The Value of Volunteering

So you're thinking about entering the medical field, but you're not sure that you have the skills or education needed to launch a successful healthcare career. Or maybe you already have a good job, but are interested in devoting part of your life to some meaningful volunteer work. In either case, you never should underestimate the value of volunteering.

Volunteers are employed in virtually all facets of the healthcare field, at all levels. In hospitals, volunteers are needed to sit with and sometimes bathe and feed patients. In addition, 'candy striper' volunteers are on staff to cheer and share gifts with patients, bringing them both warm smiles and treats such as magazines and (if their diets allow) tasty goodies.

Hospices are perhaps the most in need of quality volunteers, as their patients—all of whom are facing severe and often fatal illnesses—are the most in need of caring and compassion. You don't need a medical degree to supply a listening ear, to bake goodies or to make a quilt for a grateful recipient, or to have a meaningful talk with the patient's family. In times of great emotional and physical distress, hospice volunteers can make all the difference.

In a doctor's office, volunteers are sometimes called upon to help answer phones and set appointments, and—once again—to provide emotional support for patients in need.

As much as volunteers aid and support both medical professionals and their patients, they too can benefit immensely from their vocation. As a volunteer, you can derive immense satisfaction from helping people, knowing that you truly make a difference in their lives.

Volunteers also benefit from the warmth and praise they often receive from the people they serve, and from the community at large. In addition, hospitals in particular frequently have a special rewards system for volunteers, offering them gifts, discounts on cafeteria meals and gift shop merchandise, and sometimes certificates and other awards that honor their work.

Experience is another reward of the volunteer experience, especially in the medical field. By working in the medical field, you will become familiar with the workings and atmosphere of healthcare facilities. And, as you watch medical professionals at work, you may be inspired to seek your own job in the healthcare profession.

If you ever decide to seek a paying position as a doctor or a nurse, a pharmacist or a technician, etc., you will be able to list all that volunteer experience in the context of your resume; demonstrating the knowledge that you have accrued through your hours of service.

No one can underestimate the value of volunteering, especially in the medical field. Volunteers do their part to enhance patient comfort, and also to make life easier for the professionals they serve. And in most cases, you don't need a medical degree or a great deal of prior experience to become a healthcare volunteer. Indeed, all you really need is a heart for helping. Check out volunteer positions in the medical field today!

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