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, Inpatient Departments, and Lakes Regional Family Medicine clinic. 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.”
Gustafson said COVID-19 is not deterring the hospital from hosting the program. She said, “We held the program last year and the Junior Volunteers followed our COVID protocols and wore the proper PPE, so it went well. Plus, we realized if they are considering pursuing healthcare as a career, they’ll have to work in all kinds of situations, pandemic or no pandemic,” she said. “We’ll continue COVID protocols this year, and the Junior Volunteers will also be able to get the vaccine if they want it.”
Last summer the program added weekly, hands-on educational opportunities. Gustafson said, “They were received really well by the Junior Volunteers, so we’ll be doing that again this summer. 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.”
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, 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 four 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.
Lakes Regional Family Medicine Junior Volunteer
Five Lakes Regional Family Medicine Junior Volunteers will be selected to fill the 1 pm to 5 pm, Monday through Friday shifts. These volunteers will assist with coordinating patient care, set up rooms after patient appointments, call and escort patients into exam rooms, transport and escort patients, and transport medications and specimens to and from Lab.
The Summer Junior Volunteer Program will be held from June 7 through July 30. 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 May 14. Those interested in more information can contact Gustafson at 712-336-8799 or email@example.com.