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Respect Gained from Volunteering

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Last summer, I volunteered for the first time at Duke Hospital in the auxiliary department. I worked a total of one hundred and four hours in both the North and South Pink Smock Shops, giving me the opportunity to meet other students, help patients and their families, and get to know the people who make up Duke Hospital. After volunteering at Duke Medical Center, I can conclude that I have higher respect for nurses, doctors, and other medical workers, as well as being positively influenced to pursue a career in the field of medicine.

Over that three week period last year, I got the chance to meet other students who had the same values, goals and interests that I do. Then I realized if I were to go into the medical field, I would be in an environment much like that, where I would be working with colleagues who had similar interests and want to help people just as much as I do. When volunteering in the gift shops, my favorite thing to do is deliver presents and flowers to patients. Even though my job was simply to bring a small, material gift to a patient and their family, I could tell just walking in with a smile on my face and cheer in my voice, that I'd made an optimistic impact on their day. If I did that every day and worked diligently to improve people's lives, I know there's no way I could go wrong in choosing a medical career. Also, while volunteering at Duke I got to work with inspiring adults who work hard and enjoy helping people at the hospital as much as I do. In the shops, supervisors set great examples and gave us the opportunity to interact with other staff, as well as guide and help patients. Besides people who worked in the gift shops, I began to notice who came in to buy a quick snack or drink every day. Many doctors and nurses came in at the same time every day, never grabbing anything more than a coffee, granola bar or few pieces of chocolate to perk up their tight clinic schedules, always polite and kind at the register. Growing up with a mom who worked as a transplant coordinator and had clinic three times a week, I knew how busy people's work schedules could be, but I never fully appreciated the relaxing summer days we had until I saw these men and women running around constantly, trying to help all of their patients daily, with no month long vacations that we have as kids and teenagers. I truly admire their tenacity and dedication to helping others, and having a good attitude at the same time.

I really cherished my weeks working at Duke, and it has definitely inspired me to join the medical field, so I may be as lucky as to help people and make other's days better and more plentiful, to spend enjoying life with their friends and family.



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