Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – The Vulnerability of a Hospital Volunteer

Name: Eleanor Rose
From: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Grade: 12
School: Highland Park Senior High School
Votes: 0

I chose to volunteer at the Children’s Hospital of Saint Paul. Many schools require you to have a certain number of volunteer hours, but this was far from why I decided to dedicate three to six hours a week to the hospital. As an inpatient volunteer I was able to work
directly with the children and families that had been admitted into the hospital. Out of the many volunteer positions out there, I chose Children’s Hospital for a few reasons. I know how important it is to have trusted individuals outside of your family to support you in
times of need. Knowing that someone is at your bedside because they 
want to be, not because they feel obligated. Another reason I chose Children’s is because I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was two-years-old. Being able to be alongside doctors for a few hours
each week helped me explore different career paths one can take within the field of medicine. This is what looking forward means to me. Meaningful decisions now to pave the way for future goals. I volunteered at Children’s because I wanted to do good for the
people in my community, and to feel like I’ve positively impacted these families in their greatest time of need. While my time at Children’s Hospital has ended, I volunteered once or twice a week for a year. I dedicated 120 hours of my life to something I’m truly
passionate about.

As an inpatient volunteer my job was to make each kid as comfortable as possible. Some wanted to be cuddled as they watched a TV show, some wanted to play a board game, and sometimes they just wanted to be talked to like normal kids who aren’t cooped up in a hospital bed. My biggest challenge while being a volunteer at Children’s was watching little kids who wanted nothing more than to be running around outside, stuck in their beds taking “icky” medicine, and connected to “loud beep beep” machines. As a hospital volunteer
you come to learn that there are many reasons someone might be in the hospital. Whether it be a broken leg, epilepsy, appendicitis, something unknown, or a child who has been hurt by a caregiver. The last example I mentioned was single handedly my greatest challenge.
There is no way manual on how to make a broken five-month-old comfortable. But from this challenge came my greatest satisfaction as a Children’s volunteer. I didn’t think I could make this baby comfortable. I was terrified I would do more harm than good. And
you’d never guess what happened. I was singing this baby lullabies, and he gave me the biggest toothless smile I had ever seen. He could smile after all that he had endured in his short life, and I helped make it happen. Do I think my volunteerism made a long term
difference in these families lives? Yes. I helped comfort in their greatest point of vulnerability. And my experience at Children’s Hospital will most definitely impact me for the rest of my life.

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