Preparations are in place for Lakes Regional Healthcare’s (LRH) Summer Junior Volunteer Program. Each summer nearly 30 high school and college students assist physicians, nursing and other professional staff, and patients in the Emergency Department, Surgery Department, and Inpatient Departments. Soon they will welcome back many of these and several more students as they go through the process to receive applications and complete interviews.
“Most Junior Volunteers are interested in a career in healthcare and participating in the program gives them first-hand knowledge of whether or not they would like to pursue that path,” said LRH Vice President of Marketing and Retail Services Jennifer Gustafson. “And for those that know that’s the path they want to take, it’s a great thing to add to a resume. This is our seventh summer offering the program, and many past Junior Volunteers are now nurses working at Avera McKennan, Mayo Clinic, and Sanford or in medical school at Des Moines University and the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine. We are honored to have been part of their journey.”
Students interested in the program must submit an application, signed parental consent form, and written reference from a guidance counselor/advisor or teacher/professor to apply. From there, they are interviewed and possibly selected for the volunteer position in which they applied. After being selected, they go through the orientation process to include a TB test, COVID-19 vaccine, health assessment, orientation assessment, background check, and safety and privacy regulations training. Each student must volunteer at least eight four-hour shifts in the program’s eight weeks. This program offers three Junior Volunteer positions from which to choose and students can apply for and volunteer for one or more areas. If they select one area, they can cross-train to the other areas as time allows based on patient volume to learn even more about working in the healthcare field.
ER Junior Volunteer
ER Junior Volunteer shifts are four hours long and around the clock. Some of the ER Junior Volunteer responsibilities include assisting physicians, paramedics, and nurses, disinfecting ER rooms after patient discharge, offering items to and transporting patients, and restocking supplies. Up to 25 Junior Volunteers will be selected to be in the ER.
Inpatient Junior Volunteer
Five Inpatient Junior Volunteers will be accepted into the program, as there are five shifts per week – 8 am until 12 pm, Monday through Friday. These volunteers will begin their shift in the Birth Center and move on to the Medical-Surgical and/or Critical Care Departments depending on the needs at the moment. Some of the Inpatient Junior Volunteer responsibilities include providing companionship to patients, turning over patient rooms, transporting and escorting patients, assisting with obtaining vital signs, assisting nurses as requested, and transporting samples to Lab.
Surgery Junior Volunteer
Five Surgery Junior Volunteers will be accepted to fill five shifts per week – 8 am until 12 pm, Monday through Friday. These volunteers will call and escort surgery patients into the Surgery Center, turn over surgery pre-op rooms, give items to patients, transport and escort patients, and assist nurses as requested.
The program also provides weekly, hands-on educational opportunities. Gustafson said, “Each week the Junior Volunteers will be invited to attend an optional, hands-on educational session in addition to their weekly volunteer shifts. Examples of topics include how to stitch, how to gown and glove, and how to give an injection.”
The Summer Junior Volunteer Program will be held from June 6 through July 29. High school sophomores, juniors, or seniors or college students at least 16 years old by June 1 will be considered for the program. The application and parental consent form can be found at www.lakeshealth.org/volunteer and must be submitted to Gustafson by April 29. Those selected must attend a mandatory orientation session on Wednesday, June 1. For more information, contact Gustafson at 712-336-8799 or firstname.lastname@example.org.