Youth Forward Scholarship 2018 – Caramel Squares and Teddy Bears…

Name: Janelle Wagner
From: Tempe, AZ
Grade: Senior in High School
School: McClintock High School
Votes: 20


Caramel Squares and Teddy Bears…

I volunteer at Banner Desert Medical Center Gift Shop and Guest
Services. I choose it to work around doctors and nurses and maybe
gain some networking opportunities as I pursue my career as a Family
Practice Doctor. In one year I have volunteered 445 hours. I assist
patients loved ones with finding them and maybe even a present to
brighten their stay. The hardest part was beginning the guest
services position. Often times the desk would be short staffed and I
had to build my own system to learn where everything is in the
hospital. I created a reference card system. I worked to help all the
volunteers by sharing my system, which got me promoted to Senior
Training Volunteer. In ten years I hope the system is still
benefiting new volunteers as much as it helped me. One of my favorite
things is to build personal gift arrangements. I had a mother who
wanted to make sure her son had everything he needed. We picked out
an inspirational sign, hygiene products, a teddy bear, and his
favorite candy Reese’s. His favorite color was orange, so I had to
wrap everything in orange. It was not until I had the room number
that I realized he was an adult patient. He asked me to stay when I
delivered the present, and I did. I watched him unwrap it, and I had
a question on my mind, “So your mom says that your favorite color
is orange and your favorite candy is Reese’s. Is Reese’s your
favorite candy because the wrapper is orange, or because you like
peanut butter and chocolate?” He began to laugh and explained that
he had never thought about it, but probably both. He also told me
that he was injured on vacation, and I made his week because he had
not had a single visitor. Moments like this bring me happy memories
that will last a lifetime. Beyond the patients, volunteering at a
hospital has allowed me to talk to different providers and get an
idea of what hospital life is like. Weather it is the lead physician
buying candy for the Emergency Department after a long hard shift, or
an operating room nurse on light duty that did not know how to deal
with patients families I have been able to see parts of what my
future could look like. Most of all, I have learned that the staff
lives on chocolate and caramel squares. Even adults like receiving
stuffed animals, and in my position I could help celebrate new life
while helping others find comfort. I hope to change a doctor’s
perspective starting with myself. As a medical assisting student I
was taught to be compassionate toward patients. I imagine that in
Pre-Med they will teach us the same lesson, but through volunteering
I have lived this lesson. I hope I have impacted their lives, and I
am grateful for the impact they have had on mine.

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