Texoma Medical Center honored its summer high school and college volunteers with a banquet last weekend.
Young people may begin volunteering at TMC at 14 and can continue through college. Volunteers who help throughout the year are called senior volunteers.
“This year we had 29 student volunteers,” said director of volunteer services Susan Schumacher. “We had six college students and 23 high school students.”
The seven- to eight-week program allows students to work in certain areas of the hospital, but adult volunteers who have had more training are allowed to work in a wider range of areas.
“The younger students assist senior volunteers,” said Schumacher. “The older volunteers do supplemental tasks like helping stocking supplies, running errands, and making copies. College students sometimes help with stocking patient rooms with necessary items, making beds, assisting staff with wheel chair transports and other small tasks. They have to have special training to do a lot of things, though.”
Volunteers are not allowed to perform any type of procedure on patients.
“They also help family and visitors at the hospital,” said Schumacher. “They give them information. They escort them to different parts of the hospital. If a nurse has a special request, volunteers are able to fulfill it. Sometimes they even read to the patients.”
Schumacher said adult volunteers bring patients newspapers and even keep crayons and coloring books in case children come into the waiting rooms.
“It is a great feeling to help others,” she said. “To be of service is to be a success. Helping others is a good quality to instill into the youth of today. Volunteering comes with a deep internal satisfaction.”
Schumacher said that the hospital begins receiving calls about summer volunteering in January and February.
“At the beginning of the year moms and returning students begin calling,” she said. “We send out the application to new students in March. We accept home schooled students as well as students who attend traditional schools.”
Applications are due in April, interviews are conducted in May, and volunteering begins in June.
For every shift worked, a volunteer receives a meal in the cafeteria and a snack from the gift shop. The end of the year banquet is also a big “thank you” from the employees at the hospital.
“This year we had Randy Truxel, the director of the ER Mark Nischwitz, volunteer parent Jennifer Simmons, and volunteers Kayla Robinson and Ty Williams speak on their experiences,” said Schumacher. “It was interesting to hear some speak on working with volunteers, how volunteering affects a family and what the experience was like from a volunteer.”
Volunteers were given a certificate and served refreshments.