1. The SDN iPhone App is back and free through November! Get it today and please post a review on the App Store!
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice

Interview Feedback: Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

Interviewing Masterclass: Free masterclass on interviewing from SDN and Medical College of Georgia

Opportunity to make a contribution, please help

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by cloud_9, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. cloud_9

    cloud_9 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have been volunteering at a hospital for some time. I have been doing tasks such as stocking supplies, clerical work, cleaning equipment, etc. There is not much satisfaction in doing tasks such as this with no interaction with people. Most patient contact is when I pass out water and trays where I get to speak with patients which is nice. Not a whole lot of interaction with staff. I have tried different departments and they are sort of the same in terms of patient and staff interaction. So, I asked the volunteer coordinator if I can do something where I am more involved with people and make a significant contribution. She asked me what I want to do. Well, as far as I know I cannot be involved in patient care and feel very limited in what I can do. What else is there to do that involves interacting with patients and staff as a volunteer where you can make a contribution? Can you please give me some ideas? I really want to do something worthwhile and I feel I have a chance here to do that but only if I bring up something. Please share if you have been able to do something significant as a volunteer. Thank you.
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. kypdurron5

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    1,293
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    I've heard of volunteer departments setting up shadowing...see if they can set you up with a doctor to follow around. Also, I've found it's really not the volunteer department that determines your fate, but rather the floor you're actually on. I lucked out with my first position; I had a great nurse who was constantly getting me to see things and even do a few very limited things. She also introduced me to several doctors. You just never know...but in all things make sure EVERYONE knows you're a premed. Don't just introduce yourself with a name followed by "volunteer," stress "pre-med student" instead.
     
  4. durfen

    durfen I see plans within plans
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,650
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Try to go for high-quality shadowing experiences, but start off small, say ENT clinic where you get to see old people with ear wax, then go to surgery, where you'll see things that look a lot like wax blocking other places. (i'm being sarcastic).
     
  5. cloud_9

    cloud_9 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    kypdurron5 & durfen, I have been shadowing separately from the volunteering. My question is about the volunteering and making a contribution and doing things that are more worthwhile. At this point I am not sure what I can do as a volunteer that is valuable.
     
  6. durfen

    durfen I see plans within plans
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,650
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Try a free clinic. Just make sure you don't get stuck with the mop.
     
  7. Dr.Acula

    Dr.Acula Senior Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Messages:
    363
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Are there any other hospitals in your area? I was in a similiar situation, at one hospital i can't do anything - just change sheets, etc. The other hospital that i volunteer at lets me take vitals, EKGs, look in on any 'open door' patient exams ( essentially shadowing). So my advice to you is to look around for other hospitals, mental health places, hospices, free clinics, etc.
     
  8. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
    Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Messages:
    11,648
    Likes Received:
    1,779
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I have a sneaky suspicion that while you say "worthwhile" and "valuable", you really mean "personally satisfying".

    e.g.: Shadowing a doctor is a lot of fun and is "personally satisfying" but it's not particularly worthwhile or valuable to the hospital. Many ER volunteers complain that they're doing a lot of grunt work, but it's often the grunt work that gives nurses and doctors free time to work with patients. For the patient, more time with a doctor or nurse is a lot more valuable/worthwhile than time with you.

    That sorted, if it's "personally satisfying" you're looking for, big hospitals can sometimes suck. Volunteer at free health clinics and you'll almost always have a lot more hands on time with patients. Taking vitals/histories, etc. You benefit, patient benefits, staff benefits. All is good.
     
  9. CTtarheel

    CTtarheel Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Messages:
    775
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Try a different department . . . of if you've got time (are a frosh or soph), then go ahead and get an NA or EMT so you have the training to actually do stuff to patients.
     
  10. cloud_9

    cloud_9 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you do grunt work does that necessarily mean more time for nurses and doctors to be with patients? Or does it just mean more free time for them? I don't think this really applies to doctors anyway.
     
  11. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
    Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Messages:
    11,648
    Likes Received:
    1,779
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    By that logic, why volunteer at all?

    Why would you make a distinction between helping alleviate the workload of doctors versus nurses? It's all trickles down to the patient in the end.
     
  12. cloud_9

    cloud_9 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    It was a question which I am not sure of the answer.



    Do doctors do any work that nurses normally do simply because the nurses are busy and can't get to it?
    How does a volunteer reduce a doctor's workload?
     
  13. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
    Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Messages:
    11,648
    Likes Received:
    1,779
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Yes. If you ever want to see a doctor struggling to do his job, watch what happens once he pi$$es off the nurses. Work at a hospital long enough and you'll see this quite a bit when you have the young interns coming in with an inflated sense of self-worth.
    See above. But I think the emphasis is (as it rightly should be) on patient care. You have to ask if your volunteering ultimately benefits the patient. In most programs, it ultimately does. It ain't all sexy and television-friendly, but everyone does their part.
     
  14. cloud_9

    cloud_9 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is my understanding of patient care in nursing units of a hospital. Correct me if I am wrong.
    Patients have three levels of care: patient care technicians, nurses, and doctors. All three have different duties but the same goal. Volunteers normally work with the lowest level the PCT's, sometimes the nurses. So they relieve both these levels from minor tasks which gives them more time. What they do with that extra time I am not sure. Is it used to take care of patients? If so can you give some examples of how this extra time is used to benefit patients? And how volunteer tasks translates into the doctor being able to do his job better, i.e. can you give examples of what a nurse does for a doctor that otherwise a busy nurse would not be able to do?

    I am asking these questions to get an understanding of the system and not to prove or disprove anything. Thanks.
     

Share This Page