A helping hand


Senior Lauren Durbin helps out at Community Hospital South as part of her volunteer work there.

Gourav Pany, Website Editor

Weaving through a crowded, frenzied hallway, senior Lauren Durbin maneuvers a wheelchair through a flock of people, guiding her patient through the throng of residents, nurses and doctors. When she reaches her destination, she can finally leave her patient in the hands of a nurse, and go about her day volunteering at the Community South Hospital.

Durbin first started volunteering at Community South after hearing about the program from Andrea Teevan, a PLTW Biomed teacher, which prompted her to sign up.

“I heard about it from PLTW Biomed because Mrs. Teevan mentioned that they needed some volunteers there, so I decided I would go there and see what it was about,” Durbin said. “The openings that were there when I applied were just for the emergency department or the information desk. I got put in the emergency department because that is what I was looking to do for my internship.”

Durbin’s duties include helping nurses in the emergency room with everyday tasks that do not require medical expertise.

“I just do whatever the nurses need help with, whether it is taking patients to their room, or cleaning rooms. So really, all you do is clean rooms so that they can be available  or get patients into their rooms or restock stuff,” Durbin said.

Despite the relatively low stakes when it comes to Durbin’s responsibilities, the hospital environment can still get chaotic at times.

“I would say it’s kind of hectic. I kind of just sit there because I’m not medically trained, but it is really hectic. I don’t really know how all the nurses and staff do that on a daily basis,” Durbin said. “I wouldn’t say it’s stressful because they kind of tell me everything that I need to do, and since I’m not a medical professional so there’s only so much I can do.”

While Durbin doesn’t have extensive medical training, she has classroom knowledge gained from PLTW Biomed courses.

“The Biomed courses definitely give you a lot of experience and explore a lot of different areas so you learn about career paths that you could go into. Whether it’s something really medical, like working in a hospital, or doing research, they give you a lot of hands-on experience to help you decide what area you want to go in,” Durbin said.

However, volunteering at the hospital can help students learn interpersonal skills that are not usually taught in the classroom.

“I think it helps you learn how to word things because especially when people are in pain you need to communicate well with them,” Durbin said. ‘I’m kind of just the messenger: if they need information then I can guide them toward someone who has the information.”

Volunteering in hospitals can help colleges identify students who have learned these interpersonal skills beforehand, which helps students like Durbin, who has not decided her future career path yet.

“I like being able to see what it’s like in the medical field, because it might be something that I’m interested in in the future. I haven’t decided on any area yet. I don’t know if I’m actually going to go into the medical field yet, but it’s definitely letting me explore it,” Durbin said. “It will definitely help me get more opportunities in the medical field because it shows colleges that I’ve worked in different places and it’ll also help me pick out what area I want to work in as well.”

In the end, volunteering at Community South has not only been educational for Durbin, but also an experience to remember.

“I’d recommend volunteering there. I think it’s cool because I’m interested in that kind of thing so I get to see all that stuff. I think it would be helpful if you were interested in something like that and you wanted to enter a profession like that in the future. I think it’s really cool,” Durbin said.