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.
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.
Grand Rapids health care providers with potential for volunteer/work opportunities
More information about obtaining health care experience in general can be found here.