Why You Should Volunteer During Your Medical Assistant Training

A medical assistant volunteering their timeHow can a medical assistant graduate ensure their job application gets noticed when they only have their medical assistant training and externship experiences to put on their resume?

It’s a question you may be asking yourself as you consider enrolling in a medical assistant training school. You want to be prepared for the job market.

One way you can grab the attention of a hiring manager or recruiter is to show you have healthcare volunteering experience.

“Along with minimal qualifications and a customer service background, I look for an entry-level medical assistant to have volunteer experience in the healthcare field,” says John Parshall, Senior Recruiter at Stanford Health Care (SHC). “Highlight on your resume anything that suggests you’re passionate about going into the healthcare field.”

So how do you sign up to be a healthcare volunteer? And once you’re signed up, what kind of volunteer work will you have to do?

Let’s address those questions right now.

How Do You Sign up to Be a Healthcare Volunteer?

Perhaps the quickest way to find healthcare volunteer opportunities is to type the word ‘volunteer’ and then the name of a healthcare employer into your favorite online search engine. You should then see the employer’s volunteer page in your search results.

If your search results don’t show a volunteer program for the healthcare employer you chose, visit the employer’s website directly to see if they have a volunteer page, just to be sure.

On the employer’s volunteer page you’ll see the information you need to submit an application, along with any requirements the volunteer program may require of you.

To get you started, here are some healthcare employers that offer volunteer opportunities that may interest you:

Volunteer at Stanford Health Care (SHC)

Volunteer at San Francisco General Hospital

Volunteer at San Francisco Chinese Hospital

Volunteer at local Sutter Health Facilities

Volunteer at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC)

Volunteer at Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF)

Volunteer at Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco

Ideally, the employer should be located close to your medical assistant training or where you live, so you can comfortably commit to performing your volunteer work.

As with any job, volunteer or not, you want to be dependable and reliable. Remember, people are counting on you to show up on time and do the work you promised.

What to Expect When You’re Volunteering During Your Medical Assistant Training

Volunteering jobs offered by medical facilities are varied.

For instance, let’s take a look at the Adult Volunteer Program offered by Stanford Health Care (SHC).Volunteer opportunities at just their main hospital include: Department Assistant, Ambassador, Random Acts of Flowers, CD Cart, and volunteering in departments such as Oncology, Neurology, and Intensive Care, to name just a few.

Job duties are ranging, but, as an example, if volunteering in SHC’s Oncology Department interests you, you’d be expected to:

  • Stock office supplies
  • Ensure no food or drinks are present on the nursing station or unit floor
  • Answer incoming calls
  • Answer patient call lights and page/find the RN/NA as needed
  • Escort families to other hospital destinations when needed
  • Prepare patient brochures
  • Perform hourly rounds to check on patients’ personal needs

As you can see, the work involves assisting staff in ensuring their guests are treated with quality care.

One item to note is that SHC, like other healthcare employers, do require a prospective volunteer to follow additional steps after their application is submitted and reviewed.

With SHC, this would be a group interview, completion of an online curriculum, a background check, a health screening, and a minimum time commitment from the volunteer.

It’s worth the effort on the part of volunteer, knowing that, although placement at a specific location isn’t guaranteed, SHC does try to place their volunteers according to a person’s interests, availability, and the organization’s needs.

The Many Benefits of Volunteer Work

As a volunteer you’ll gain new work skills and experience that will catch the eye of a hiring manager or recruiter, but just as importantly your volunteering will help strengthen the community, make a difference in people’s lives, and is a way for you to give back.

During your medical assistant training can you find a way to volunteer at a local medical facility? If you can’t volunteer during your medical assistant training because of your schedule or other commitments, can you volunteer after graduating – while you’re applying for a medical assistant position?

Not only will your volunteering experience benefit your job application, but it will also make you feel good about yourself knowing you’re helping to make the healthcare experience better for everyone concerned.

Just as you’ll be doing when you’re hired as a medical assistant for the first time.


Would you like to know more about working for Stanford Health Care (SHC)?
If you do, you can learn more about what SHC has to offer their employees here