Thursday, February 10, 2011
Oh wait, med volunteering can be fun? Huh...
So, part of getting in to med school is doing some volunteering in a hospital environment so that, you know, you actually get a sense for what the rest of your life is going to smell like. I've done a lot of volunteering in the past, and frankly, I mostly didn't enjoy it. As a volunteer, you are below rung zero on the power ladder. You are literally not even allowed to clean up the s**t or vomit of patients. You ARE allowed to help resupply the stock room of the guy who cleans up s**t and vomit, which is awesome.
If you don't take steps to improve your experience, that is literally what pre-med volunteering was like for me. Standing around, trying to look busy, trying to maybe see a nurse or doctor in action once in a while, filling up water pitchers, etc etc.
So when I decided to start volunteering at my local hospital again, I was somewhat dreading it, just because of the boredom really. And then I got a bright idea: why don't I do something so that it's not boring!
What I did when I got there was stick my nose in everything - every room, every process that was going on (at the risk of angering the almighty HIPAA), and I introduced myself to every patient on the floor. And guess what - it rocked! While most people dont really want to talk because, you know, they are recovering from major surgery and are basically kind of pissed/tired etc, some people DO want to talk, and they have cool stories.
I met a cowboy. A real-ass bad-ass cowboy from hell! He owns a ranch, rides and breeds horses, the whole 9 yards. We talked for a lot of the time I was there, and it was fun. I'm going to drop in on him today just to say hi.
I also learned that I HAVE to learn Spanish, stat. I couldn't communicate with half of the patients, which was awkward, but I tried, and ultimately, it was really rewarding. I highly recommend putting yourself out of your comfort zone.
[preachy post for the year ends]