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Filed under Lifestyles

Senior completes internship at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center

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Senior Shayna Stoots has been anything but infected with the dreaded “senioritis” this year. Stoots volunteered at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center every Monday and Tuesday during first semester in an effort to gain more experience in the medical field.

“I honestly didn’t do it for community service or senior project,” said Stoots. “I just did it to look good for college and to try something different.”

Stoots was able to fit time to volunteer at the hospital into her class schedule on Mondays from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and on Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. On Mondays, she worked in the Women and Children unit and Tuesdays she worked in Cardio.

“Mondays were not really that exciting; they were very quiet and slow,” said Stoots. Her job on Mondays was mainly dirty work. Stoots would clean all the door knobs with disinfectant wipes to stop the spread of germs. Then, she would stock the cabinets with respiratory equipment and make sure that each bed had a pillow. Afterwards, she would check the patients’ rooms to see if anyone needed anything.

In the Women and Children unit on Mondays, most of the patients were women with young children or teenagers with serious illnesses. When checking the rooms, Stoots had to skip over the ones with red stop signs on the door. This sign meant that no one was allowed in the room, except the patient’s nurse or doctor.

However, while Mondays were fairly slow, Stoots said, “Tuesdays were very stressful and intense. Working in cardio was very exciting not because of the work I was doing, but because of the intensity level in that wing.”

On Tuesdays, Stoots worked with a secretary named Christina, taking apart the patients’ files that were being discharged and wrapping the files up to put in the file cabinet. For incoming patients, Stoots would make new folders and ensure that their names were on every document.

“That was extremely nerve wracking at first, because everyone’s coming in and out, talking and leaving, using the computers I was sitting at,” said Stoots. “I was so worried I would mess up their files and the doctor would report it. But thankfully I never did!”

“Cardio was definitely more exciting because they had this huge computer monitor with every room in the wing,” added Stoots. “[Every patient’s] individual heartbeat and all his [or her] information were displayed, I’m assuming so that if there were a problem, someone would know right away.”

Stoots particularly liked knowing that her work helped lighten someone else’s burden for the day. “It was a great feeling knowing that I had saved some trouble for a nurse or the patient themselves,” she said.

While Stoots enjoyed helping at Upper Chesapeake for the past semester, JC only allows students to do this internship for one semester. Still, Stoots intends on volunteering at Johns Hopkins for her senior project this spring.

Stoots advises students looking into similar volunteer opportunities to pursue their interests second semester. She said, “My advice would be to schedule it in spring, because I got sick for three weeks straight and couldn’t go. They do not want you at the hospital if you have any signs of illness. Most people are healthy during the spring, but winters are hard.”

While Stoots did not get the opportunity to work with the patients as she originally wanted, she simply enjoyed being in the medical environment. “I would most definitely encourage [volunteering at a hospital]. It was a great experience!” she said.

“Even though I wasn’t interacting with patients, it did mean a lot to me to be able to help someone do something for themselves. For example, fill up their cup when they are too sick to walk to the sink,” said Stoots.

“It had a great effect on me and showed me what I would have to do if I were working instead of going to school. I felt important and like I was contributing to the hospital,” said Stoots. “[Upper Chesapeake] has over 3,000 volunteers, so I only made a small dent, but I still felt meaningful.”

Next fall, Stoots will be attending Stevenson University and plans to major in nursing. Stoots feels thankful that she will have an upper hand, as her volunteer experience already introduced her to the medical field in a more hands-on way.

Charlotte Hagerman can be reached for comment at chagerman@johncarroll.org

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