Monday, August 3, 2009

Junior Volunteers Enjoy Life-Changing Experiences

A guest blog by Ally Law, Fauquier Health intern

Two sisters are sharing an experience this summer that is full of fun and learning. Sarah and Stephanie Rhodes have spent a few weeks working alongside 93 other volunteers in the Junior Volunteer program at Fauquier Health.

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Rhodes is working with Pre-Op Testing. This is her fourth year in the program. “I have enjoyed every year,” said Sarah. “I heard about the program through school and since I want to be an anesthesiologist, I thought it would be good to see the hospital environment.” Every year Sarah has decided to venture into a different department. While they are all different, Sarah has been able to learn and take away something from each experience.

Over the past two years, the program has changed to accommodate the growing number
of applicants. The new structure allows the junior volunteers to spend quality time in one department, rather than getting an all-too-quick overview of many departments. They work four-hour shifts, Monday through Friday for three weeks, completing a total of 40 hours. At the end of the session, they submit a scrapbook page reflecting on their time at the hospital.

Thirteen-year-old Stephanie Rhodes said she wanted to be a veterinarian up until she became a volunteer. After working alongside Patient Concierge Lisa Spitzer, she is considering work in the healthcare field. “I have a lot of passion for helping people out and I enjoy working with people,” Stephanie said.

Within her first week of volunteering, Stephanie was given the opportunity to sit down and talk with a couple of the patients. One woman was in the hospital because of a horseback riding incident. Stephanie, who is an avid rider, was able to connect with the woman through their common experiences.

The Junior Volunteer program has been attracting siblings for years. Leslie Jones, a 16-yearold who is volunteering in the Outpatient Special Procedures, follows in the footsteps of her older brother and sister. Leslie’s sister was once a Junior Volunteer at Fauquier Health and now works as an RN in the Family Birthing Center. “This department is like my family,” Leslie said about OPSP. “I like spending my time here and helping people. I have been able to make a lot of new friends in the program.”

A few of the Junior Volunteers have been participating in the program for years, but for many this is a first-time experience. All of the volunteers seem to agree on one point: these few weeks are fun and they want to come back again next summer.

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