By Ryan Damlo, Foundation Executive Director
This spring, 14 high school students participated in a volunteer program called VolunTeen. This program allows students age 14 or older from the Tri-County Health Care service area to get an inside look at departments of health care like nursing. Students do a range of activities including bringing meal trays to patients, helping nurses with administrative tasks and interacting one to one with our patients.
This year, these 14 students came from seven local high schools to be a part of this program, which is offered every spring for six weeks. These students joined VolunTeen to get a hands-on look at possible future careers in the health care arena.
If you would like more information about this program or how to join, please contact me at 218-632-8148 or email@example.com.
Here’s a little insight into VolunTeen through the eyes of four of our students: Henning High School students Megan Rinicker and Marissa Rehm and Verndale High School students Morgan Wiese and Emily Veronen.
What made you decide to sign up for VolunTeen?
Megan: I decided to sign up for VolunTeen because I know that I would like to pursue a career in the medical field, but I didn’t know exactly what department.
Marissa: I had signed up for the VolunTeen program because I thought it would be a great opportunity to see the working environment in the hospital setting and to familiarize myself more with Tri-County, and it definitely did!
Morgan: I did it to learn more about the health care field.
Emily: Since I am going into the medical field, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to start gaining experience in the hospital environment.
What were your main responsibilities?
Megan: My main responsibility during VolunTeen was making sure that the patients had everything they needed including food and water.
Marissa: My main responsibilities with the VolunTeen program were passing out water, passing out meal trays and collecting them, and helping the nurses with any responsibilities they may have for me.
Morgan: I did a lot of organizing while I was there.
Emily: Mainly my responsibility was assisting the dietary staff as well as the nurses. I helped dietary by delivering supper to all of the patients, which was fun to interact with the patients and gain experience. I also was in charge of refilling the waters of the patients when needed and assisted the nurses by doing basically any extra jobs that they needed help with. For example, one night I hole-punched blank papers for patient records.
What did you learn?
Megan: I learned that you have to have lots of patience when talking and getting everything that was requested of you.
Marissa: From this experience, I learned many different things that will help my future in health care. The most important aspect I will take away from the VolunTeen program is how to talk and present myself to patients. I think this is one of the most looked over aspects of health care, and that can really make a difference.
Morgan: I learned that I needed to mark the patient’s water intake and that there is a need for nurses.
Emily: I learned that it is important to ask questions and be an outgoing person. The girls that I worked with were both super nice and helped me become more outgoing and willing to build friendships with new people. The nurses were also very friendly, which made them approachable, and they were always willing to answer questions.
How did VolunTeen increase your interest in the world of health care?
Megan: This did not further my interest in the world of health care because it didn’t touch on the departments I’m interested in, but at least now I know that.
Marissa: I have always been set on working in the world of health care, but this program really opened my eyes up to working in a hospital setting, such as Tri-County.
Morgan: I was thinking about going into the dental field, but now would like to be an RN because I saw how much patients rely on the nurses.
Emily: I already had a strong interest in the health care field, so I think that this experience reinforced my beliefs that the health care field was where I want to work.