Patient care experience is simply any type of volunteering where you have contact with people that have some type of health issue. Most students think this means volunteering in a hospital and in fact hospitals are great places to get this type of volunteer experience. However, not all volunteering in a hospital provides a patient care experience.
I often talk to students that are volunteering at the hospital gift shop or behind the information desk directing people where to go. While all volunteering is good, this type of volunteering does not involve patient contact.
Patient care experience in the hospital might mean working on a patient floor answering lights to help patients with basic needs. It also might be working in an emergency room getting supplies for the doctors and nurses and helping them help the patients.
But patient care experience isn’t limited to a hospital setting. PatientWise website offers other alternatives. Many of my students never work in a hospital but get significant patient care experience volunteering in a nursing home. While the residents of a nursing home aren’t called patients, helping them is in fact patient care experience. This type of patient care experience is often much easier to get than hospital volunteering and you have more options of what to do with the residents. You can talk with them, feed them or read to them as a few examples.
I have also had students volunteer at such varied locations as centers for autistic children and physical therapy facilities.
What is important here is the contact with the person that is in a facility because of health care needs.
Next time I will talk about that term “significant” and what it means when I say a student needs significant patient care experience.