Upon searching for a service site that was related to my future goals, I was faced with a dilemma. I could not decide if I wanted to continue with my career path towards medicine or change it to the pharmaceutical field. Initially, I wanted to volunteer at a retail pharmacy as a pharmacy technician but was unable to find any openings in my local area. Nonetheless, I was able to find a volunteering opportunity at the Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland. This service site was better than the former as it enabled me to get a feel of a medical environment, which exceeds that of a retail store.
I first called the Holy Cross Hospital Volunteer Coordinator, Ann November-Moss, and verified that there was an opening spot for a volunteer. After attending the orientation and training sessions, I was able to begin my experience as a volunteer in the Emergency Center. I specifically chose to volunteer at the triage desk in the emergency room so that I would be able to interact with patients coming for diverse medical treatments ranging from a minor cut to life-threatening situations. I also wanted to gain an experience of working in a hospital environment to better prepare myself for my future involvement in similar medical institutions. I volunteered at the Emergency center for approximately seventy-eight hours during the school year and gained an unforgettable experience.
As a volunteer at the triage desk, my duties included helping the triage nurse assess the severity and urgency of patientsí conditions, assisting the triage nurse take patientsí blood pressure, heart rate and temperature, assigning allergy bracelets, and transporting patients to a specific care unit that they are assigned to. Through this experience, I was able to advance my knowledge of medicine. I became familiar with basic medical techniques such as taking patientsí vital signs, medical terminologies, and primary hospital equipments.
I believe that this volunteer service has affected me in ways that are beyond science. I realized how my assistance in the emergency care center provided an extra dimension of care and service to both the patients and hospital staff. I was able to develop a strong relationship with the patients that I interacted with. I realized that there was a familiar relationship between patients and hospital staffs as the patients rely and trust us to care for them as children depend on their parents. Furthermore, through this experience, I was encouraged to continue my career in healthcare. Nonetheless, this volunteer service definitely modified my future plans at the University of Maryland. I realized that I would never fully adapt to the chaotic nature of the emergency room after discovering my great discomfort towards blood or any bodily fluid. There was indeed a marked difference of reading about such things in textbooks and actually experiencing them in reality. Therefore, I was able to conclude that I will adhere to the pharmaceutical field. Recently, I have changed my major from General Biology to Community Health as I have decided to change my track from Pre-Medicine to Pre-Pharmacy. This experience has truly helped me to determine what my future career goals are.
In conclusion, this great volunteering experience at the emergency room gave me the opportunity to obtain hands on experience with medicine that I could have never gained at anywhere else. Furthermore, I would never have been able to truly discern if the pharmaceutical field was the better option for me without working in a medical institution. Therefore, my application of natural science for my practicum for the Scholarís Earth Life and Time program was extremely valuable and remarkable.