Some area teenagers were busy this summer, helping out with area residents while getting a chance to gain experience in the medical field.
Rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors from across Surry County dedicated their summer break to volunteering at Northern Hospital of Surry County. Fifty-eight junior volunteers filled the hospital hallways over June, July and August, logging a total of 3,037 hours.
The hospital received more than 100 applications this year for the annual program. Unfortunately NHSC cannot accommodate an unlimited number of students so volunteer coordinator Tina Beasley was tasked with combing through the applications, essays, recommendation letters, and interviews to narrow the pool.
“Beginning in January, we send out applications to all area high schools seeking junior volunteers,” said Beasley. “After applications are received, we begin working with all the hospital departments to determine opportunities available. We want our juniors to have a truly worthwhile experience.”
Juniors work in almost every area of the hospital including surgery, emergency, security, skilled nursing, information systems, birthing center, intensive care, and entry reception areas, and also assisted in materials management working with hospital-wide supplies and mail. This year, first-time juniors were able to assist within many of the hospital-owned physician practices.
“They are like a breath of fresh air,” commented long-time volunteer Wayne Burton. “We look forward every summer to the young people. Each year we have new faces and some familiar, to help us ‘senior’ volunteers throughout the hospital. They are always excited and eager to learn.”
“I believe that this was a wonderful experience,” said junior volunteer Jacob Hiatt. “I had rarely been in a hospital environment before, so I was rather intimidated when I originally signed up. However, I believe I was able to learn what working in a hospital was actually like and how the different areas must function together. This was a valuable learning experience that I will not soon forget.
“Working in the lab was the highlight of my experience, and getting to work with the pathologist there helped me to reaffirm my desire to one day be one,” Hiatt said. He received the honor of most hours volunteered during the summer with 71 hours.
He wasn’t the only one who enjoyed his time there.
“Being a part of the Junior Volunteer Program helped me realize that health care is something that takes a lot of time and dedication, but also something that I would love to see myself be a part of,” said Diana Ledezma Maldonado. “I learned so much from this experience that it’s too much to type. I loved the scrubs. They actually made me look more professional.
“Although it helps me in my college application I would do it all over again even if it didn’t count. This experience was phenomenal, even more than I had expected.”
“Being a part of the Junior Volunteer Program has been a very rewarding experience,” said Brooksie Lawson. “From working in pediatrics to skilled nursing, I have been able to get a look into what my future career could look like. I’m thankful for this opportunity, and I’m already looking forward to next summer.”
“I really enjoyed this volunteering opportunity and am extremely glad I got to experience it. My favorite part of the experience was getting to see what goes on in the OR – seeing what surgeons do behind those doors was truly amazing,” said Dalton Collins.
It wasn’t just the volunteers who were effusive in their praise.
“Tina Beasley has helped create so many wonderful opportunities for the students,” said Tammy Whitt, health science educator with Mount Airy City Schools.
“She holds them to high ethical standards and tries to give them the best real-world experiences. A well-run hospital is an asset to any community and we are fortunate to have an excellent facility like Northern. The staff takes them in and makes them feel like part of the team, like they belong there. I am confident this experience is one students will never forget.”