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Fired from my student volunteer position

Discussion in 'Topics in Healthcare' started by loveschickens, Nov 2, 2017.

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  1. loveschickens


    Nov 1, 2017
    I am trying to get some perspective on this situation and would appreciate constructive feedback. I am NOT implying that I am not responsible for what happened, but I am concerned about what to do now. Forgive what is going to be a long post, because I want you to have the background detail.

    I've been volunteering for 8 months on the pediatric oncology floor of a major hospital. I requested the assignment and was selected after a careful review. I love my work and connection to the kids & families I support. I am there about 5 hours a day, once a week. My volunteer work is also a requirement for the child life specialist degree I am pursuing.

    About a month ago, I was asked by a nurse to sit with a child (I'll call him Johnny) when an NG tube was placed. The child's parents were unable to be present and I had been sitting with him for more than an hour already. After the procedure, I was reminded by a different nurse that as a volunteer, I am not allowed to be in the room during that procedure. I contacted my supervisor later, explained what had happened and apologized for the mistake. There was a formal meeting after that. My supervisor's supervisor sat in on that meeting, although I was not introduced to her as such.

    I had another "incident", also with Johnny. I was asked by a nurse to take him to the game room to pick up a prize. While there, he scrambled out of my arms and ran to the toy area. He was in an infection protocol at the time and therefore was not supposed to be in direct contact with other children (for fear he would infect them). I immediately wiped down all the surfaces he touched and we returned to his room. That was two weeks ago.

    Yesterday, after three hours of my usual volunteer work, my supervisor called me into her office. We chatted in a friendly manner for a few minutes before she told me I was being relieved of my responsibilities. In effect, she said she did not feel I could be trusted around the children any longer. She asked that I leave my badge with her but told me to contact her in a week via email. She said nice things about me as a person, but she was not encouraging about the possibility of a reassignment on a different floor.

    My heart hurts for how this evolved, and I feel angry at myself for not remembering the rules, despite the fact that in both instances a nurse gave me specific instructions, which I followed. Mostly, though, I need to know what to do from here. Volunteering is a requirement for my degree. How can I do that now that this opportunity has ended so badly.

    Thanks for your ideas.
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  3. loveschickens


    Nov 1, 2017
    Checking in. Was anyone able/willing to offer any feedback on this situation? It would mean a lot to me... Thanks.
  4. Crayola227

    Crayola227 If that's me, then what am I? 2+ Year Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    at first I misunderstood, and I really felt bad for you, that the nurses asked you to do something, and you were just complying


    even though you are a volunteer, and are under the instruction of those around you, it is YOUR responsibility to know what YOUR responsibilities, AND your limits are
    following instructions, including instructions on what you are not allowed to do, is an important aspect of any job, and absolutely essential in the clinical sphere

    it comes up all the time for medical students and other trainees, to be in situations where one must say "that is not something I am allowed to do" or even if you are, "I am not comfortable doing that" if it's a question of patient safety

    I re-read your post, and you seem to understand all this, so there isn't really much for us to say
    you learned this lesson the hard way

    I don't know what your degree is, or your degree requirements
    best advice is to turn towards your school and advisors there for what to do moving foward
  5. loveschickens


    Nov 1, 2017

    This has been my struggle. Along with admitting my own fault in this mess - which is difficult but necessary - I also have a lot to learn about the nature of a clinical setting where there isn't as much (can't be as much) tolerance for the learning curve of a volunteer. Thanks for taking the time to reply.
    Crayola227 likes this.
  6. 151 others

    151 others SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor Classifieds Approved

    I can't offer any advice but I'm sorry you had to go through that.
  7. loveschickens


    Nov 1, 2017

    Thanks. Yeah, talk about learning the hard way. :(
  8. SeniorWrangler

    SeniorWrangler 7+ Year Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    If it's any consolation, many of us have had similar experiences when rotating in pediatrics. The field is kind of known for that.

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