Starting My Volunteer Shift at Henry Mayo Hospital
Becoming a volunteer at Henry Mayo was far more complicated than I expected it to be. But now I'm excited to get started!
The Process Towards Becoming a Volunteer
It took 5 months after submitting my application to finally begin my volunteer post at Henry Mayo Hospital, a non-profit medical center that serves the Santa Clarita Valley. Becoming a volunteer at Henry Mayo is actually not as easy in comparison to other volunteer opportunities. The application requests details surrounding the prospective volunteer's special skills, work experience, and prior volunteer experience and it also requires a letter of recommendation and a reference form. Once the application is submitted, it is reviewed by Henry Mayo's volunteer services, where volunteer representatives then contact applicants based on availability of volunteer opportunities for their desired positions.
Three months after I submitted my application, Henry Mayo called me and requested for an interview. The application and interview process was very basic, but Henry Mayo's philosophy for their teen volunteers was to prepare us for real employment scenarios. About a month later, all teen volunteers attended an orientation that detailed the hospital's policies, as well as their protocols for every type of emergency. We were also required to submit our immunization records, receive a TB test, and receive clearance from our physicians that we were able to volunteer. At orientation, we were divided into small groups, where we had discussions about the information that we learned and how we would act upon any emergency that we could encounter during our shift. This also provided an opportunity for the volunteers to get familiar with one another. The orientation concluded with all of the volunteers taking a test, which examined our ability to recall the hospital's protocols for each type of emergency. Before we would begin, however, we had to order our uniforms of course.
Starting My Shift
Today was my first day as a volunteer with the Nursing Unit, which was actually my third choice for my desired volunteer position. My two top desired positions, Central Supply and Rehabilitation Services, were unfortunately very popular roles and spots filled quickly with applicants that submitted their application before I did. However, I was still excited to be with the Nursing Unit because I knew that the position meant that I would have contact with patients and various doctors. As a volunteer in the Nursing Unit, my duties include: Deliver meal trays, answer telephones and call lights at the nurses’ stations, make rounds to patient rooms, fill water pitchers, deliver specimens to the Lab, pick up supplies, assist with changing linen, and various other duties as needed.
Keili, who has two years of experience as a volunteer in the Nursing Unit, showed me around the Nursing Unit and taught me my roles and responsibilities. She just graduated from high school, and it was her last day as a volunteer. Without her, I definitely wouldn't know what I was supposed to be doing. I started the day off embarrassing myself, with Keili teasing me because I stood up everytime I answered the phone or because I would say something stupid. She would also watch me put in the wrong key code to the staff closet or accidentally hand urine samples to the wrong doctors. Jokes aside, it was initially difficult for me because there was a lot happening around me and it was a completely foreign situation to me. On the bright side however, it showed me that gaining comfort as a volunteer will prove to be valuable experience for me moving forward.
We ended up meeting with my friend Anthony, and a couple of other volunteers for lunch, which was free because volunteers are allowed to ask for meal tickets when they punch in to work. Anthony has been a volunteer for the Central Supply department for quite some time now, so he was able to give me some advice about being a volunteer. One thing that I definitely took away was that I should stack up as many meal tickets as possible.
As we navigated the second half of my shift with Keili, I started to get the hang of answering the phones and making rounds around the hospital, whether it meant delivering specimens or picking up supplies needed for patient rooms. I was eventually the one to pick up the phone at all times, and I think Keili was impressed by my improvement. I think? I was trying my best... The day ended up going by even faster because we were able to get to know each other as the shift went on. As the shift ended, I felt confident moving forward in fulfilling my roles as a volunteer moving forward. I look forward to volunteering at the hospital for the next year, and I'm definitely excited for the invaluable experience that I will get from my role in the Nursing Unit.