Student volunteers gain hands-on health care experience at Beaumont

Patient escort volunteer, Adam, helps a patient at discharge.

Patient escort volunteer, Adam, helps a patient at discharge.

Every summer, the Royal Oak, Grosse Pointe and Troy, Beaumont campuses give student volunteers a taste of what working in different areas of a hospital environment is like before completing their educational goals.

The program is quickly growing to provide high school and college level students with hands-on experience volunteering in fields. Student volunteers gain hands-on health care experience at Beaumont such as radiology, COPD research, pediatric rehabilitation, endoscopy, post-surgical lounges and a variety of patient units. Students also have the opportunity to experience working in fast-paced environments while assisting in the pharmacy, gift shop, pet therapy and emergency centers.

From May to July, summer programs have recruited more than 400 college students and roughly 200 high school students to participate. Together they dedicated more than 14,000 hours to their learning experience.

“Our summer programs have specific criteria, such as, completing 100 hours of active volunteering at Beaumont. Students also meet the needs of specific programs. Students are placed in respective opportunities that coordinate with their future career plans in health care,” explains Beth Frydlewicz, system director of Volunteer Services. “Some students often come back year after year because they are excited by the opportunities they receive through the Beaumont organization.”

Each student volunteer shares distinct experiences throughout their entire time at Beaumont, which all has made lasting impressions on their own lives as well as others around them.

Sam and Angelina volunteered with Beaumont Children's Hospital therapy groups.

Sam and Angelina volunteered with Beaumont Children’s Hospital therapy groups.

“My favorite aspect of the program is the fact that both patients and volunteers all have a positive impact on each other,” says Erich Umbarger, a Seaholm High School student volunteer at Royal Oak. “My experience has taught me to problem solve and deal with different patients or situations whether it be a routine call or an unusual scenario.”

Not every student is selected to be in the program; extensive criteria and specific requirements that need to be met by applicants make the selection a competitive process.

“I think people are unaware of the magnitude of work each student dedicates both inside and outside the program and how much their lives are affected by these great opportunities,” adds Beth.

“I feel like I’m really making a difference when I am able to have fun conversations with patients to help distract them from their pain and get them to relax,” shares Rita Raban, a Stevenson High School volunteer at Troy. “It truly has been an eye-opening experience to learn from many of the amazing nurses and staff members I have come in contact with.”

Students also have the opportunity to get hands-on experience when applying the same tools and daily procedures as the Beaumont experts by learning through multiple techniques and methods.

“Seeing and experiencing the Physician Shadowing program at the Grosse Pointe campus has confirmed my love for medicine,” reveals Amr Al Gahdari, a Wayne State University volunteer. “Since I have seen firsthand the physician’s role in surgery, I am 100 percent committed to becoming a surgeon and would one day love to come back to Beaumont,” he says.

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