Nash UNC Health Care Hosts Junior Volunteers Summer Program
As many of the adult volunteers at Nash UNC Health Care enjoyed a summer break, Junior Volunteers assumed their duties – greeting patients, escorting pet therapists, selling candy, and filing documents – but with a twist. The eight-week Junior Volunteer program also gave students a valuable look at the healthcare field and the opportunity to learn about many career options.
Leslie Spencer, manager of Volunteer and Hospitality Services at Nash UNC, directed activities of the high school students with the help of two college students serving as mentors.
“This experience within the hospital helps our students learn the essentials of commitment and responsibility, and how to serve others in a meaningful way,” she said.
Many of the 61 participating high school students were also given the challenge to create their own special projects designed to help improve the patient and family experience at the hospital. One project involved creating menus in Spanish and teaching the dietary staff commonly used phrases in Spanish. Another group created directions to make it easier for visitors to find their way around the hospital.
At the beginning of the summer, college volunteers Austin Luper and Stuart Whitehead who are both pursuing nursing careers saw the Junior Volunteer program as a way they could gain more experience in a hospital setting while mentoring high school students. They each led teams of cohorts and gained experience in leadership and supervision.
Another volunteer, Khristopher Green, indicated he wanted to learn more about how the health care system works, and he now has an interest in studying hospital administration.
Junior Volunteer Juhi Salunke, when asked what she was most excited about, replied, “Caring for the patients and seeing how my actions affect others. Seeing the gratitude of the patients and the smiles on their faces makes my day. It is so uplifting to see how you can affect people like that.”
Gracie Wade, another Junior Volunteer, added, “When I first came to Nash UNC Health Care, I wanted to be a nurse. I still want to be a nurse, but this experience has given me the opportunity to see what nurses actually do. It was beneficial because I thought the job was a lot easier than it is.”
As the volunteers closed out their experience at Nash UNC this summer, they hosted a program for some of the hospital managers and executive staff. The program included overviews of their special projects, a duet by Raeven Anthony and Jedediah Calvert, and an energetic music video highlighting some of their experiences at the hospital.