school year? During the summer in an urban area? A rural area? Internationally?
  • Is there a particular area within health care that you want to explore? For example, diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, men's health, pediatrics, women's health, etc.

How to Search for an Opportunity

Many internship and/or volunteer positions require you to submit a cover letter and resume. If you do not have a resume, be sure to use Brown's CareerLAB Resume Tips Sheets.

There are several ways to search for opportunities in the health care field. Networking with faculty members, mentors, family, and friends is a great way to start. Health Careers Advising is always expanding their internship, clinical, research and volunteer listings. CareerLAB has internship listings and databases where you can read about students' past experiences. The Swearer Center for Public Service has over 30 community service programs in the Providence area as well as funding opportunities for other projects. The Directory of Research and Researchers at Brown is an excellent database to explore. 

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