Long interested in medicine, the 59-year-old has been balancing rehearsals with paramedic classes and EMT shifts near her home, situated on 14 acres in Poughkeepsie, New York.
The cellist told the AP that her dexterity and performing skills would lend themselves well to tasks like starting IV's, taking pulses and acting quickly with precision.
Her colleagues experienced this when she assisted a string player who fainted and another who fell.
"I do like taking care of people," said Donaruma, who will continue playing chamber music and solo recitals, including free concerts for her new coworkers.
Though the pay cut she takes for her new job will be significant, she is likely to receive a pension from the orchestra to supplement her reduced income. A spokesperson was unavailable for comment.
She will play her final concert with the New York Philharmonic under John Williams in September.