healthcare and medical professions

Tag: healthcare and medical professions


Congratulations, you are now a hospice volunteer or thinking about volunteering at a hospice center in a hospital or clinic. Here comes the ‘now what?’ questions. What do you do and do not do on your shift? What do you say and not say? Where do you go and not go? And how do you do it? Most of these questions and more might/will have already been answered in the training sessions. But the most important questions would be ‘Why?’ and again ‘How’. Why is it important to volunteer at a hospice center and how do you even volunteer?

Let us begin by starting to think about delivery as a volunteer. Note that a hospice volunteer is a person who will not only keep the company of patients but also ensure and support the nurses and workers in the vicinity. The truth is that most hospice volunteers do not have a planned duty like other volunteering opportunities have set out. This does not mean that there are no tasks for volunteers in hospice centers. Hospice facilities need volunteers around not just because of the experiences volunteers will gain, which includes direct patient contact, but also because volunteers are essential for institutions like clinics and hospitals to maintain the communal and friendly environment needed for patients to not feel burdened or stressed emotionally and mentally.

Volunteers are essential in hospice centers as they offer compassionate support to patients and their families during some of the most difficult times. They provide companionship, emotional comfort, and practical help, significantly improving the quality of life of patients. By alleviating loneliness and isolation, volunteers create a vital human connection that enhances emotional well-being. They engage in activities like reading, conversing, and offering a comforting presence, which can be deeply soothing for patients and their loved ones.

Hospitals and hospice centers often face significant resource limitations, and volunteers help address critical care gaps. By handling non-medical tasks, volunteers allow nurses and other healthcare professionals to concentrate on specialized medical care. They assist with administrative duties, run errands, or offer respite care, giving family members a much-needed break. This support is vital to maintaining an efficient and responsive healthcare environment. Moreover, volunteers bring diverse skills and perspectives, enriching the care setting with their unique talents.

The involvement of volunteers in hospice care highlights a community’s dedication to supporting its members and promoting a sense of unity and care. Volunteers frequently become advocates for hospice services in their communities, raising awareness and fostering a culture of compassion and empathy. Their contributions extend beyond immediate care to support the broader mission of hospice centers, which is to deliver holistic, patient-centered care. By bridging the gap between professional healthcare and the personal touch of community care, volunteers ensure that patients receive comprehensive support that meets both their physical and emotional needs.

Despite all these fully structured and well-formatted duties of volunteers, there is still some randomness to being a hospice volunteer. Each hospice patient has unique needs and emotional challenges, so volunteers need to be flexible and ready to adapt. They also need to empathize with both the patient and their caregiver, adjusting their support as situations change. This ability to adapt and empathize highlights how vital volunteers are in hospice care. They face different challenges and emotions daily, requiring them to be emotionally intelligent and resilient. By meeting these varying needs, volunteers help ensure patients feel comfortable and respected during their final days.

In summary, hospice volunteers are incredibly important. They improve the quality of life for terminally ill patients and help professional staff by taking on non-medical tasks. Their compassionate presence and adaptability show the community’s commitment to caring for its members. Volunteers provide a crucial bridge between clinical care and personal connection, making sure patients receive comprehensive support for both their physical and emotional needs. Through their dedication and empathy, volunteers significantly impact the lives of patients and their families.

Dennis Boakye ’26 is a rising junior with a major in Neuroscience and a minor in Mathematics. He is also a co-president of the Neurolawrence Club and the Synthetic Biology Club and the treasurer for the American Medical Student Association (AMSA, Lawrence Chapter) and the Black Student Union (BSU). Dennis is the current career peer educator for the Health and Medicinal Professions (HMP) and the Physical and Natural Sciences (PHN) career communities at Lawrence University. Connect with Dennis on LinkedIn.

Personal Project Ideas for a Productive Summer 

Summer is a wonderful time to relax and recharge, but it’s also a great opportunity to work on personal projects that can enhance your career prospects and personal growth. Whether you’re a student, a recent graduate, or a working professional, there are many ways to use your summer break to work on personal projects that can help you achieve your goals. Here are some ideas to help you get started: 

Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile: 

Updating your resume and LinkedIn profile is an essential project that can have a significant impact on your career growth and success. These two tools are often the first impression potential employers or professional connections have of you, so it’s essential to ensure they accurately reflect your skills, experience, and achievements.

To start, review your current resume and LinkedIn profile and make any necessary updates. This includes adding new experiences, skills, certifications, and job responsibilities. Make sure your headline, summary, and job descriptions accurately reflect your unique value proposition and what sets you apart from others in your field.

It’s also important to tailor your resume and LinkedIn profile to the specific job or industry you’re interested in. Use relevant keywords and highlight the skills and experiences that align with the job description. This can increase your chances of being noticed by recruiters or hiring managers and increase your likelihood of landing an interview.

The career center’s page on Lawrence’s website is an excellent resource for learning how to write effective resumes and build a strong LinkedIn profile. We offer samples, templates, and guidance on how to highlight your strengths and make a lasting impression on potential employers or connections.

Build Your Personal Website:

Building a personal website is a valuable asset in today’s digital world, regardless of your field of study or profession. It’s a powerful tool that allows you to showcase your skills, experience, and accomplishments to the world. With the rise of online job applications and remote work, having a professional-looking website can help you stand out and make a lasting impression on potential clients, customers, or employers.

Creating a personal website has become easier than ever before, thanks to website builders like Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress. These platforms offer user-friendly interfaces and customizable templates, making it easy to design a website that suits your unique needs and style.

Your personal website should include relevant information such as your resume, portfolio, projects, and any other achievements that demonstrate your expertise and value. It’s an opportunity to showcase your work and highlight your unique selling points to potential clients, customers, or employers. Including a blog, section can also help you establish your authority in your field and attract a wider audience.

In addition to showcasing your skills and experience, a personal website can also help you connect with like-minded professionals in your field. You can use your website to create a network of contacts and share your work with others. This can lead to new opportunities and collaborations that can help you grow professionally.

While building a personal website may not be a common practice in STEM fields, it certainly has its benefits. It offers a platform to showcase your work, connect with others, and establish your authority in your field. It can also demonstrate your proficiency in web development, design, and communication skills, which are highly valued in today’s job market.

Write Research Papers on Topics of Interest:

In today’s fast-paced world, staying up-to-date with the latest academic trends and honing one’s skills has become more critical than ever but staying engaged in academics is a vital aspect of your professional and personal growth. One effective way to stay engaged and work on your own time during the summer is to write research papers on topics of interest.

Writing a research paper is an excellent way to explore a topic in-depth, gain new skills, and showcase your abilities. The best part is that you don’t need any prior research experience or access to data to get started. A review paper can be an excellent place to begin, as it enables you to synthesize and evaluate existing research on a given topic.

To get started, you can identify a topic that piques your interest or that you’ve always wanted to explore. Then, use online databases like the Library, JSTOR, or Google Scholar to find scholarly articles and research papers related to your subject. Once you’ve gathered sufficient information, start synthesizing it into a unique paper that adds value to the existing conversation on the topic.

While writing your research paper, you’ll develop critical thinking, research methodology, writing, and communication skills. You’ll learn to analyze and synthesize complex information and gain valuable insights into the topic you’re exploring. This newfound knowledge and skill set will prove beneficial in your future academic and professional endeavors.

In addition to the personal and professional growth opportunities that come with writing a research paper, it also offers a chance to contribute to the academic community by adding new ideas to the existing discourse. Your paper can open up new avenues of exploration for future researchers, sparking new debates and ideas.

Conduct your passion project:

If you’ve ever had an idea for a personal project or passion project, this summer is the perfect time to turn that idea into a reality. Whether it’s becoming an advocate for a cause you’re passionate about or creating a project to empower a specific group, pursuing your interests can not only bring personal fulfillment but also have a positive impact on your community.

Lawrence University has a history of supporting students in pursuing their personal projects, and many Lawrentians have already turned their ideas into successful ventures. For instance, some students have launched initiatives to promote sustainability, while others have developed programs to support mental health and wellness.

In addition to the support of the Lawrence community, the Career Centre offers Experiential Funding to help students finance their personal projects. These funds can be used to cover project expenses and support your research, development, and implementation.

When choosing a project, consider selecting one that is aligned with your field of study or intended career path. This can help you gain valuable experience and skills that will be relevant to your future career goals. Furthermore, pursuing a project can help you build your resume and make you a more competitive candidate in the job market.

 Creating your summer To Do List:

Summer’s almost here!

After two or three terms of reading assignments, essays, study sessions, group projects, all-nighters, and exams, it’s time for a well-deserved break – a lengthy one. Working, reading, traveling, or exploring new hobbies? No matter what your goal is your summer break is the perfect opportunity to gain valuable experience and enhance your skills. Stepping away from school work, now is the time you can actually take some time out and do stuff that you’ve wanted to but never had the time for. But most importantly, this is the time you can plan your next year and prepare for it:

Check out a few ideas to help you plan your summer goals:

Internships: Look for internships at local companies or organizations in your field of interest. Many companies offer summer internships specifically for college students, giving you a chance to gain hands-on experience and learn from industry professionals. Take what you learned in the classroom and apply it to the real world. A summer internship is a great way to learn more about a business or industry and gain practical work experience to add to your résumé. (This is also a great way to build valuable connections and help determine whether a career is right for you.)

Resources to help you plan:

  • Pathways to Science
  • Handshake

Research: Universities often offer summer research programs for undergraduate students. These programs allow you to work on research projects with professors or graduate students, gaining exposure to advanced research methods and techniques while gaining new career path colleagues and professional connections.
Resources to help you plan:

– Pathways to Science

  • LURF
  • Handshake

Volunteer: Look for volunteer opportunities with organizations related to your field of study. For example, if you are studying environmental science, look for opportunities to volunteer with local conservation groups or parks. Volunteer roles are often available through research programs and organizations in need of your help, including charities, festivals, local non-profits, events, and community groups.

Resources to help you plan:


Take a course: Consider taking a summer course to get ahead on your coursework or explore a new subject. Many universities offer online courses during the summer, allowing you to study from anywhere. You might be able to transfer credits from these courses to apply to your Lawrence course credits. Studying abroad helps develop skills that a classroom cannot provide, forcing you to take risks, become more independent, expand your worldview, push your boundaries, and make friends around the world.
In addition to courses relates to your field, you can also take a class or join a group to help cultivate transferable skills that might need work through the practice, exercises, and helpful feedback like public speaking, programming, etc.

Study abroad: If you have the opportunity, consider studying abroad during the summer. This is a great way to experience different cultures and gain a global perspective on your field of study. Studying abroad helps develop skills that a classroom cannot provide, forcing you to take risks, become more independent, expand your worldview, push your boundaries, and make friends around the world.

Resources to help you plan:

-Off of Off-Campus Programs

Attend conferences: Look for conferences or seminars related to your field of study. These events often offer networking opportunities and the chance to learn from experts in your field. You will be investing in yourself and expanding your network. Some conferences might offer a student discount as well!

Work on personal projects: Use your summer break to work on personal projects related to your field of study. For example you could work to write a research paper, make your website, etc

Grow Professionally: Summer is perfect to grow professionally. You can refine and polish your resume, write sample/skeleton cover letters, and college essays, and even build your professional network online.

Resources to help you get started:

  • Resume
  • Linkedin

Conduct your own individual project. Employers love a self-starter! Take matters into your own hands by creating a short film, building websites and contributing to GitHub, or writing guest blogs. Personal projects not only demonstrate your initiative and dedication, but also help you explore and develop skills needed in your career and are a great, practical way to beef up your resume.
Resources to help you :

-Experiential Learning Funds

Career Spotlight: Podiatrist

Do you want to be one step ahead in the medical field, and be able to make puns about your work? Consider becoming a podiatrist! Jokes aside, foot health is vital to the health of the whole body, especially because some serious conditions first present through symptoms in the lower extremities. Podiatrists serve a valuable role in medicine by specializing in this important area of the body. Read on to explore the field of podiatry and how you can get there! 

What do podiatrists do? 

In the same way that dentists specialize in mouths, podiatrists specialize in feet. Specifically, a podiatrist’s work includes preventing, diagnosing, and treating foot-related issues. They work with both injuries and diseases, and may also specialize in a subset of these issues or in a type of treatment. A common treatment specialty is surgery. Additionally, since no part of the body functions in isolation, podiatrists frequently work with ankles and other nearby leg structures. 

What is their work environment like? 

Podiatrists can work in a diversity of settings. These include medical centers such as hospitals, trauma centers, private practices, group practices, and surgical centers. They also include interdisciplinary practice settings like professional sports teams, long-term care facilities, and the armed forces. Podiatrists may also perform academic, educational, and research work in universities and schools of podiatry. This variety allows for a lot of flexibility in work hours, patients, and medical conditions. 

Who do they work with? 

This flexibility in work environment goes hand in hand with a flexibility in both patients and coworkers. These factors depend largely on a podiatrist’s work setting. For example, a podiatrist working on a sports team may see athlete patients who have primarily injury and repetitive stress-related issues, and may work closely with physical therapists. A podiatrist working in a surgical center, however, may see a variety of clients with serious conditions, and may collaborate with other hospital staff. 

What is the job outlook for podiatry? 

The job outlook for doctors of podiatric medicine is excellent. Thea average salary is $190,675, and podiatrists typically work between 30 and 60 hours per week. 

How do I become a podiatrist? 

Podiatrists are doctors, and complete medical school programs tailored to the study of podiatry. These typically take place at accredited podiatric medical colleges. There are currently nine accredited colleges of podiatric medicine in the United States, as well as over 200 podiatry programs at hospitals and other organizations. Browse a list of programs here. Programs take around four years to complete. The first two years include coursework and laboratory experience, and the last two years focus on clinical sciences and patient care. The four-year program is followed by a 36-month residency. 

In the Know: Professional organizations and resources 

There are several professional pediatric organizations, and all have helpful resources in the field of podiatry, the educational, residency, and licensing processes, and scholarships. Here are some of these organizations: 

Wherever your career journey leads you, thank you for dipping your toes into the world of podiatry! 

Career Spotlight: Genetic Counselor

One of the wonderful things about the world of the health care and medical professions is the variety and quantity of subfields. One great option that straddles the fields of genetics, medicine, and counseling is genetic counseling. With flexible job duties, opportunities for specialization, and direct patient interaction, genetic counselors bridge the gap between specialized knowledge and patient communication. Does this sound like it might be a good fit? Read on to learn about careers in genetic counseling. 

What do genetic counselors do? 

Genetic counselors meet with patients who are considering genetic testing. Genetic counselors help patients to determine the best course of action, based on factors such as the patient’s risk for certain diseases and their family health history. Genetic counselors can meet with patients before and after genetic testing, and part of their work may include helping individuals and families to process the medical, psychological, and familial consequences of their test results. Additionally, genetic counselors may conduct research, teach, work in marketing, or perform other non-clinical work. Genetic counselors often specialize in areas including prenatal, pediatric, oncology, neurology, ophthalmology, and psychiatry. 

Where do they work? 

Genetic counselors can work in several settings, including hospitals, medical centers, private clinics, laboratories, universities, and non-profits. Genetic counseling work is also conducive to telehealth, which means that genetic counselors can sometimes work virtually. 

Who do they work with? 

In addition to meeting with patients, genetic counselors work closely with doctors and other medical staff. Obstetricians, oncologists, and medical geneticists, as well as primary care doctors and other specialists, may refer patients to a genetic counselor. They also may work closely with the families of patients. 

What is the job outlook for this profession? 

Genetic counselors make around $84,886 per year (the median salary calculated by an NSGC survey). Employment is projected to grow faster than average in the coming years. 

How do I become a genetic counselor? 

Genetic counselors receive advanced training in both medical genetics and counseling, in order to fill both genetic expert and counseling roles. Education typically involves a two-year master’s program in genetic counseling, following an undergraduate degree. After earning a master’s degree, prospective GCs take a certification exam, and thus become certified genetic counselors. 

In the Know: Professional organizations and resources 

The National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) is a primary resource for all things genetic counseling related. They have information on education, jobs, and policy relating to genetic counseling. 

The Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC) is also a great resource to know about. As the accreditation board for graduate programs in genetic counseling, it has a directory of accredited master’s programs. 

Lawrence Connections: Alumni in the genetic counseling field 

Lawrence has several alumni with professional experience as genetic counselors! There is no better way to learn about the field than from professionals themselves, so check out these profiles on Viking Connect, Lawrence’s alumni platform. Feel free to reach out to any or all of these alumni! 

Wherever your career explorations lead you, thanks for taking a minute to learn about this valuable field! 

Career Spotlight: Occupational Therapist

Are you looking for a dynamic career where you can interact with people of all ages, in all places, and help create meaning in their lives? Consider becoming an occupational therapist. Occupational therapy is an incredibly flexible field, with opportunities to work in settings as diverse as hospitals, schools, homes, and community centers. Regardless of the setting, occupational therapisits can make a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. Are you interested in exploring this exciting career path? Read on to learn more about the field of occupational therapy.

What do occupational therapists do?

Long story short, occupational therapists help clients to participate in areas of their lives as independently as possible, doing the things that they find most meaningful. In practice, this can look many ways. OTs commonly work with clients who have injuries, acute illnesses, mental health and neurological conditions, and those who have recently had surgeries. The goal of the work is to increase a client’s ability to perform a task or tasks which are relevant to their daily lives. Examples of tasks are trips to the grocery store, socializing with friends, completing school work, engaging in tasks required by the client’s job, and performing certain physical movements. OTs also frequently participate in redesigning a client’s home or another space, in order to increase their independent use of that space.

Where do they work?

The work environments of occupational therapists are incredibly diverse. Depending on the nature of the task(s) that the OT is helping a client with, OTs may work indoors or outdoors, in hospitals, homes, or out in the community. An OT can often choose their work environment(s) based on the nature of their employment, for whom they work, and their client populations. For example, OTs employed in hospitals would be likely to work indoors in clinic/office settings, whereas OTs working with children would be more likely to spend time in schools and/or outdoors.

Who do they work with?

OTs can be employed by many types of organizations, and can also be self-employed entrepreneurs. This provides a lot of opportunities for growth and tailoring throughout a career: you can work in many settings, with many different kinds of colleagues and patients/clients, and in many types of organizations. It is fairly common for OTs to start out employed by various organizations, and to start their own independent practice later in their career. OTs who work in hospitals would tend to interact with other hospital staff, especially other practitioners seeing the same patients (such as doctors, physical therapists, nurses, etc.) In schools, OTs may collaborate with school staff such as teachers, school counselors, and advisors, as well as with parents.

What is the training required?

Practicing as an occupational therapist requires a license. The most common pathway to licensure is to attend a masters program in occupational therapy, which can take 2-3 years following a bachelor’s degree. A growing number of OT master’s programs are transitioning to OT doctoral programs. Browse a list of programs here and explore the differences between entry-level master’s and doctoral programs.

What is the job outlook?

The median annual salary for occupational therapists in 2020 was $86,280. Employment is expected to grow in the coming years. Occupational therapy is lesser known than some other similar fields, which often means there are jobs available with fewer candidates to fill them.

In the Know: Professional organizations and resources

Want to learn more, find resources, or connect with occupational therapists? It’s never too early familiarize yourself with professional organizations in your field of interest. Organizational websites can have a lot to offer, from program lists, to licensing information, to networks of professionals. Here are a few occupational therapy organizations:

Lawrence Connections: Alumni with occupational therapy backgrounds

These Lawrence alumni have backgrounds in occupational therapy. Feel free to message them on Viking Connect, Lawrence’s alumni platform. Alumni are on Viking Connect by choice (not by requirement), so they are here to connect with students! There is no better way to understand a profession than to speak to professionals in the field.

Wherever your career path leads you, we’re glad you took the time to learn about this vibrant, flexible, and expanding field!