Project Healthcare


Project Healthcare (PHC) is an innovative, summer-intensive volunteer program for enthusiastic and inspired college and post-baccalaureate students. Housed by the Bellevue Hospital Center Emergency Department, PHC gives students an opportunity to experience and observe many different aspects of healthcare. The program offers the committed student a unique healthcare experience, intended to furnish a wealth of knowledge about the numerous options for a career in healthcare. Participation in research and serving as health educators during our annual health fair allow students the exposure they need to make educated career choices. Furthermore, mandatory lectures and weekly meetings provide students with a chance to discuss medical issues, including the practical problems that hospitals, patients, and medical staff encounter in the healthcare system.


Project Healthcare is a very demanding program, requiring a great deal of commitment and time on the part of the student. The program will begin in early June and end in mid-August, totaling ten weeks. 

Participants spend the first week in orientation to provide introductions to the Emergency Department and other rotation areas, information lectures, certification in CPR, and are trained on taking EKGs. Students also receive their schedule for the entire program, which is entirely random. Participants should expect to work a minimum of 22 hours per week in scheduled rotations, however due to the random nature of the schedule (intended to give participants a complete view of healthcare and the daily lives of healthcare professionals), the amount of time spent on shifts varies each week.  Schedules do not include the time necessary to devote to health fair and research projects. In addition, students are required to attend a weekly two-hour team meeting, with the option of staying to attend a Public Health Elective taught by one of the Emergency Department’s attending physicians. 

Rotations take place in the Emergency Department (Adult Emergency Services, Pediatric Emergency Services, Psychiatric Emergency Services, Urgent Care, the Emergency Ward, and Social Work), the Operating Room, and the Cardiac Catheterization Lab. Clinical rotations are scheduled in four- or five-hour blocks, seven days a week, from 7am-11pm, with the opportunity to take on at least one overnight shift. 

During shifts, participants are expected to perform structured tasks that will assist doctors, nurses, social workers, patients, and administrators. These tasks include, but are not limited to, making up stretchers, stocking supplies, transporting patients, assisting minimally in trauma situations, obtaining EKGs for patients at a care provider’s request, and interacting with patients. In addition, volunteers act as patient advocates, performing such duties as making phone calls on behalf of patients, monitoring the patient’s length of stay, and interpreting. Participants may be asked to spend a shift collecting data for quality assurance research. All of these tasks provide an invaluable service to Bellevue, while at the same time offering students the unparalleled opportunity to observe and assist in clinical care. 

Additional required activities include: ambulance ride-along, health fair presentation, team presentations of research study results at the Department of Emergency Medicine conference, autopsy observation with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. 

Additional optional activities include: participation in Child-Life program, and participation in the Reach Out and Read Program.

Application Process

Annually, the program accepts at most 50 students. We invite applications from mature, committed, and motivated students who fully accept the demands of Project Healthcare and have a willingness to participate enthusiastically in all aspects of the program. We encourage applications not only from students with a strong interest in healthcare (aspiring doctors, nurses, nurse-practitioners, physician assistants, clinical psychologists/psychiatrists, and clinical social workers), but also from students who are uncertain about pursuing a career in healthcare. Undergraduate applicants must be done with their first year by the start of the program.

Please note that housing is not provided as part of this program.

Please read the Frequently Asked Questions (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) thoroughly before submitting your application. Applications consist of the online application form (February 1st 2015), an updated Resume/CV, personal statement, photo, and two letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation must include a completed  Letter of Recommendation cover sheet, and be mailed in a signed, sealed envelope to the following address:

Lauren O'Donnell
Program Coordinator
Department of Emergency Medicine, Suite 345A
Bellevue Hospital Center, 462 First Avenue
New York, NY 10016 

For questions or concerns, you may contact Lauren O’Donnell at