Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – With The Intentions of Medical School to a Non-Profit

Name: Kyle Fossum
From: Charlotte, NC
Grade: 12
School: East Mecklenburg High
Votes: 0

As an incoming freshman in high school with the dream of becoming a
cardiologist, I started volunteering at my local hospital to help the
ill. I chose the hospital mainly because my Grandfather had become
older and more fragile, after falling down a flight of stairs he was
admitted to the same hospital I would begin volunteering. He
remembered how happy he became when a volunteer offered him a movie,
book, magazine, or fresh water. These volunteers made a huge impact
on his recovery and I wanted to help others the way they helped my
Grandfather. This volunteer program would also give me exposure to
the medical field and gain experience that would help me to decide if
a career path in medicine was suited for me. I would go on to begin
volunteering with the hospitality cart, the moving to medical
equipment and then the Cardiac ICU, every week for 4 hours, for the
next three and a half years.

While I was working with the hospitality cart I was responsible for
delivering DVD’s, books, magazines, and ice water to patients
throughout the ninth through twelfth floors. This could become
challenging because of the lack of supplies given, the size and
condition of the cart. My partner and I often found we were running
into the walls because the cart’s wheels were in such poor
condition. We decided to notify our leader and she put in a request
for a new cart and the board approved so our task became much easier!

The next session I moved onto medical equipment because I wanted to see
how the logistics of the hospital worked. This job required me to
bring pumps, tools, tubes and other medical equipment to the hospital
units. This was a very important task because we often delivered
feeding pumps to units if patients were to go without these pumps
they could have suffered medical emergencies. This often became
challenging because of how large the hospital was, finding units
sometimes became very difficult after some experience this task of
navigating the building became a lot easier.

After I became a more seasoned volunteer the Cardiac ICU volunteer position became open and I
quickly e-mailed the leader expressing my interest. I was offered the
position and was very excited to accept the offer. I began working in
the Cardiac ICU and my main responsibilities included, answering
phone calls, pages, delivering meals, refilling medical carts, and
helping the nursing assistant. This often became a challenging job
because of how much more demanding it was compared to my past jobs.
One particular situation when the unit was completely full, medical
carts were emptying quickly, dinner was late, phones were ringing,
call bells were flashing, and visitors were visiting. Everyone on the
unit was very busy and relied on me to complete my tasks quickly and
efficiently. While this was challenging I was able to complete the
medical carts in between phone calls and made regular rounds to the
rooms to check on the patients.

Because of this eye-opening experience through patient’s stories, real life
experiences, and developing my professional skills I was most
satisfied when I saw the impact of my work on patients and the
community. After volunteering with the hospitality cart and always
going to 9B’s first room on the right to see a lovely patient with
her new book for the week was always so rewarding. The medical
equipment delivered would help a child who was so new to the world
they didn’t have a name yet. And in the Cardiac ICU connecting
patients with loved ones through phone calls, directions to their
rooms, or parking was always so nice to see the relief the patients
loved ones felt when their eyes laid on their ill family member.

Through this volunteering program, I have learned compassion, gratitude, and
focus. This program has given me ten times more than I put in while I
was not the patient laying in the thin hospital bed I learned to be
grateful for my blessings and health state, I was able to watch lives
be transformed through modern medicine. Witnessing the baptism of a
77-year-old patient was a once in a lifetime experience that has
given me a deeper sense of compassion for the care of others. This
volunteering program required an intense period of focus; I have
found that because of this focus I have been able to transfer this
skill into my schoolwork.

Since volunteering in the cardiac ICU, unfortunately after seeing a patient
on quadruple heart and lung bypass and fainting, has since triggered
a nerve in my brain to react similarly when in the sight of mass
volumes of blood. This is an unavoidable fluid as a cardiologist so
my career goals have now shifted to majoring in finance in the hope
of working for a non-profit to maximize their impact for their cause.
When looking forward on my life I see myself developing the skills to
be the best student I can be by using the focus and intention I have
learned from volunteering at the hospital to put into my work as a
student and employee.

Through this volunteering experience, the impact on my local community can
have a lasting impact on many lives. In the future, I hope that other
visitor saw how important volunteers roles are in their loved ones
recovery that they too are inspired to serve others. I think that the
lasting impact is on personal lives that patients will carry their
interactions with me either in the spotlight like the hospitality
cart or behind the scenes with medical equipment to see the joy and
healing it brought to their recovery.

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