If you're thinking about medical or other professional school, gaining significant clinical experience will give you confidence as you apply to graduate programs. Grand Rapids stands out among college towns with its countless opportunities to get experience, with its impressive Medical Mile and numerous other healthcare complexes.

Getting clinical experience will help you find out early if you are really interested in a medical career. Ask yourself what kind of a medical professional you would really like to be; what specialty can you see yourself doing? These are just a few ways to find clinical experiences:

Get a job providing service in a medical setting

In the Grand Rapids area there are several major health systems and specialty hospitals as well as numerous extended care facilities. Students who work as Certified Nursing Assistants gain skills and experience along with their paychecks.

See more details about places you could work and volunteer.


This involves following a health provider around to see what their job is all about. This is a great first step. You won't have any responsibilities while shadowing, but you can observe and ask questions while you stay out of the way.

Basic science research

This is a step up from shadowing. You can volunteer or get a job in a hospital clinical department, pharmaceutical company, at Calvin in one of the science departments, or at Calvin's West Michigan Regional Lab. These are all excellent options. Getting some experience doing research, or even cleaning cages, is helpful because you gain an understanding of research methodology. While you are an undergraduate, take advantage of any opportunity you have to hear medical research presentations.

Clinical research

If you can get experience in clinical research, that would be extremely valuable. This would most likely be in a hospital or clinic associated with a medical school. Your role may as a volunteer who is willing to do anything that is needed. You might be fortunate enough to help enroll subjects in clinical studies. An opportunity like this will give you patient contact and you might ultimately contribute enough to be an associate author on a published paper.

How do you get this experience?
  • Take advantage of the service learning center, a robust resource for connecting students to opportunities for learning through experience.
  • Approach the Calvin professors who are doing research that interests you.
  • Ask the doctors, dentists and veterinarians who you know.
  • Talk to the veterinarians who work at the West Michigan Regional Lab.

Set up appointments with these people. Treat it like a practice interview. Talk about your interest in a medical career. Ask about the research they have done or are doing. Explain that you are thinking about going to medical (dental/veterinary) school and that in order to make up your mind you would like to see first-hand what taking care of patients is all about. Mention that you are willing to do anything to get your foot in the door and be involved in their clinical research.

Grand Rapids health care providers with potential for volunteer/work opportunities

More information about obtaining health care experience in general can be found here.

Medical observation programs (shadowing)

There are three tiers of shadowing, and all undergraduates are assigned to Tier 1. The Tier 1 limit for shadowing is from 1—30 days.

Medical Observation Program contacts

Spectrum Health

Mary Miller in the Medical Staff Office
(616) 391-1609

Mercy Health

Michele Inman
(616) 685-6138

Metro Health

Julie Didion
(616) 252-7419

Hospital/Medical Clinic sites
Spectrum Health—Blodgett Campus

1840 Wealthy SE
Grand Rapids, MI

Employment Volunteer
Spectrum Health—Butterworth Campus

100 Michigan St. NE
Grand Rapids, MI

Employment Volunteer
Helen De Vos Children’s Hospital

100 Michigan St. NE
Grand Rapids, MI

Employment Volunteer
Mercy Health St. Mary’s Health Care

200 Jefferson Ave. SE
Grand Rapids, MI

Employment Volunteer
Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital

235 Wealthy St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI

Employment Volunteer
Clinica Santa Maria

730 Grandville Avenue SW
Grand Rapids, MI
(616) 685-8400

Metro Health Hospital

5900 Byron Center Ave.
Wyoming, MI
(616) 252-7009

Baxter Community Center

935 Baxter St.
Grand Rapids, MI

Employment Volunteer
Cherry Street Health Services

100 Cherry St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI
(616) 965-8200

Cherry Street Health Center

550 Cherry St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI

Exalta Health

2060 Division Ave. S
Grand Rapids, MI

Oasis of Hope Center

522 Leonard St NW
Grand Rapids, MI
(616) 451-8868

Faith Hospice

2100 Raybrook Ave SE #300
Grand Rapids, MI
(616) 235-5100

Spectrum Health Hospice

750 Fuller Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI
(616) 391-4200

Hospice of Michigan

989 Spaulding SE
Ada, MI
(888) 247-5701

Retirement village sites
Holland Home System

Corporate Office
2100 Raybrook SE, Ste 300
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 235-5000

Breton Woods
2772 Pfeiffer Woods Dr
Grand Rapids, MI 49512
(616) 643-2582

Raybrook Campus
2121 Raybrook SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 235-5002

Fulton Campus
1450 East Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 643-2600

Faith Hospice at Trillium Woods
8214 Pfeiffer Farms Dr SW
Byron Center, MI 49315
(616) 356-4820

Employment Volunteer
Porter Hills Retirement Communities

Porter Hills Retirement
Communities & Services
4450 Cascade Road, Suite 200
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 949-4975

Porter Hills Home Care
4450 Cascade Rd SE, Suite 300
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 949-5140

Porter Hills Village
3600 East Fulton Street
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 949-4971

Cook Valley Estates
1049 East Paris Avenue
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 949-3739

Porter Hills Foundation
4450 Cascade Road, Suite 200
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 949-4975, ext. 20415

Sunshine Transportation
4450 Cascade Road, Suite 400
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 464-1509

Meadowlark Village
65 Ida Red Ave.
Sparta, MI 49345
(616) 887-8891

Employment Volunteer
Lutheran Social Services of Michigan

Luther Village, Maple Creek Campus
2000 32nd St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508

Employment Volunteer
Certified Nurse Assistant training sites
Walker Medical Instruction

1035 4 Mile Road NW
Grand Rapids, MI
(616) 784-3001

Training info
Goodwill Industries

Porter Hills Presbyterian Village
4450 Cascade Rd SE
Grand Rapids, MI

General info Specific info
Advance Medical Training, Inc.

5317 Alpine Ave. NW
Comstock Park, MI 49321
(616) 551-3073 (phone)
(616) 551-3801 (fax)

General info
EMT Training sites
Great Lakes EMS Academy

1001 S. Division
Grand Rapids, MI 49507
(616) 459-1736

Training info
Life EMS Ambulance

1275 Cedar St. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 458-LIFE (5433)

Training info
Two the Rescue

1907 Millbrook Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508
(616) 262-8455

Training info
Medical Scribe job opportunities
Job Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Who is Medical Scribe Systems?

Medical Scribe Systems (MSS) provides real-time documentation services for emergency departments, outpatient clinics, and hospitalists nationwide.

What’s a Medical Scribe?

Scribes chart on the electronic medical record during the patient examination. They take care of documentation so doctors can better focus on the patient.

Does this sound like you?

You are energetic, organized, and personable. You strive for perfection and want to work in the healthcare field. The ideal candidate will have strong written and verbal communication skills, as well as the ability to work under pressure in a fast-paced clinical environment. Great experience for: Medical School, Physician Assistant School, and Nursing School. Requires a one-year commitment and the ability to work a minimum of two shifts per week.

Preferred Qualifications
  • Currently pursuing a degree or career in healthcare
  • Able to take constructive criticism
  • Able to prioritize and multitask
  • Extroverted and personable
  • Strong desire to learn something new on a daily basis
  • Must always be aware of surroundings; no tunnel vision
  • Type 50+ WPM
Job Duties
  • Transcribing the patient examination in real time into an Electronic Medical Record (EMR)
  • Understanding clinical workflow
  • Reviewing prior medical records
  • Checking on the progress of x-rays and other patient data

Apply online at www.scribejob.com.

Also, scribes are now used at Cherry Street Health Center (see above for information)

To see a training source for Emergency Care Specialists for scribe training, visit http://www.gvsu.edu/scribe/.


Teri Crumb

Teri Crumb

Pre-Health Professions Advising Coordinator
Full profile