High School Student Thinking Of Volunteering In the ED, Couple Of Q's

  1. Hi,

    My name is Jake, I am 16 years old and very interested in the health care field. I am in a diversified health career class in high school where we learn about different careers in the health care field. Part of this class is clinical experience where we get to choose many different areas of choice at our local hospital in Phoenix, AZ. These areas include RT, Pharmacy, PT, Outpatient, L&D, Nursery, GP Doctors Offices, Pediatrics, etc. During these three week rotations, we shadow and "assist" in anything that we can that is "non invasive." This can include taking vitals, rooming pt's, transporting pt's and observing procedures that may be happening during the 1 1/2 hours that we are there.

    I had the excellent opportunity to do a rotation in the ED. I absolutely LOVED it. I saw so many things that were new and interesting to me. I am thinking of a future career in the medical field, maybe becoming a doctor working in the ED someday. I was thinking about volunteering in my ED. I was wondering if you have any volunteers working in your ED’s, and what is it that they do/can do. I was hoping since I know many people in the ED, since that was my last rotation, if they would let me take vital signs/help the RN do triage like BP/Pulse, etc, and help around with the pt's.

    What do you guys think that I should do?

    Thanks for all the help,

    Last edit by Thejakeman on Nov 23, '05
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    About Thejakeman

    Joined: Nov '05; Posts: 1


  3. by   KatieBell
    Our volunteers basically got drinks for patients, and handed out warm blankets, interacted with visitors. They definitely do not do triage- as that is for experienced nurses with specialized training for triage. Some I believe were able to escort patients for L and D (which can be a lot of fun.)
    For more patient contact (vitals etc), you might consider taking a Nurse Aide class and working a bit. I believe you can be certified at 16 though it depends on the state.
  4. by   rntx
    You are off to a great start! I wish my HS had a program like that.

    I volunteered while I was in HS and I don't think I will ever forget that experience. I was not in one particular dept, I rotated all over the facility. The volunteer office would page me and I would be sent from unit to unit. Now, in the ED, our volunteers basically are available to assist pt's/families to rooms, drinks, phones, and hand out warm blankets.
    It sounds like you are looking for more of a tech position which would let you get hands on experience with vitals, bandaging, performing EKG's. Every hospital is different in their job descriptions. But volunteering is also a great foot in the door!
  5. by   Sammy25
    It's exciting to hear about your interest and enthusiasm in the medical field. I would highly recommend also that you go through CNA training. Volunteering is also a great choice, but I hear your looking to gain some experience in working with patients, taking vitals, ect. Volunteers are not qualified to do many of those things, and being a CNA really lets you work with the team as a whole and you will learn a whole lot about patient care and assessment and how things are run. I also think that doctors who had experience working as CNA's make the absolute best doctors regarding the treatment of patients and bedside manner! Good luck to you in the future!
  6. by   JMBM
    I volunteered in our ED way back before going to school. One of the best things I've done. As an ED nurse now, I can say that a good volunteer is worth their weight in chocolate. Our volunteers reset rooms, help patients in and out, retrieve monitors, pumps, etc and generally help out. One word of advice...we see alot of volunteers who arrive, thinking they are going to be jumping right into the TV show "ER". When they find out that most of the work is routine, but hard, they disappear. The result is that most nurses seem to reserve judgment on volunteers for a few weeks. However, if you show up regularly on your scheduled time and happily pitch in wherever you can, you'll find the nurses inviting you to do more and more. If they know you are interested in a career in the field, most nurses are happy to show you things and explain procedures (when there is time). In short, you'll get out of volunteering just about as much as you are willing to put into it. Go for it.