Volunteering: the most selfless and rewarding thing anyone could ever do. Many think you’re only doing things for other people, but the truth is, you’re also getting something out of it. You’re gaining knowledge, respect, and understanding.
The summer of 2016 was my second summer volunteering at The University Of Michigan’s Mott Children’s Hospital in the pediatric hematology/oncology unit. I myself have been a frequent patient there and I felt like that was a good place to gain some health care and volunteering experience before applying to medical school. I never expected this volunteer opportunity to be as fun as it was, and that is what made it so much more rewarding.
While volunteering, I have met a variety of patients from multiple different states, backgrounds, ethnic groups, etc. I’ve gotten the chance to hang out with and talk to the kids and their families and really connect with them and understand their situation. My position as a volunteer was to be in the playroom on the hematology/oncology floor and hang out with the patients and their families, as well as going to the patients’ individual rooms who are in isolation to hang out with them and keep them company. The pediatric patients I have met have so much life in them, and so much experience. Many of them act older than they actually are, and what’s so inspiring about them is how well they handle their situation. Being a patient admitted into the hospital is not easy, and I can’t even imagine being in their shoes. I would never be able to be as calm as they are. I have met patients who have beaten all of the odds as well as patients who weren’t fortunate enough to beat the fight, but they all still kept a smile on their faces.
The kids I have met have been through so much in their short amount of time here on Earth. They’ve had good and bad experiences, yet it seems on the surface as if they never let those bad experiences get them down. These kids and families inspire me to be a better person. They’ve helped me remember why I want to be a surgeon, why I want to go into the medical field. The doctors, surgeons, and nurses are the reason that these kids are beating the odds and given a second chance to experience all that life has to offer. Sometimes their methods fail, but watching and experiencing how these medical professionals have an impact on the patients is an amazing thing. The patients always have their favorites nurses and they will get extremely bummed out when their shift ends, and it really shows how wonderful the nurses are with their patients and their families. The mornings that I was there, I would always see the doctors doing their rounds with their residents. The way that they discuss a case and communicate with the patients and their families is absolutely inspiring. They are very attentive to their patients. They make sure that the patients and their families really understand the extent of their condition and what will be happening next. I believe the doctors and nurses are the reason that these young kids remain so calm during their stay in the hospital, and that is everything when you are the patient.