Finally, the day has come! Today was my first day of orientation for Project Healthcare. After enjoying the beginning of my summer vacation with small vacation trips and catching up on sleep after finals, I was ready to begin volunteering. Although I learned quite a lot about this program during the interviews, I was looking forward to getting to know the details and learning about the expectations. I was also extremely excited to meet all of my fellow peers in this program and talk to students from all around the country who have the same passion as I do.
During the first day, we learned that Project Healthcare is an immersive program that really exposes students to the realities of healthcare. For example, because this program wants to mimic the life of a healthcare professional, volunteers are expected to work 4-5 hours shifts any day of the week anywhere from 7:30 am to 11 pm. Although this sounded a little daunting at first, working during different hours and different days of the week will truly be a humbling and educational opportunity.
Additionally, we will be volunteering in many different departments of Bellevue Hospital. This includes the Adult Emergency Department, Pediatric Emergency Department, Emergency Ward, Social Work, Operating Room, and the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Department. As I learned more about each of these different areas, I got more and more excited to begin volunteering downstairs as I knew I would learn an incredible amount in so many different disciplines of medicine.
However, the part about the first day of orientation that made me exceptionally enthusiastic was learning about the history of Bellevue Hospital and the patient population it serves. Bellevue Hospital is one of the oldest city hospitals in the country. The main mission is to provide unparalleled care to all of their patients regardless of the patients’ background. Therefore, many of the patients include those from Rikers Island Prison Complex, immigrants who are undocumented and many homeless individuals. The purpose of this hospital is truly inspiring. I am so excited to finally begin volunteering in just a short week and learn about perspectives, lifestyles and experiences different from my own.