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My Life Changing Volunteer Experience

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by dapmp91, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. dapmp91

    dapmp91 Member
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    So yesterday night I got back from my first day of volunteering at the ER at the hospital. THe most important thing I did after getting hit on by the nurse, was open doors for patients and the biggest thing that happened after that was sit their and stare at the tv for 4 hours.... :confused:
     
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  3. dopaminesurge

    dopaminesurge My friends calls me Steve
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    Haha. You can have a really good time writing you PS about this. The human connection of getting hit on by the nurse, helping the patients along in their path to betterment, the intellectual development of watching MTV and all you learned about the upcoming VMAs.
     
  4. MinnyGophers

    MinnyGophers Senior Member
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    It probably won't get any better, but you can make your experience more worthwile by getting to know the nurses/docs...
     
  5. burntfries

    burntfries Senior Member
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    sounds a lot like my own ER experience. it takes a lot of initiative to be a successful volunteer down there, esp when all the nurses are busy and will only let you change sheets. Get to know the PCA's and in time, they'll come looking for you.
     
  6. UMP

    UMP Recovered Under-Achiever
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    bring some study materials with you.... or lay down and take a nap in one of the beds :sleep: We need them more than they need us... kind of a weird way to look at volunteering
     
  7. UMP

    UMP Recovered Under-Achiever
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    was the nurse pretty hot? I never got hit on by the nurses in my ER... and I'm pretty sure I'm a great looking guy :p
     
  8. MirrorTodd

    MirrorTodd It's a gas.
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    You've been writing too many secondaries. To the OP, I know how you feel, but volunteering is what you make of it. Just keep badgering everyone to teach you stuff. It might not always be fun, but it is worthwhile. Have you checked out any other places?
     
  9. Gabujabu

    Gabujabu Senior Member
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    At the ER i work in, most of the time nothing remarkable happens. However, in the time that I've been there (55hrs):

    A deranged man on cocaine was having seizures and had to be restrained by 12 people
    An attending informed a mother's son's that she only has weeks to live
    An anoscopy was performed on a patient- don't ask

    Believe me, if you're there long enough, you'll see stuff.
     
  10. shaggybill

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    Apologies to the OP for the off-topic question, but do volunteers have to wear scrubs or can they wear khakis, etc?
     
  11. Gabujabu

    Gabujabu Senior Member
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    In the ER, you don't have to wear scrubs (khakis are fine in the one I work in).
     
  12. NY Musicologist

    NY Musicologist Career Changer
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    I'd suggest that you engage in some people-watching rather than TV-watching. Learn the staff members' personalities, get a feel for the hierarchy and other dynamics of the ED, and you can then use that knowledge base to help get yourself some more responsibility. You may even find an ally in that nurse who hit on you...if you can handle the situation tactfully, that is...seems to me that it's better to have a nurse taking some sort of positive interest in you rather than yelling at you to get out of the way.

    There's more to learn in a volunteer experience besides procedures...but if you continue to be dissatisfied in the emergency setting, perhaps you can get an opportunity in a different part of the same hospital.

    good luck!
     
  13. MahSpoon

    MahSpoon is TOOOOO big
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    The only volunteers who wear scrubs at my hopistal are those in NICU and L&D
     
  14. AudioslaveFan

    AudioslaveFan Member
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    A mother's son? Seems a bit redundant if you ask me.
     
  15. Dr. Pepper

    Dr. Pepper Duffman in Disguise
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    On the contrary, your avatar entertains the impression that you are a maniac, diabolical adaptation of Elmo.

    On the other hand, my avatar suggests that I'm a Jedi/Sith.

    Let's face it: this post has no point.
    -Dr. P.
     
  16. Sol Rosenberg

    Sol Rosenberg Long Live the New Flesh!
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    In the ER that I work at, volunteers are expressly forbidden to wear scrubs so that they are not confused for doctors or nurses
     
  17. shaq786

    shaq786 Senior Member
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    Damn, you could have used your time more wisely by macking on that nurse provided that she was hot.
     
  18. Wackie

    Wackie Inappropriate, always
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    They *almost* took out a liver in the trauma room tonight. *Almost*.

    I'm at a trauma II center so only one trauma room. Lady came in unconscious, being ventilated, no purposeful movements, etc.
    She had a HUGE brain bleed and on the scans you could see the brain shifting to the side. The doctor informed the family that there really wasn't anything that could be done except for very aggressive surgery. But as old as she was, she might not survive it.

    The family tossed around donating her organs but decided to wait until she was completely brain dead.

    yeah, you have your slow days but occasionally you get some good ones. I don't get to do cool stuff. One nurse lets me get vitals and I got to help move a 500+ pounder to her hospital bed. Other than that, I do typical volunteer stuff. But, I stay busy the entire time and the staff respects me, teases me, and I tease them back. We have fun :D
     
  19. JasonUD

    JasonUD PGY-I
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    When I was volunteering a bird flew into an office and I was in charge of catching it. The doctor wanted me to kill the bird but I couldn't, my mom's a vet. It was a very exciting experience.
     
  20. Knickerbocker

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    Where I volunteer, I spend four hours putting patient labels on papers/cards/prevous history forms and putting them together on clipboards. I do this nonstop as fast as I can the *entire* time. It feels like a sweatshop.

    You standers/sitters/tv watchers have it good.
     
  21. geno2568

    geno2568 Senior Member
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    find another volunteer experience, one that really does have an impact on you

    when you get the inetrview question about the hospital volunteering, try to spin the conversation into the direction of the other activity, so you have something good to talk about.
     
  22. DoctorPardi

    DoctorPardi In Memory of Riley Jane
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    You would have had a much more "life changing" experience if you would have hooked up with that nurse in one of the exam rooms. Not too many people get to do that while volunteering!
     
  23. dapmp91

    dapmp91 Member
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    hey thanks for the replies guys, yea I'm a real reserved type of guy sooooo, its kinda strange for me being in the ER, I bascially staple stuff together and put sticky labels on the arm bands we give patients, I wanna do something more profund like teaching little kids for volunteer work :laugh:
     
  24. MSTP?

    MSTP? Senior Member
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  25. Gabujabu

    Gabujabu Senior Member
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    I found that I saw a lot on days in which I was proactive and talked with the attending/residents. On days in which I did not do that, I saw very little and just did errands.
     
  26. thirdunity

    thirdunity Senior Member
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    My first day volunteering in the ER, I got to hold the light while the doc removed a bone from a guy's butt. Exciting.

    First time I've ever seen an anus up close that didn't belong to someone with whom I was, well, fairly well acquainted...
     
  27. MossPoh

    MossPoh Textures intrigue me
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    That sounds almost as awkward as following a GI guy around the other day and walking in to see my old high school principal getting scoped.......

    In my week and a half of shadowing I have seen so much awesome crap and some frustrating...like the lady with 5 stents that continues to smoke and...eat 9000+ calories a day....or the meth addict that "fell down the stairs" and shattered her femur...I do get a lot of downtime in the OR though where I find myself just bs'ing with nurses......we even bet on the next patients weight...closest without going over. (she was 400 lbs...so obviously she needs that total knee since there is no other possible reasons her knees hurt...)
     
  28. Tussis

    Tussis Turn your head
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    Hey all, I joined specifically to respond to this thread, as it deals with something that very specifically relates to my own experience...

    Your volunteering experience sounds exactly like what mine was for the first two years I did it (only had around 110 hours by then). I pretty much stood around, never went into the rooms except to help the nurses if they needed anything (read: needed sheets changed), did all the paper-clipping of those facesheet forms, and all that really horrid (yet much needed) jazz.

    Well, I took a summer off the volunteering and got a real money paying job for once and got a year of college under my belt, and decided that I was not going to let my summer turn out like two previous had. I told the ER Director of Nursing that this year I wanted to follow the doctors around; and also, by this third year, I knew most of the doctors better, and made it known to them (nicely) that I wanted to see what they saw.

    What I got this summer was invaluable. I listened to how they talked to patients that were seriously hurt, the families of those who were brain-dead, the crack patients, the parents who bring their 3 month old in because they (heaven forbid!) had a temperature of 98.9. I got a feel for how they worked, and what's more important, I started asking specific and pointed questions to the doctors. I asked them why they did the procedures they did, why procedures were performed certain ways (thoracentesis, spinal taps, that stuff). I asked about EKGs, ECGs, the differences between DOs and MDs... by the end they didn't even let me ask... they just flat out told me what they were seeing in Xrays, and how to read all the bloodwork tests they do, etc. I watched many a stitching, and asked the PA one day to show me how to do it. (He let me play with a set on a styrophome cup, which was tons of fun.)
    Now I would also like to say that I had two incredible Med students doing ER rotations for two of the three months I volunteered this summer, and they were awesome... so hey you Med Students on ER rotations, if you see a volunteer, take it from me: explain to the Volunteer what you're doing, invite them in with you. It really is incredible to be more than a volunteer... to observe and learn.

    Take it from me, don't waste hours and a summer just sitting learning more about ER Registration than the real thing. Remember, this is your life you're trying to figure out. I figured it out eventually, and I learned so much. Do yourself an incredible favor. Sure you can help out doing sheets and paper clipping while the doctors are filling out their orders or whatever (taking a Diet Dr. Pepper break, in my case).

    And don't be afraid to speak up and say stuff to the nurses and doctors - let them get to know you, and you get to know them... ER Doctors that you really get to know will write some great Recommendation Letters (I hope)!

    Sorry for the longwinded post,
    -Tussis
     
  29. EMH

    EMH ARNG - MC
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    I volunteered in the ER and at first had a very hard time finding something to do. It took a lot of nerve to knock on a door and just walk in to talk or see if there's anything they need. And they all need the doctors to hurry up. I finially made myself useful helping children deal with pain and holding them down to start an IV. I also spent a lot of time in the room with the cases the nurses didn't want anything to do with (suicide watch, elderly).

    Stick with it, there can be some very memorable experiences both positive and negative. One night an infant came the front door code blue. They couldn't resusitate her and the doctors and nurses didn't want to go near the room until the coroner arived. I was ASKED to sit with the parents for thirty minutes while they said good bye.
     

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