Pre-Health Opportunities During COVID-19

Claire Cornell

How can I get clinical and community service hours when hospitals and clinics are closed off to students?

Many students are struggling to find clinical opportunities or any hospital volunteering due to COVID-19. While this is true, there are still ways for you to add to your experiences that may not be direct service, but can still be helpful in strengthening your future application. Volunteering is one of the best ways our students are getting involved and still showing their commitment to serving others and dedication to helping those in need. 

  • Volunteer - many students are using and to find opportunities to serve in their area
  • Healthcare Certification/Training (EMT, CNA, PCT, etc.): a great way to get direct patient care experience in the future. Look at getting certified now as positions may open up as the year progresses! 
    • If there are EMT or CNA Training Courses taking place in your area, sign up if you feel safe doing so! Common places to look for are rescue squads near you, community colleges, or even some approved online courses. 
    • EMT Certification Offerings - Learn about different course options to become certified as an EMT. If looking at CATEC, check out this link
    • Western-Albemarle Rescue Squad (WARS) - No certification is required to join, but you will be trained extensively upon becoming a member!
    • Fast Track Healthcare Education - program options to gain certification as a PCT, phlebotomy tech, nurse aid, CPR, etc. 
    • COVID Contact Tracing Certification - become certified as a contact tracer to work remotely on assisting patients who may have or have been exposed to COVID-19
    • PVCC Workforce Services Courses - take courses for healthcare training as a phlebotomy tech, CNA, pharmacy tech, medical assistant, EKG tech, and more!

What about if I was trying to shadow? How can I get shadowing experiences if no clinics or hospitals are allowing volunteers? 

We encourage students to use personal outreach to try to find shadowing experiences. For example, many students will first reach out to their own primary doctor who they may have a relationship with already to see if they'd be willing to allow them to shadow. Ask your parents, aunts, uncles, friends, friends' parents, etc. for any connection to someone in the health profession you have interest in! We expect many students may get "no" for an answer right now, but do not let that deter you! There are still plenty of ways to gain an understanding of the profession. 

What if I was trying to get research experience? 

Is there anything else I should be doing for my future application at this time? 

You are likely always doing something that will add to your application, whether that is just attending classes and doing homework, volunteering, or even just thinking about your future. If you are unable to find any experiences mentioned above that match with what you have the time for, consider the following: