Learning health care from the inside
"I know that I'm making a difference in a patient's life in some way," says Hannah Zack, a Summer Health Corps volunteer in BIDMC's hematology/oncology department.
The program gives teenagers ages 14-17 the opportunity to volunteer at BIDMC in various departments from cardiology to social work to public safety.
"Over 70 students applied this year," says volunteer services program coordinator Terry Morgan, "We wish we could take them all."
The lucky 30 students accepted this year will volunteer for more than 100 hours this summer. Throughout the program the students tour different departments, and gain greater insights into hospital workings.
Lindsey Shanck, a student at Hingham High School, said the emergency department was her favorite tour. "It was so fast paced!"
Other tours include radiology, where some excited students had an ultrasound for the first time. Students also tour the Spine Center, and participated in an emergency labor pool activation drill.
"The program is a great learning opportunity for the students," says Amanda Iwunze, a program mentor, in volunteer services. Students do administrative work, assist nurses, make phone calls and act as patient greeters. "I've seen them grow as a group, work well together and solidify their goals."
And solidify their goals they do. After the emergency department tour, Nick Bolden, a student at Boston College High School, knew he wanted to become a trauma surgeon. "I love the patient contact," he says.
Jane Richardson, a volunteer in nursing, knew she wanted a job in the medical field, but now wants to be an immunologist. "I've learned a lot."
The program enables high school students to ignite their interest in the medical field. Students say they love the patient contact and the hospital experience. Daniel Genkin, volunteer in cardiology, said, "The best part is really just being inside the hospital."