Name: Ayesha Akhtar
From: Gainesville, Virginia
School: Stonewall Jackson High School
A few summers ago, I went through a two week volunteer shift, a total of 42 hours, at a medical center to if I could see myself enjoy a job as a doctor and surprisingly, I found out that there are actually many more professions than just being a doctor or a nurse in medicine to consider. In these two weeks, I completed rounds in five different stations: Surgical Services, Bio-medical, Front Desk, Materials Management and ER. In each station, there was a different supervisor who would explain what his or her overall job was about and how volunteers could help them along with getting a feel of how to complete tasks the proper way. The hospital was an amazing area to learn because of the many interactions I had with people, learning how the machines work and also because of understanding the way hospitals are organized both material-wised and patient-wised.
While some areas called for cleaning, in others there wasn’t a lot of cleaning to do so I was assigned to do comfort rounds in which I went to different patient rooms to check in, see if they needed anything and to just have a polite conversation with the patients to help them pass time while they waited for the nurse or doctor. My
responsibilities also included discharge and on one particular day, I remember the difficulty I faced when I had to wheel out a patient who only spoke spanish. I managed to speak to her through the bits I had learned from school and I remember her using little phrases like “daughter in grey car” to communicate. Soon enough, her daughter came and I realized that while I always considered myself an introvert, I was learning how to become social and make new friends.
Prince William Medical Center’s official goal was to help one person at a time and volunteers, such as me, did dutiful jobs to make each patient’s visit worry free and easy. Whether it was talking to a patient while they waited for the doctor or simply leading them to a room, each task was taken to be very important and I completed them with my highest effort. Prior to this experience, I believed that volunteering wouldn’t be as helpful or even make that much of a difference in one’s life. However as I got to meet new people or make someone smile, I realized that even one person can deeply affect someone else with their words and that kindness is an act everyone should share with one another. Even thirty years from now, I can only hope that everyone realizes the true impact an act of kindness can have and takes part in it themselves. All in all, the period I spent at the hospital did change my views on volunteering and its effects on society and I truly believe that young volunteers can cause a huge change in the community as long as we put our minds to what we’re doing