Over summer, students offer help at Backus Hospital
Instead of leaving footprints along the warm, comforting, beach sand, a select group of East Lyme students made strides of a different nature during this busy 2019 summer. These 9 students from ELHS joined those from other surrounding high schools taking up eight hour shifts for one day a week for the duration of summer break.
While working, the volunteers transported and discharged patients, ran errands for doctors, and delivered gifts and balloons to patients, among many other tasks. However, the manner that the volunteers went about their employment were arguably more important than the jobs themselves.
“[Having a] positive attitude comes into play here [in dealing with patients] because hospitals are either tough or happy times for people. A simple smile or a hello can change a person’s day,” said junior Ayush Mishra. “No matter what happens before that one day, keeping a smile and being happy is the one thing a volunteer should do.”
Mishra, along with the majority of the volunteers, started at the hospital initially to see how doctors and medical professionals operate in real scenarios.
For many of these students, the most rewarding part of the experience was their day to shadow one of the doctors in a field of their choice. For senior Sophia Rogers, volunteering at Backus meant that she was able to shadow one of the nurse anesthetists for a day, something she plans to pursue as a career in the future.
“I started doing this program because…I wanted to try [being an anesthetist] out to see if it’s really what want to do,” said Rogers. Some other students got to shadow doctors such as anesthesiologists and also general nurses.
Overall, one of the most rewarding aspects of volunteering at a place like a hospital is the positive human interactions that they take experience.
“My favorite part about [volunteering] is that the people you meet are always nice and very appreciative of what we’re doing. We generally don’t know what they’ve been through over the past days or even months, but they’re positive and it makes you feel good about what you’re doing,” said junior Ajay Varma.
While the students volunteering at the hospital received first-hand experience in terms of a possible career option, many said it was rewarding for them to know that they made a lasting positive influence on someone’s life.
“My favorite part of working at the hospital was talking to patients and making them feel more secure in such a vulnerable state,” said Rogers. In all, this program works great measures for those volunteering as it provides real scenarios for up-and-coming students to experience what working in a hospital looks like.