Working in Health & Medical

Parent Q&A

  • Hi BPN - My family (myself, husband, 2 year old) recently moved to Berkeley after many years outside of the country, and we are hoping to gain some insight to quality of life and parenting compatibility as an EMT/paramedic. My husband worked for the Red Cross (Mexico) for 10+ years and we are thinking through what it may take to validate/transfer all his licenses here in the US, or whether he should pursue another line of work.

    Would any EMT/paramedic parents in the network be willing to share their reflections on work realities in the field and how it has been working (or not) to raise young kids while doing this work? Also happy to connect via email - ariannataboada [at]

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Getting Started in the Medical Field

May 2003

Hi, I'm getting ready to graduate from Cal this saturday =0), and I plan on taking about a year off to get ready to apply to nursing school with big ambitions to get my master's in science and become a certified nurse midwife(CNM). Lots of medical schools that I'm considering applying to have placed strong emphasis on having experience in the medical field. I'm really interested in working in some type of ob/gyn setting to gain more insight about the field in particular. I've been searching for a while and I just don't have the medical exp. required for most jobs I see. However, I don't want to give up and settle for any ole job just to pay the bills. Does anyone have ANY advice, about getting a job or intern in this field.....I REALLY NEED A JOB/ASAP and the ob/gyn field would be a great opportunity as for my future goals!!! Any information would be gladly appreciated. Thank you

I don't know. Working in an OB-Gyn's office to get birth-related experience if you want to become a midwife? Hmmm....

If you really want to work as a CNM, probably the best thing you can do is start work as a doula. Alta Bates, Highland, and other places have volunteer doula programs. Alta Bates has a shift program, which is amenable to working a regular full- or part-time job. You can do evening shifts or weekend shifts and still get a bit of experience working as a labor assitant.

I would venture to say that the more experience you have working with women and birth, the better. Doulas of North America (DONA) is having a conference in SF at the end of July. Go to the website and check it out They offer birth doula trainings before the actual conference, and the list of speakers looks great. It's a good way to get more information about what a doula does.

If you want to work in an OB / GYN setting but don't have the experience, you might try a medical practice office in a non-medical position. ie. front office & make sure that you let the hiring manager know of your interests. I work for Lifelong Medical Center, a community health center based in Berkeley & Oakland. It has a terrific prenatal program & uses CNMs. We also use medical assistants and community health workers who provide education and other assistance. Although the latter have gone to classes & training, I don't believe that it is so extensive you couldn't pick it up. I would guess with your ambitions, you would be a find for them.

I work in the finance dept so can't offer information which is more specific. However, I would recommend that you contact our human resources department and ask if they could refer you to someone who might be able to offer you some advice (or who knows? even work). 704-6010 & ask for HR department. Good luck! Anonymous

Try Planned Parenthood. Not sure what your qualifications are or your needs are for salary, but I volunteered with them as a Reproductive Health Educator (like a medical asst) and found it the most rewarding thing I've ever done. It also helped me sort out my thoughts on future directions in the health field. I had the opportunity to work with teens and adults and great nurse practitioners. You can also find paid positions there. good luck!