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Clinical Experience

Academics / Departments & Programs / Pre-Professional Health / Student Experience / Clinical Experience

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 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

    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

  • 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

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

    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
  • 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


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Teri Crumb

Pre-Health Advising Coordinator

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