KINGSPORT– Teenagers interested in a medical career will have a valuable chance to learn the ropes and deliver compassionate care through a valuable training program at Holston Valley Medical Center.
About 65 junior volunteers will return to various departments this summer, donating their time to improve patients' experience in the hospital while gaining an insight in the medical field.
The program will consist of three, three-week sessions: May 31 to June 17, June 20 to July 11 and July 11 to July 29.
Each student is designated to a department and can be assigned both clinical and clerical work, said Brandi Tipton, the hospital's office coordinator for volunteer services.
"The volunteers who join us each summer are usually considering a medical career, and the time they spend with us serves as an introduction to the field," Tipton said.
Junior volunteer candidates must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and bring a completed application when they are interviewed for one of the slots. They also need to be able to attend an orientation class, offered May 30, June 17 and July 8.
"This program is particularly useful for those students eager to apply for a scholarship," Tipton said. "The scholarship committee is interested in extracurricular activities, and volunteering at our hospital certainly proves the student's community involvement."
Each summer, about 65 volunteers are accepted in the program. The application deadline is March 31.
"We are looking for responsible teenagers who are in the mindset of knowing their direction in life," Tipton said.
Brooke Gardner, a sophomore at Volunteer High School, spent three weeks on the fourth floor at Holston Valley in 2010. She looks forward to returning to the hospital in May.
"I received a variety of tasks during my time there, from answering phone calls to interacting with the patients and escorting them to their rooms," she said.
"I've learned a lot from having the opportunity to help people. I am also hoping to become a medical anesthesiologist, and this experience offers me a good sense of the atmosphere in a hospital."
To be eligible, students have to be 14 years or older and reside in the area served by Holston Valley. Participants must be in eighth grade to 12th grade in the fall. Applications are available at the hospital as well as by calling the volunteer services department at (423) 224-6040.