Teenagers can share valuable and helpful skills in a variety of work environments within the hospital setting. Your interests, natural gifts and unique perspective prepare you to work in paid or volunteer positions that make a real difference in the lives of others, while offering you a sense of fulfillment and building your resume.
Hospital employment includes a broad spectrum of work environments, including patient care, administrative work, food service and maintenance. Consider your long-term career goals and natural gifts to get involved in an area related to the type of work you hope do as you get older. The connections you make working in the hospital now help get your foot in the door and give you advantageous professional contacts to help you excel as you grow in experience and education.
Many paid hospital positions are limited to teens who have already earned their high school diploma, but not always. Some hospitals have national fast-food chain restaurants on-site that hire teens starting at age 16. Area florists sometimes employ teens with a driver's license to deliver floral arrangements or other gifts to patient wards in the hospital. Occasionally, hospitals hire teens to help with reception or greeting patients and their families.
Older teens who have graduated high school have more options for paid employment in the hospital. Directly out of high school, the patient food service department and cafeteria are good choices, along with administrative work, filing and maintenance. With only a few months of education and a certificate following high school, 18-and 19-year-olds can find employment as certified nursing assistants, medical assistants, medical secretaries, laboratory technicians, patient services representatives or pharmacy technicians. Community and technical colleges are ideal places to look for programs offering those certifications.
Hospitals typically have a volunteer services department that offers teens a variety of positions. Use these opportunities to build your resume or beef up your college application. Contact the director of volunteer services to find out about opportunities serving in patient comfort, reading stories, keeping elderly patients company, greeting guests or serving children with fun recreational activities. If you like animals, train a therapy dog to visit patients. Some hospitals also use teen volunteers for clerical duties or in the medical library. Your presence and simple acts of service have the ability to impact people's lives in their time of need.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
Decide on the right paid or volunteer position for you, and then apply. Some positions only require you to complete an application, while others require one or more letters of recommendation from a teacher, mentor or other important adult in your life. Take your time filling out the application to ensure everything is completed properly, neatly and with appropriate grammar. Use an upbeat tone and complete sentences to answer all questions. Follow up with the person in charge of hiring, and thank them for their time and the opportunity to apply. You are more likely to be hired when you nurture relationships and make personal connections.