Admissions committees are interested in well rounded, broadly educated students. The classroom is only one component of the educational experience. A strong community service record and experience in a health-related field are important components of an application. Opportunities can be found through community involvement, medically related activities, undergraduate research, and campus organizations, as well as national and international exchange programs. Keep a journal of your experiences.
Health-related experience can be found by volunteering at local hospitals, hospice centers, community health clinics, rehabilitation centers, long term care and skilled nursing homes, etc. If you have never volunteered in a medical setting, an ideal place to begin is with your local hospital's volunteer program. Many organizations will expect a set time commitment and may be required to obtain specific immunizations.
Job shadowing, or volunteering, with an individual practitioner is another means of gaining experience/knowledge. You may want to approach your family practitioner or a doctor who has seen you previously as a patient. The experience may allow more one-on-one in-office exposure. In addition, your family doctor may be willing to recommend you to other colleagues who can offer additional opportunities.
Students are usually asked to make a commitment for the semester to volunteer for up to four hours a week.
- Portsmouth Hospital: 603-433-4002.
- Exeter Hospital: 603-778-7311, ext. 6331.
- Frisbie Memorial Hospital ( Rochester ) (603) 332-3100 ext. 8329
- York Hospital:(ME) 207-351-2224.
- Wentworth-Douglass Hospital ( Dover ): 603-740-2818.
For exposure to busier and more urban/diverse settings consider the 45 minute drive to Manchester or Concord:
Check the yellow pages or do an on-line search for Clinics, Hospitals, Hospices, Nursing Homes, Dentists and Physicians to find other local health-related settings in which to volunteer.
- Office of Civic and Community Engagement, Community service at UNH and the surrounding communities
- UNH Office of Student Involvement & Leadership
- Families First Health and Support Center: MEDICAL AND DENTAL
- New Hampshire Health Care Association
- Goodwin Community Health: MEDICAL and DENTAL
- The Homemakers Of Strafford County Aka The Homemakers Health Services
National Volunteer Opportunities
- Habitat for Humanity
- The Corporation for National and Community Service
- Volunteer Match
International Volunteer Opportunities
The following organizations provide opportunities for exposure to healthcare in a wide variety of settings. A listing here in no way endorses a program. It is simply a resource for students to explore.
- Child Family Health International
- Cross Cultural Solutions
- Global Service Corps
- Health Career Connection
- International Medical Volunteers Association
- International Service Learning
- Peace Corps
- Projects Abroad
- Visions in Action
- Institute for International Cooperation and Development
- Volunteer International
Online Volunteer Opportunities
Most summer programs have application deadlines in February and March if not earlier.
Courses, Certifications, and Training
- EMT Certification
Some health professions students gain paid experience by working as a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).It is important to note that simply completing a course and becoming certified is not sufficient experience for an applicant to a health professions program. Once certified, be sure that you have ample time to volunteer/work with your local ambulance corp so that you gain exposure to patient contact vs. on-call hours. Do an internet search in your community for EMT courses.
The UNH Kinesiology Department offers a credit course (KIN 684/685) called Emergency Medical Care: Principles and Practices that prepares students to take the EMT certifying exam.
McGregor Memorial EMS 603-862-3674
A volunteer organization, located on the UNH campus, providing primary emergency medical care to the communities of Durham, Lee, Madbury and UNH. Volunteer opportunities are available for UNH students who have an interest in medicine and either have obtained or are interested in obtaining their EMT certification. McGregor provides a unique opportunity to gain valuable field experience and provide actual hands-on medical care.
- Certified or Licensed Nursing Assistant/Aide and Patient Care Assistant LNA/CNAs work under the supervision of a nurse, and since they have extensive daily contact with each patient, they play a key role in keeping the nurse up-to-date on vital information about the patients' conditions. The provide direct patient contact; especially for those interested in PA programs and medical school. Many nursing homes offer the training; the Red Cross does classes too- contact your local chapter. Tech colleges are another source where training is offered. Do an internet search in your community for LNA/CNA courses. Visit LNA Health Careers for NH LNA course offereings.
- Phlebotomists collect blood for donation or so the blood can be analyzed in a clinical laboratory. Phlebotomists work in clinical laboratories, hospitals, community health centers, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, blood donation centers, and other health care facilities. UNH offers a phlebotomy course: BMS 640/641.
- Medical Scribes are individuals trained in medical documentation who assist the physician, shadowing them throughout their shift. The primary function of a scribe is the creation and maintenance of the patient's medical record, which is done under the supervision of the attending physician. The scribe performs a variety of tasks, including recording patients' histories and chief complaints, transcribing physical exams, ordering x-rays, recording diagnostic test results, and preparing plans for follow-up care. This type of work can provide pre-medical students with excellent observational opportunities in a wide area of settings including doctor offices and emergency departments. It may not be adequate for direct patient contact experience for PA applicants. One company that some UNH alum have trained with as ED scribes is Scribe America.
Research at UNH
- Research may be an opportunity to demonstrate the strength of your academic commitment. You may develop your own research project, work as part of an ongoing research project or develop an independent study supervised by a professor. The value is not solely in the research itself but the quality of your personal involvement. Opportunities are available in all disciplines. Talk with your professors/advisors and investigate UROP and IROP.