A Day in the Life
How did you become interested in the field of health care?
My interest in science got me started in health care, but it was the patients that got me hooked. I volunteered at a hospital as a “critical care extender” through COPE Health Solutions and I fell in love with caring for people.
What did you like most about your volunteer and work experience?
To me, patients aren’t just patients. They are the brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters of real people with real medical needs. As a volunteer, I did everything from help them walk and bathe to change their bed sheets and just be their friend. Whenever they said, “Thank you,” I felt an overwhelming sense of pride.
After a year, I went from volunteer to full-time nursing attendant. I was stationed in the recovery room with patients returning from surgery. I supported the doctors and nurses by bringing supplies to them, ordering laboratory tests for patients and working with other hospital departments.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
As a nursing attendant, you have to be able to juggle multiple responsibilities — and patients. When the nurses were busy helping other patients, I would help other patients who needed assistance as best as I could. It was stressful when patients needed my attention at the same time. I had to prioritize their needs in order of urgency to make sure everyone stayed comfortable.
Where are you headed next?
When I decided I wanted to become a physician, the hospital was supportive of my goal. I’m currently in my second year of training to become an osteopathic doctor. It’s perfect for me because osteopathic medicine focuses on providing compassionate care that takes both body and mind into account when helping a patient get well.
What’s your best advice for anyone considering working in health care?
My advice is to get started early. Volunteering gave me the experience to move into a paid position and then medical school. Being a volunteer can help you find your passion while making a difference at the same time. And once you start working, many hospitals will even pay for advanced training for their employees. There is no limit to what you can do.