How to get pre-nursing work experience

April 4, 2016

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

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Nursing is a great profession, which can be rewarding and challenging, and gives you the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life.

Before starting a nursing program, it’s helpful to get some work experience, as it’ll help you gain insight into the profession, and open your eyes to specialties and options that’ll be available after you graduate. You may also get tips and advice from a nursing mentor about how to excel in nursing school.

There are several different ways to get good pre-nursing work experience. What you choose may depend on your age, interests and whether you’re still in high school. Keep in mind that you don’t have to pick just one pre-nursing experience; doing a combination of things may provide you the best, most well-rounded experience. Here are a few options to consider:


Shadowing a nurse is one of the best ways to get pre-nursing experience. During a shadowing experience, you’ll get to see what a nurse does from day to day. That means you’ll witness the good things as well as the things that may be a little gross or upsetting. It’s one thing to read about a career, but observing things first-hand is invaluable.

The best way to get shadowing experience is to sign up to a healthcare shadowing program with a reputable provider. Shadowing programs often have different options regarding location and the length the shadowing experience.

Volunteer Work

Another great way to gain exposure to the field and get pre-nursing experience is through volunteerism. Volunteer opportunities are available to many high school and college students in various settings. For example, students may volunteer in pediatric health clinics, community health organizations and nonprofit organizations.

Additional volunteer opportunities may include hospital work and disaster response abroad. If you’re interested in volunteering abroad, there are lots of providers who can arrange the experience on your behalf.

There are countless places you can volunteer and gain experience. Keep in mind that some organizations may have a minimum age requirement or require a commitment of a certain number of hours each month.


Working in a medical field is a great chance to gain pre-nursing experience and also earn some cash. There are a few different jobs that require just a brief training period. For example, most certified nursing assisting programs only take one semester to complete. If you are over 18, this is a good way to work side by side with nursing mentors and also earn money. Working as a nursing assistant provides direct patient care experience and may also be a foot in the door once you graduate nursing school.

Another employment option is to work as a monitor tech. Monitor techs sit at monitor consoles viewing a patient’s heartbeat, oxygen level, and EKG waveform. If an abnormality is discovered, the tech informs the doctor or nurse. Although it can vary, on-the-job training may be available.

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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists and physician assistants – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.