Hospital looking for new blood in junior volunteers

Posted: Monday, April 25, 2005

High school students looking for something to do this summer may find the answer at Central Peninsula General Hospital.

The hospital is beginning a junior volunteer program for youths ages 14 to 18, who will be trained to work alongside adult volunteers in helping make patient stays a bit more pleasant.

"We'll find opportunities for as many young people as come forward to volunteer," said Pat Gilbreath, volunteer coordinator for CPGH.

Junior volunteers will work as escorts assisting with patient discharges, running department errands and other requests; help sort magazines and books offered to patients; and help with tours and the hospital's health fair.

Some of the volunteers also will help by providing music to patients or assisting with gardening around the hospital grounds and with floral arranging.

Some might also help by tending to the tropical fish in the hospital's lobby aquarium.

Students must have a school grade average of "B" or above and will be required to have their parents' consent. They also will be required to commit at least two hours per week to the program, according to Gilbreath.

She said an orientation has been scheduled for June 6 to train junior volunteers on hospital procedure and patient privacy issues.

The hospital has 40 active adult volunteers who work in the hospital and about 30 inactive volunteers who do quilting and crocheting for prayer shawls that are given away to hospital patients. The junior volunteers would always be accompanied by an adult, Gilbreath said.

She expects to hear from a lot of young people interested in going into the medical field.

"They'll be able to get some experience working in a hospital environment and they'll be able to make some contacts in the medical field," she said.

Gilbreath said the junior volunteer program also could give young volunteers a leg up on receiving one of two $4,000 scholarships awarded annually by the CPGH Auxiliary to students studying to enter the medical profession.

Other perks of being a volunteer include receiving a free meal while working a shift and being eligible for the hospital's Wellness Program if the junior volunteers work a set number of hours.

The Wellness Program provides a free panel of laboratory tests, use of the hospital's physical exercise equipment after hours, a membership fee subsidy at area health clubs and free inoculations such as flu shots.

To sign up for the junior volunteer program, students can call Gilbreath at 283-0246 or 252-9187.

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