Summer Opportunities for Medical Students

Last updated: September 1, 2021

You are livin’ the dream! You have just completed your first year of medical school. Summer is looming ahead, and a part-time job flipping hamburgers or spreading mulch no longer seems adequate. Whether your goal is to make some much-needed cash, to gain some much-needed experience, or both, we have some great ideas for summer jobs.

Few summer jobs will make you rich or even pay the school bills. Still, many look great on a résumé and provide you both experience and the opportunity to evaluate your own interests in medicine.

Perhaps you are the person who would rather cuddle up with a book and a glass of iced tea in a quiet apartment than attend the family reunion and explain to everyone what you are doing with your life. Not all positions in medicine involve patients or even people. A few summer opportunities will allow you to evaluate whether science, rather than the patient interaction, is your passion in medicine.

Academic opportunities

Research assistant

A research assistant collects data from source documents and enters it into the study sponsor’s data tool. They also compare patient charts with a list of inclusion and exclusion criteria to determine the appropriateness for inclusion in a study.

Tutor for pre-med students

As a medical student, you have first-person knowledge of what it takes to get accepted into medical school. Your knowledge can be valuable to a student trying to put themselves in a position to apply to medical school.

Hands-on opportunities

These positions expose you to direct contact with patients and look particularly good on the resume of a medical student. It demonstrates you are excited about the field of medicine. It also displays a willingness to be involved, even at an entry level.

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

Becoming an EMT only requires a 6-week certification course and may provide employment opportunities for each summer while you are in school. In this capacity, you would respond on an ambulance with a paramedic as their assistant. You will evaluate patients and provide basic treatment such as splinting, oxygen therapy, wound dressings, CPR, and other basic interventions.

ECG monitor technician

Working as a monitor technician is a great way to get exposure to the hospital environment and learn a skill that you will utilize throughout both your residency as well as your career. As a monitor technician, you will watch cardiac monitors in emergency departments, telemetry units, or intensive care units for changes in cardiac rhythm. You will not provide direct patient care but will notify direct caregivers (nurses, physicians) of ECG changes so that they can react either urgently, if indicated, or electively with appropriate treatment. Training for this position can be done online. Pacific Medical Training has a course available for ECG technicians. Some facilities will also have the monitor technician obtain 12-Lead ECG tracings. This would give you direct patient interaction.

Special needs camp counselor

You will provide care and activities for individuals with special needs, either intellectual or physical. The position provides on-the-job training. As such, there is not a large time investment prior to being hired.

American Red Cross disaster response

These are both paid and unpaid positions. They range from emergency medical technician positions to volunteers serving food to disaster relief workers.

An assistant in a physician’s office

Most physicians will hire medical students as office staff. While pursuing a career as a medical assistant requires additional training or direct faculty supervision, there are many roles you can work in. Consider working at the front desk or in scheduling.

Emergency room scribe

Physicians can see more patients (and remain in a better mood) if they can spend less time documenting. The scribe follows the physician around and documents the note for them. Basic medical terminology is a must. We provide online training that would prepare you for this position. Summer opportunities are always available through agencies or direct employment from a medical facility.

These are only a few ideas on how to spend your free time during the summer. Any position that provides exposure to patients may be beneficial in determining what areas of interest you may have in medicine. Although there are few positions that pay well as entry-level providers, there are rewards beyond the monetary. Any of these positions would enhance a resume, showing interest as well as a willingness to work at an entry-level position to gain experience. It is our hope that this article has helped to provide some ideas for you to explore.

Last reviewed and updated by on Aug 30, 2021

Caitlin Goodwin, DNP, RN, CNM, is a Board Certified Nurse-Midwife, Registered Nurse, and freelance writer. She has over twelve years of experience in nursing practice.

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