Youth Forward Scholarship Summer 2017 – Healthcare Volunteering

From: Windermere, FL
Grade: Freshman/Sophomore
School: Cornell University
Votes: 2

I realized early on during my working experiences that I wanted a
profession where I could frequently incorporate human interaction
with my academic interests as well. In my second year of college,
confident of my ability to succeed in the classroom, I proceeded to
volunteer at the Weill Cornell Hospital emergency rooms. There, I
acquired an understanding of the emotional demands and time
commitment required of physicians by watching them schedule their
personal lives around the needs of their patients. I also soon
observed that the rewards of medicine stem from serving the needs of
these same patients. I too found it personally gratifying to provide
individuals with emotional support by holding an elderly woman’s hand
as a nurse drew a blood sample or befriending frightened patients
with a smile and conversation. I discovered that in some medical
circumstances, compassion, understanding and the faith in healing
became the only remedies available. Wanting to have a greater role in
patient care though, I volunteered in primary care practices. I
learned to work together with the doctors and staff there,
experiencing for myself the tremendous professional responsibility
and diligence demanded of those working in health care. I had found
out that the emotionally rewarding aspect of medicine serves as a
powerful motivator for doing my job well and with dedication.

Working with patients also allowed me to relate in person how seemingly
abstract health policies have real and direct impacts on health care
at the local and patient level. To do everything to provide the
best healthcare possible, while being constrained by limited
resources when funds are just not available. This struggle to find
the right balance makes a literal life-and-death difference
especially to those receiving care from lower socioeconomic groups. I
saw young and old patients who would have had much greater chances of
recovery and access to affordable treatment if only their illnesses
or disabilities were discovered and treated earlier. From the
doctors at work, I learned that recent policy trends such as
preventive care and early intervention have made a difference in
significantly reducing those cases I saw during my shadowing
rotations. It is truly fascinating that this kind of life-saving
win-win pareto efficient solution exists throughout our healthcare
system, with many still undiscovered, waiting to be researched.

The ultimate goal of medicine in finding, treating and caring for the ill
and disabled cannot be understated, but through my laboratory and
research experiences, I have come to understand that our advances in
our knowledge of medicine and health care are necessarily obtained
through scientific and social research. This symbiosis between
medical research and its application in health care makes medicine
nearly unique as a single field, and is what I have found, along with
its emotional rewards, to be so worthwhile in pursuing a medical

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