The University Pre-Health Advising Team is partnering with U.Va. Health to provide summer work opportunities for students interested in health professions. The collaboration was created for students to gain insightful experiences while getting paid.
The partnership between the Pre-Health advising team and U.Va. Health started in 2019 with the Observe Program —- a shadowing program that connected U.Va. Medical Center with Student Health to provide students interested in the health professions with the opportunity to shadow healthcare providers and network with them. The program ended with no guarantee of continuity due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With an increasing need for workers in the healthcare industry as well as student need for jobs and experiences in clinical settings, members of the University Health System and Pre-Health Advising Team have decided to team up to offer work opportunities to students in the summer.
The entry-level positions offered at the University Medical Center include Greeter, Access Associate, Patient Transporter, Food and Nutrition roles and Supply Chain. There are also positions offered in the Office of Environmental Services. Although some of these positions do not involve direct contact with patients, they propose the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of the hospital and contribute to the healthcare industry.
Although these offerings were previously available, they were not promoted to afford students the chance to apply due to the number of hours required to work, as explained by Charles Bodden, the senior director of Talent Recruitment and Retention with U.Va. Human Resources.
“Right now, the need for the hospital staffing [is great], and to extend this opportunity really makes a concerted effort to focus on U.Va. students,” Bodden said. “I mean, they're attached to the hospital system, why not provide them the first opportunity?”
Kim Sauerwein, interim executive director of the Career Center, detailed that it is often considered important for pre-health students to pursue these opportunities and make the most of them for their careers.
“The goal is that this would be an opportunity for students to have ongoing [experience],” Sauerwein said. “The pre-health advisors would support students with the reflection.”
These positions seek to enhance the connections between academics and professionality in order to help students acquire experiences that are deemed valuable for their future careers.
“Within pre-health advising, we ask students to think about their academic development, their career development and their personal development,” Sauerwein said. “ Career development is actually witnessing things in the health setting. Personal development is reflecting on those things that they witnessed.”
Sauerwein explains that the best applications for health profession programs are from students who have been reflective and intentional about their experiences.
Fourth-year Education student Haley Turner said networking and hands-on experiences are very powerful tools that pre-health students — like herself — should seek.
“I think as a pre-health student, the biggest thing for some opportunities is getting clinical experience,” Turner said. “It is a big thing that a lot of people are looking for and is required for medical school and for other health professions.”
Applications are posted on Handshake and the Pre-Health Pulse Newsletter. These summer work opportunities are intended to bolster the possibilities of other health and science-related summer jobs and research programs in the future for pre-health students at the University.
“This can go not just the summer but through the school year as well too,” Bodden said. “There's no time limit on this as long as these are opportunities [students] want to take advantage of.”