Volunteer Program Offers Teens Experience in Hospital Setting

DES MOINES, Iowa – Teens wanting to make a difference have a few options when it comes to volunteering, and one program can also set students up for success in the healthcare field.

Instead of relaxing after school, some teens hang out at the hospital. East High School student Isabel Casas said, "I'm a volunteen here."

The students are part of the Lutheran Hospital Volunteen Program. They work two hour shifts once a week. "We go on floors, stock linens for each room. We help out the nurses, take mail down for them, check on patients, ask if they just want someone to talk to, if they need magazines, if we can help them with anything they need," said Casas.

The program offers experience for the young volunteers, starting with the application process. They have to go through an interview process, as well as health screenings. The volunteens say, in addition to making friends, they also gain valuable experience, here, in a hospital setting.

Volunteen and Valley High School Junior Shubham Tayal said, "I've definitely gained a lot of hospital experience, just like being in the hospital, working around the staff, working with patients and probably just working with people in general, like people skills.”

Casas said, "Now I have better knowledge of how to treat patients and have a more professional attitude in the hospital."

The volunteens say the experience will help them in future health care careers, and the best part is something they can't learn in a classroom. "Being able to work with the patients every day I come in here. It's got to be one of my favorite parts of my day," said Tayal.

The Iowa Lutheran Hospital Volunteen Program currently has 55 participants. Most volunteers are high honors students from around the metro and participate in a variety of extracurricular activities. Last year, the volunteens provided 13,000 hours of service to the hospital. You can find more information on Unity Point Health Des Moines' website.