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Healthy Balance

Hospital Volunteering: A High School Student’s Perspective

Cassie Hobbs is a rising high school senior, and this is her third summer volunteering through our junior volunteer program. Check out what she wrote last year.

UVA Hospital volunteers learn about HIPAA
Elisia Holderfield (left) and Ashley Bond lead hospital junior volunteers in a HIPAA and safety game.

There’s a lot that goes into being a junior volunteer. There are rules and regulations that one has to know and safety procedures that one has to follow. This past Monday, 2014’s summer junior volunteers took to the hospital to learn these regulations and procedures, or in some cases, relearn them.

Orientation this year was different, to say the least. Typically orientation follows a set and predictable schedule: Overview of hospital regulations, dress code, safety procedures, HIPAA, and then a little bingo-esque get-to-know-each-other game to help the newbies out. This year volunteer coordinator Maureen Oswald and a few of the juniors got creative.

Ashley Bond and Elisia Holderfield approached Maureen during the school year; they offered their help planning orientation, and the three of them (but, according to Maureen, mostly Ashley and Elisia) hatched a new orientation game. It was an unscrambling game and a mini quiz all at once and involved all the information that had been thrown at the volunteers. Some returnees were given clues to hold; some escorted the newbies to help if they needed it.

The goal was to unscramble the words and phrases the quickest; the first two teams to do that answered one final question. (This year it was “What is Maureen’s favorite candy?” Needless to say, with returnees in both groups, that one didn’t last long.) The winners got a prize.

Another new addition to the junior volunteer program this year is a Summerbook Collaborative Committee, which consists of a group of returnees all willing to help plan and create the Summerbook. The committee also takes care of the blogging (like this — hi!) and any of the program’s other writing- or photo-based needs. This council’s “chairwoman” is Stephanie Pellicane, a junior who literally spends her entire school year planning, creating, and overseeing yearbooks.

With these gradual changes and new records, the coming summer is nothing but promising — the volunteers are excited, though some of the newbies (and even the returnees) are prone to getting a little lost, the departments are welcoming, and lunch vouchers are worth $4! We volunteers have nothing to complain about.

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