Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Teens volunteering at hospital makes for a win-win

HUDSON — For some kids, high school is four years of figuring out what you want to be when you grow up — or at least what direction you'll be heading in.

Amir Hussain, 15, already has his path carved out.

"My dream is to become a neurosurgeon," he said, adding that his interest was first piqued when his mother underwent a successful neurosurgical procedure.

"The brain is a complex and delicate organ," he said. "And I'd like to be a part of that."

To meet that end, the River Ridge High sophomore spent much of his summer getting his feet wet. Three days a week Amir donned blue scrubs for a volunteer stint in the operating room supply area at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.

"I thought this would be a good way to get some medical field experience in this environment," Amir said, while gathering supplies for the next day's procedures.

It is, according to O.R. Materials Manager Kristie Shirkey. Along with her regular duties, she oversaw six teen volunteers over the summer months.

"We're very busy. There's a lot of action — never a dull moment," she said, adding that there are 1,700 items that volunteers need to acquaint themselves with. "They get to see what kind of pressure goes on around here. It gives them the beginning pieces of what it takes to go into a specialty. It's a good education."

The volunteer gig is a win-win for teens and the hospital, said Donna Owen, who manages over 500 teen and adult volunteers at the medical center.

"It gives teens the ability to observe and see what goes on in a health care setting, to see how things operate in a hospital," she said.

In turn the work ethic and dedication of volunteers benefits the hospital.

"They are instrumental to the success of the hospital," Owen said. "They help in every area, every department."

Students must first go through an interview process to determine the best fit. That is followed by orientation and on-the-job training.

"We talk about their needs — what they might be interested in doing in the future," Owen said.

Fivay High freshman Clarice Todd, 14, was thinking ahead when she decided to sign on as a Candy Striper. She's already clocked 164 hours greeting people, running errands, escorting visitors and delivering flowers to patients' rooms.

"I wanted to get my volunteer hours in and I wanted to help people," she said, adding that one day she would like to be a registered nurse.

Danielle Heidkamp, 15, gave over 150 hours volunteering in the hospital cafeteria.

"I saw it as a way to get some experience," said Danielle, who is currently enrolled in the culinary arts program at Fivay High. "It was great. I met some really nice people and I got to see food production, which was really cool."

Some volunteers will drop off with the start of school. Out of the 110 teens who volunteered over the summer, 60 will remain.

"School is the first priority," Owen said.

Even so, she expects to see the number climb again next summer.

Most teens end up logging well beyond the 75 to 100 volunteer hours required for Florida's Bright Futures Scholarship Program, Owen said. She recently doled out Star Awards to six teen volunteers, some who logged more than 1,000 hours during their tenure.

"They don't have to stay and they do and that's the beauty of it," Owen said. "I see them giving so much of themselves. I see the beauty of what they give every day."

Michele Miller can be reached at mmiller@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6251. Follow her @mimichele525

Teens volunteering at hospital makes for a win-win 08/20/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 7:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Cubs bring some other ex-Rays to Trop such as Wade Davis, Ben Zobrist

    Blogs

    Joe Maddon's first trip back to the Trop is getting most of the headlines tonight, but there are several other familiar faces among the eight former Rays now wearing Cubs uniforms.

  2. Bicyclist in critical condition after colliding with vehicle in St. Petersburg

    Accidents

    ST. PETERSBURG — A bicyclist is in critical condition after he ran a red light and was struck by a car on Monday night, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.

  3. Myanmar leader sidesteps atrocity allegations in first address on Rohingya crisis (w/video)

    World

    YANGON, Myanmar - In her first major speech Tuesday on the worsening Rohingya crisis, Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, sidestepped allegations of atrocities committed against the stateless Muslim minority and cast the conflict as just one of many problems ailing the country.

    A Rohingya Muslim, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, carries his belongings as he arrives at Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. With a mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims sparking accusations of ethnic cleansing from the United Nations and others, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday said her country does not fear international scrutiny and invited diplomats to see some areas for themselves. [Associated Press]
  4. Florida education news: Free lunch, school routines, spending cuts and more

    Blogs

    FREE LUNCH: Hurricane Irma caused many families to go without income for a week. Many also lost power, and along with it the food in their refrigerators and freezers. Making matters worse, replacing it isn't so easy, as grocery stores have limited supplies. Hoping to ease the burden, the state has asked for …

  5. Forecast: Sunny, dry conditions prevail throughout Tampa Bay

    Weather

    While many are closely monitoring Hurricane Maria out in the Caribbean, Tampa Bay residents can expect mostly pleasant, dry weather throughout much of the week.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]