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Anyone volunteered at a children's hospital? What did you do?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by optimistic3, Sep 6, 2014.

  1. optimistic3

    2+ Year Member

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    Just curious about what departments and/or volunteer positions you did at a children's hospital and what you enjoyed or disliked. I am applying to volunteer nearby but wasn't sure which department I should request. They do have baby cuddlers which sounds cool but I'd be so scared to be cuddling newborns because I don't have any real experience with babies!

    I've worked with kids in the past and I loved it, which is why I wanted to volunteer at the children's hospital. Unfortunately I have to wait until November for orientation so I probably wouldn't start until December. If I volunteer somewhere else, I may or may not be able to get in sooner but I may not enjoy it as much (I used to volunteer in an ER and I did not like it at all). Hope that doesn't look too bad to med schools.
     
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  3. PrinceofMaladies

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    I was a Child Life volunteer at a children's hospital for a little over a year. It was a pretty sweet gig; all I did was go room to room and gather up the kids to play some video games with me. When the PS4 came out back in November I picked up an extra dozen consoles and donated them all to the hospital. The little kids went crazy for them and I got to play a lot without sacrificing any of my free time. Win-Win!

    TL;DR - Played PS4 with kids
     
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  4. mvenus929

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I really wanted to be a cuddler when I volunteered, but I wasn't 21 yet, which was the minimum age you had to be at my hospital to go near the babies. So, I volunteered in the playroom and basically kept the kids and siblings occupied.
     
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  5. womanofscience

    2+ Year Member

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    Never a volunteer, but interacted with the volunteers during my hospitalization. If you do a position similar to above or dealing with "arts and crafts" for the kids, it will be definitely be rewarding. Since you're comfortable with kids, this would be a great position.

    Having an engaging volunteer helped keep my mind off of why I was in the hospital. You could brighten their lives :)

    But working a position you are not comfortable in will be a wonderful learning experience! I did volunteer in a mother-baby unit (my last choice since I'm uncomfortable around families), but I learned a lot about this area of medicine and grew as a person!

    Up to you though!
     
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  6. HCumberdale

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    I volunteer in the biobehavioral unit and love it. The staff is great and they love having me around for backup and an extra set of eyes. I actually feel like a part of the team while I always felt like more of a burden on other units. There's never a dull moment, and I've witnessed some incredibly intense moments that have given me a much greater appreciation for psych issues. You need to have thick skin though; one time a kid smuggled a plastic spork from lunch and was plotting over a couple days to use it as the instrument of my demise! :scared: Also, I'm not sure if it's true for all such units, but at my hospital you need to be 21+ with a fingerprint clearance card to volunteer on the unit.
     
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  7. Doctoblast

    2+ Year Member

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    I volunteer in a playroom now and it's alright. Sometimes there's only two of us in there and we get swamped with 12 kids, so I feel like we're babysitting and making sure nobody gets hurt/lost more than interacting with patients. It is what it is lol. I'd recommend it though. Every once in a while you'll get some kids who are just above and beyond amazing. Brings a tear to your eye really.

    Donated a dozen PS4s when they first came out?!?! Must be rolling in $$$$ haha that's so generous
     
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  8. mehc012

    mehc012 Big Damn Hero
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    I had 2 positions - for one, I stayed in the pre-op waiting room and kept the kids distracted/their minds off the upcoming surgery. This was great because the parents were often stressed and overwhelmed with paperwork and it was nice for them to be able to not worry about their kids for a brief moment. I also watched siblings when the parents went back to say goodbye, and walked through postop to make sure everyone who was awake was entertained.

    The other was even better - I performed hearing tests on newborns. This meant going in, getting the census for the floor that day, comparing it to the records of who had been screened already, asking the nurses if there were any upcoming discharges which I should prioritize, and then going room to room - just me, mom, and <48hr old baby, picking the kiddo up and setting up the hearing screen, explaining the test to mom (sometimes in my horribly broken spanish, lol), letting them know the results, and so on. I usually hit 4ish rooms each morning, depending on how squirmy the kids were!
    Then I'd chart the results, let the nurses know, and update the discharge board.
     
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  9. efle

    efle not an elf
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    I volunteer at my local children's hospital in their Schoolroom program, which is designed to help keep kids up to date on schoolwork when they have to take extended medical absences. It's a lot of fun, with a big mix of ages between pre-K and high school, so you spend your time in ~1 hour chunks tutoring one patient in AP Chemistry and then doing Dr. Seuss read-aloud with the next. I definitely recommend doing something similar if it's available to you, you're guaranteed a lot of top-notch patient interaction and fun to boot (unlike some of my friends who spend their days frantically fetching and delivering items all over the hospital because they said "put me where I'm most needed" which is pretty much the same as "I'll take the worst, least in-demand volunteering you've got!")
     

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