About Keck Medical Center of USC: Opened in 1991, this ultra-modern facility offers some of the most sophisticated technology available. Among the hospital’s advanced services are neurointerventional radiology, cardiac catheterization and interventional cardiology.
Length of Commitment: 6 months
Shifts Available: M-F during business hours only
TB Testing: Yes – more information given upon acceptance
– Patient Experience
– Transplant Clinic
– ICU (Cardiothoracic)
– Cystic Fibrosis
– Women’s Health
Over the course of this past semester, I volunteered in the anesthesiology department at Keck Medical Center. I spent four hours each week restocking supplies in the anesthesia carts used in the operating rooms and performing other tasks to help out on the surgical floor. I primarily chose this department because it has night hours that work well with my class schedule. It took a rather long time to complete the volunteer clearance process because of slow communication with the volunteer coordinator and some instances of misplaced paperwork. However, overall I would say the wait was worth it.
One of my favorite aspects of this assignment is that there is always more to learn. I started out just restocking the basic carts, but over time I have started going into ORs to deliver supplies or to check supplies in the room itself. I have not had the opportunity to observe a surgery yet, but the anesthesia techs have mentioned it a few times so hopefully that will work out eventually. Speaking of which, working with the anesthesia technicians is always one of the highlights of my shifts. They are all very friendly and willing to share their knowledge about the many supplies in the stockroom. During slow days, I usually have some down time during my shift, which gives me an opportunity to talk with the techs. I have heard some interesting stories about how they ended up in this career, what they would have done differently, what they like and dislike, etc. Unfortunately, this means that I do not really ever interact with any healthcare professionals besides the anesthesia techs. Even still, my experiences walking around the floor have given me a sense of how the medical team operates as a unit. One other significant drawback of this assignment is the lack of patient interaction. I was aware of this before starting to volunteer, so it was not a surprise. If you are looking for something with more contact with both patients and physicians, the anesthesia department may not be the best option. However, Keck has other volunteer assignments so there is something for everyone.
Third Semester Student
I volunteered at Keck this semester. Overall, I thought the clearance process was easy and straightforward. The first step was attending orientation at Keck. The only downside of attending orientation was that it was seven hours long and on a school day. Thus, I was required to miss a whole day of classes. At orientation, the hospital procedures and safety protocols were explained. I was also trained on customer care. At the end of orientation, the next steps to be completed to be cleared to volunteer were discussed.
The first step after leaving orientation was to complete all of the paperwork provided on a USB. There were about twenty pages that had to be electronically filled out and emailed back to Elizabeth Vega, the volunteer coordinator. Once my forms were submitted, I was instructed to make an appointment with employee health to receive a flu shot and a TB skin test. My appointment took about ten minutes because USC had already provided me with a TB skin test and therefore all I needed was a flu shot. USC provided TB tests at the student health center earlier in the month.
Once my appointment at employee health was completed, I had to make an appointment with Elizabeth to get my assignment, volunteer uniform, and badge. Before this appointment I also picked my shift and start date and confirmed it with Elizabeth. After I received my badge I was allowed to start volunteering!
The only extremely time consuming part of the onboarding process for Keck was waiting for orientation. Fall orientation was scheduled in late September, which meant the whole first month and a half of the semester; I was not able to volunteer. However, once orientation was completed, the amount of time it took to be approved to volunteer was completely in my hands. It took some people over a month to complete all of their paperwork and appointments and others (like me) only two days.
The Keck volunteer coordinator, Elizabeth Vega was extremely hard to contact during this whole entire process. Sometimes, up to five to six emails I sent her would not receive a response. I found it was best to just contact her repeatedly until she got back to me.
First Semester Student
To begin volunteering for Keck Medical Center is definitely a long, tiring process. First, I had to attend a mandatory orientation all day, even having to miss a couple labs. While Elizabeth Vega did a good job of explaining the entire screening process, it still took a lot of time to complete as I am still waiting to begin volunteering. After orientation, I had to fill out a 12-page application. I then had to visit Keck again in order to have my immunizations cleared. However, this appointment took longer to book than I thought it would as the health center would often not pick up or return my voicemails. In addition, even though I received a TB test through THV, I was required to receive another one since the test has to be within one month of visiting the health center. I had to visit again two days later to have my test read. For some reason, Keck had trouble finding one of the vaccines on my record so I had to have my doctor fax it over. I have now been waiting a couple weeks as Keck says they are still checking my immunizations. Once they clear my immunizations, I can contact Elizabeth and hopefully begin volunteering soon. Overall, the process was definitely involved a lot more steps than I thought it would. While Elizabeth was clear on what needed to be completed at orientation, it still took time to finish the application, visit the health center, and now wait for clearance. However, taking the bus to Keck was easy to learn as it picks you up right outside of JEP and drops you off close to the medical center, where you just have to take a short walk. It is important though to plan 30 to 45 minutes for travel time as the bus would sometimes stop at Union Station.
From this screening process for Keck, I have learned it is very important to keep on top of communication. If I had not continued to email Elizabeth or call Keck, I would have never been added to the orientation list or have gotten an appointment at the health center. In addition, I really had to learn how to manage my time on when to visit the health center and make it to all appointments on time. It was important that I planned my bus routes accordingly so that I would not be late.
First Semester Student
I’ve now been volunteering at Keck for about 6 weeks, and for the most part it’s been a very positive experience. For one the hospital is very convenient to get to because of the intercampus shuttle that runs between the main USC campus and the health science campus. There are stops constantly throughout the day so it shouldn’t be too hard to get there. I’ve been working in the anesthesiology department and everyone that I’ve met has been very outgoing and helpful. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten any shadowing out of it just yet, but this is likely due to the fact that I am still relatively. Mainly I just pack the carts that sit in the operation rooms and deliver them to their designated locations. When not packing the other employees are very relaxed and let me do homework or take care of anything else. They give you a free meal every time you go which is also nice, and they are not strict at all about coming in promptly at the start of a shift or leaving right at the end.
Although most things about Keck are pretty nice, one thing that’s for sure not is the clearance process. Any hospital you go to you’re going to have to make your way through a bunch of red tape and deal with a lot of paperwork, but what makes everything so difficult is that the volunteer coordinator is one of the least responsive people I’ve come across. She is a very nice lady and once you do manage to get in touch with her things go smoothly; however, that is a rare situation. You could send 15 emails and make 5 calls before hearing a word back from her, and even then its not a guarantee. Do not let this be a deterrent, but just be aware that if you’re not actively trying to get through the clearance as fast as possible, it could end up dragging out over 5 months like it did for me.
Second Semester Student
Although I was unable to attend site this semester, I spent quite a bit of time at Keck this past summer. I went every Monday night from 5-9 p.m. and volunteered in the Anesthesiology department, so I will be discussing my experiences during this time in the following site review.
I joined THV Spring Semester of my third year of college. I had heard various stories from other THV students about Elizabeth Vega and her email response inconsistencies. However, I had a much different experience with her at first. I sent her a few emails this semester that she did not respond to. I hope I do not have this experience again when I try to change departments at Keck next semester. Elizabeth answered all of my emails after the first time sending them to her last semester though, and she was very helpful in getting me set up at Keck. I went to the February orientation and got my health clearance sometime in March or April. Since I knew that I was going to be at USC taking classes this past summer, I was not in a huge hurry to get started volunteering before the Spring Semester ended. I got everything set up last semester and then starting volunteering in May/June.
My experiences in the Anesthesiology department were interesting and insightful. I got to learn how to prepare an Anesthesiology cart and I saw what an OR looked like, sometimes directly after a surgery. I also walked by a few surgeries and got to see what they were doing. But, I wish I had been able to get more interaction with the actual anesthesiologist. Since I volunteered at night, he usually left work before I arrived. I also had hoped to see a little more action, but that could have simply been due to the fact that I was not in an emergency setting. Overall, I enjoyed the things I learned.
Second Semester Student
Getting into Keck (to Volunteer)
As the title of this little piece suggests, this review is about my experience with the volunteer clearance process, as I have not actually begun to volunteer at my site. You will come to understand why.
I chose Keck Medical Center USC as my THV Volunteer site. My first reason for this choice was that it was easy to get to, what with the USC Shuttle Service. I was also aware that Keck accommodates a comparatively large number of volunteers in its various departments. I appreciated that Keck offered not only many volunteer spots, but also learning experiences in an array of departments. Finally, from what I knew, the Keck volunteer system and THV leadership have had a long enough relationship that I would have a smaller chance of hiccups along the way due to unfamiliarity with the site system.
Thankfully, I was paired with the site that I chose and, as per new-student site packet instructions, all I had to do was RSVP to attend a volunteer orientation session at my site. Beyond this point it became clear that my biggest challenge would be contacting the Director of Volunteer Services at Keck, Elizabeth Vega.
Those of us who chose to volunteer at Keck waited a little longer than others for our orientation session date to be communicated to us. Thereafter we did not get RSVP responses from Ms. Vega. In both cases the THV directors needed to step in and relay information back and forth.
After orientation I needed to fill in several health clearance documents, make an appointment with Employee Health at Keck and deliver said documents to them. At my first appointment, since I did not have proof of HepB and Varicella immunization, I had blood drawn to test for immunity for both. The phlebotomists assured me that I would receive a call in four business days when my results were ready. There was a two-week delay even after I called and left my information to aid in locating my results. Eventually, I got in contact with a nurse named Troy who let me know that I had insufficient HepB immunity.
When I had finally begun my HepB immunization series, Troy cleared me and said she would send my file over to Ms. Vega.
I have since sent two emails with the same information to Ms. Vega, as she instructed during orientation, notifying her that I am finally ready to schedule an appointment with her. After my first attempt to contact Ms. Vega, Kirsten helped me get clarification on a form required for clearance. The second email more clearly asked about scheduling an appointment. I am still waiting for a response.
It has been a frustrating semester, not because the requirements – whether THV’s or Keck’s – were strenuous, but because Keck repeatedly delayed communicate with me.
Nevertheless, I am still excited to begin volunteering, and I know I will still draw a lot of valuable experiences from my time at Keck.
1st Semester Student
I think the process of getting started at Keck was very easy. All the paper work was already done for us and we were in the system. That was convenient. I didn’t like the fact that we had only one day to attend the orientation. I would have liked an individual one on one option. I had to take day off from classes and those classes were very important to me. It was an entire day event, but at least we got out early. The orientation did not offer a vegetarian option during lunch, so I was starving the entire day. I got my health clearance a few days after the orientation but it still took them a while to get me started. I only volunteered for 4 weeks. Also they lost my health clearance paper work. I think they are going to make me refill the paper, but the director still let me start. It is very difficult to contact the director of volunteers. She doesn’t respond to emails or pick up her phone calls. I know a lot of people had that same issue. I requested Thanksgiving and Finals week off but she responded to that email 3 weeks after I sent it. Other than not being able to contact her, the director of volunteers is very nice. I got placed in the ICU but I regret not getting put on a different nursing floor. The nurses are not doing much either because these patients are on post anesthesia form surgery. They are all knocked out, so I don’t have that much patient interaction experience. However, the nurses do explain procedures to me, like how to put in an IV line. Most of the time I just pick up phone calls that the department receives. I wish I could have gotten more clinical experience but overall it’s a good place to volunteer. It’s a convient because the shuttle goes there.
1st Semester Student
Having volunteered at Keck Medical Center of USC for a couple of years, I can say without a doubt that scheduling and going through the orientation process was easy. The orientation itself was about 8 hours and free lunch was served at noon. The orientation was very informational as it went through the topics of germs, what to do if a volunteer gets into an accident, what is expected of a volunteer, etc. However, the process after orientation (such as getting badges and parking permit) was more difficult. There were many times I had to schedule and reschedule a meeting with the volunteer coordinator. Fortunately for me, I still had my
badge from when I had started 4 years ago so I didn’t have to go through the process again.
As I had stated, it was pretty hard meeting up with the volunteer coordinator. There were many times I had emailed her to change from the anesthesia department over to the occupational therapy department but I have not once received an email back from her. What I found most effective was talking to her in person before noon or after 3pm. Even though switching departments took 1.5 semesters, it was well worth it in the end. After bugging the volunteer coordinator for months and months, she finally told me to contact Michelle Zabala (coordinator of the OT department) and from there, I was able to get a spot as an OT volunteer.
Since Michelle replies to her email almost immediately, or at least a day after the email, the transition was very smooth.
One major difference between the anesthesia and the occupational therapy department was the hands on work you get with the health care providers. At the anesthesia department, we were assigned repetitive work of equipping medical carts during our shift. At the OT department, one is able to shadow an occupational therapist, help out with administrative work or calculate patient progression on excel. Between the two departments, what was expected from the volunteers differed in that anesthesia was very relaxed while OT was more on the go.
One advice I would give to individuals interested in the OT department is not to hesitate when asking to shadow an occupational therapist. The ones I have volunteered with were more than happy to help and I was able to get a lot of exposure and experience with it. Although some days may get boring, most shifts educated me and reaffirmed my passion for OT. I was
able to see the works of an occupational therapist and I have seen (from firsthand experience) the results of the therapy on the patient. I have never encountered a patient who did not let volunteers observed and I have not encountered an experience where patients were rude. The
staffs at the OT department are very nice and they will make you feel at home. Every experience was a valuable experience and I’m happy to report that I am glad to be volunteering in this department.
3rd Semester Student
I have been volunteering at Keck for the past four weeks in the Neuroscience ICU. My duty is to answer telephones at the nursing station. This is actually a really important and stressful job. All the nurses depend on you to relay messages about patient arrivals and departures, family requests, pages from other departments, and other information. The negatives of this department are that you don’t get a lot of patient or doctor interaction and the staff switches every week so you don’t get to know the staff very well. However, this a great job because you learn a lot of medical terminology from answering phone calls from other departments and listening to doctors go over patient charts at the nursing station. I would recommend this department to someone who is very comfortable communicating with doctors, nurses, and patients.
I have been volunteering at the 5W Cardiothoracic ICU for the past semester. My time at Keck has been good thus far because the hospital is very big on fostering the Trojan Family and volunteers are therefore made to feel welcome right from orientation. I am currently placed in the nurse’s station in the ICU. An advantage is that the it runs 24 hours which is good for someone with a busy schedule who might prefer to schedule later hours. The nurses on my floor are also really cool and funny once you get past the initial awkward phase. Unfortunately, ICU is not the place for you if you are looking for lots of patient experience or interaction with doctors. The floor is mostly run by the nurses and the patients require such high levels of care, that there isn’t much a volunteer can do. My responsibilities, therefore, are mostly administrative involving tasks like answering the phone. That doesn’t sound like much, and it can honestly get a little boring but it’s also pretty hectic because you really have to know what’s going on on the floor during the shift and be on top of things to avoid a lot of unnecessary back and forth with nurses. There is a lot of down time in the ICU and this can be used to foster relations with the nurses and learn about their different experiences in healthcare. There is also a degree of interaction with the patient families’ and this requires that one is especially sensitive because they are often rather emotionally stressed by having their family members in the ICU. This is good practice for interacting with patients and their families in the future. All in all, it wasn’t entirely what I expected when I signed on to volunteer but I have still gained a lot of experience and learned a lot.
I’ve been volunteering at Keck in the Anesthesiology Department for about two months. Our main volunteer duties involve assisting the Anesthesia techs with re-filling carts, pushing them into the operating rooms to set up for surgeries, and re-stocking supply rooms when new shipments come in. There is virtually no patient interaction and the work is very routine. However, I did get the chance to observe a surgery and a resident walked me through what the surgeons were doing. I work the late afternoon/early evening shift, and the later part of my shift tends to be slower with more opportunities to observe operations. Since we work on the OR floor, everyone is pretty stressed during busy hours. However, the anesthesia techs are generally friendly and really appreciative of volunteers. The site director is also helpful, although it may be difficult to get into contact with her over email sometimes. I’d recommend Keck if you’re looking for a site that’s easy to get to without a car (UPC-HSC tram is convenient) and well-organized.
I have been working at Keck Hospital for two semesters now in the anesthesiology department. There are both positives and negatives to working in this department. The positives are the shifts takes place on the surgical floor, meaning you get to observe the traffic of a surgical department, spend time inside operating rooms, and learn about the equipment/tools used by anesthesiologists. These abilities are all helpful and interesting if you are interested in surgery and/or anesthesiology (or maybe you will become interested after spending time here). Additionally the staff is very nice and will make an effort to remember your name and get to know you. The exception to this would be the attendants behind the front desk; they are not very fond of volunteers. Another positive is $7 to the cafeteria for every shift you work (what struggling college student does not love this?)! The negatives to working in this department are it is FULL of volunteers, especially on popular days like Friday afternoon. This means that a lot of your time is spent stocking supplies, which gets really old after a while. I would recommend maybe fitting your shift in on less popular days, like during the week. I imagine there will be more to do. Another negative is very little to no doctor contact. All the doctors are in the operating rooms and are too busy to talk. Most of your contact with staff will be with the surgical technicians. Also, you will not see patients; they will either not be awake or be in recovery. The last negative is the site coordinator is very difficult to get a hold of. She has a lot of volunteers to keep track of (Keck also has a high school volunteer program) and is not the best at answering the phone or emails.
Conclusively, I have enjoyed my time at Keck. I have had some great experiences and the staff is really great to work with.
I have been volunteering at Keck’s anesthesiology department for about 5 weeks now. Some of the tasks you may have to do are restocking carts, restocking supplies, and delivering supplies to rooms If you are looking to be kept busy during your entire shift, the anesthesiology department is for you. As an added bonus, the anesthesia techs who work in the department are some of the nicest people I have met. They are always willing to answer any questions you may have and are wiling to go out of their way to teach you new things. On my first day I was lucky enough to observe part of an open heart surgery. Most students will not be able to do something like that on their first day, but it just demonstrates how nice the staff is and gives you an idea of some of the amazing opportunities you will receive while volunteering in this department.
First Semester Student
For my first semester at THV, I volunteered at the Cystic Fibrosis clinic at Keck Hospital. The registration process for volunteering begins relatively quickly compared to other sites, but you might have to miss class to attend the orientation session which takes a few hours (I’ve heard that the make-up orientation is a lot quicker.) Before selecting the department you want to volunteer in, it’s a good idea to do a little research, but you are free to change departments later if you contact the director of volunteers. I started out at the Cystic Fibrosis department, which has no training involved and mostly administrative work with no contact with the patients. Though I had anticipated more hands-on and perhaps research experience, I enjoy the quiet atmosphere and the friendly staff. Volunteering there involves running errands, including restocking exam rooms, delivering prescriptions, and organizing paperwork. Doing these kinds of work teaches efficiency and organization. Although it is a great place, I’d recommend picking another department if you are expecting more hands-on work or interaction with patients.
I have been volunteering in Keck’s Anesthesia Department for two semesters and I really enjoy it. There is no clerical work, and your duties will expose you to lots of medical products used in surgery. I think the environment of Keck is nice for volunteering. It is a teaching hospital, so questions are welcomed and encouraged and many of the staff are happy to explain what they are doing and why they are doing it. However, the environment is relatively relaxed. You do not have any high responsibility obligations and as such the schedule is flexible and your shift probably won’t be stressful. This is a good place to volunteer for someone who wants exposure to the OR environment and the work that goes on behind the surgeries and cases, and for someone who wants a convenient and low stress volunteer commitment.
Volunteering at Keck is a great experience. Although I have only been working there for 4 weeks or so, I still have learned a lot and met a lot of people. I am in the anesthesiology ward on the 4th floor and I mostly restock the carts and supply bins there. It gets kind of tedious at times but if you make conversation with the others and ask them questions, they are more than willing to help you and show you how to do something. I usually ask people if there was anything I could help them with, and one time, an anesthesiologist brought me into the OR to show me the machines and taught me how they worked. It was a pretty cool experience! Everyone on the 4th floor, including the volunteers, wear scrubs – we rent them out each time and change into them, and return them when we leave. We also get a meal voucher for each volunteer visit, which we can use during our breaks. Overall, it has been an enjoyable experience, but hopefully I get to watch a surgery one day!
I am a second semester THV student and I currently volunteer at the Keck Medical Center. After working at Keck for two semesters, I still think that it is the most convenient location, since you can take the USC shuttle to the HSC campus. The shuttle itself is very convenient and easy to use. At Keck Medical Center I volunteer at one of the nursing units there. In the nursing care unit, the patients vary by age and sickness. If you are interested in seeing a variety of different patients, then a nursing care unit would be the most general place to see all of these different patients. Because I myself am more interested in administration and management, I mostly do clerical duties that the nurses need help with. The type of work I do there refilling isolation gowns, stocking the patient’s rooms with gowns, gloves, masks, etc. and finally refilling the patient’s charts with appropriate paper work. The overall working goes by pretty quickly and there is not much action day to day. If you are interested in a low-key volunteer position at a prestigious hospital, Keck Medical Center is a great place for you.
I have been doing my shifts at the USC University Hospital in the anesthesiology department. I was told that I would be mostly doing clerical work but actually I have been helping restock the anesthesiologists’ carts and changing these out with used ones from operating room. I also have gotten to speak with some anesthesiologists while working there. This has been great because I have gotten to hear about what the job is like directly from someone in the career and I could ask him or her questions about medical school and what I should be expecting. The hours are pretty flexible for anesthesiology because they have operations going until 10 PM so that has been a huge advantage over some departments, especially for students like me that have a really busy schedule. The people in this department are really nice and appreciate the help, which is what really makes working in this department great. Unfortunately, volunteers are not allowed to go into the operating rooms but maybe that will change by next semester, especially if a volunteer could establish a relationship with a surgeon then they could probably go in under his permission.
While volunteering at USC University Hospital, I was very pleased with the experiences so far. The one thing I really appreciated during the volunteer orientation was that you are able to choose which department you will volunteer in. During my volunteering shifts in the cardiac ICU (5 West), everyone took notice of me and asked what my plans were and why I was volunteering at the department. After listening to my answer, they automatically said who I should talk to and stick around to. If you want to have a pleasant experience and get a lot out of your volunteering shifts, don’t be afraid to speak up and say what you want to do or even ask someone who you should talk to. The Keck Center is a very nice site to volunteer at and it was convenient to know that the campus shuttle went to the Health Science Campus. If you choose this site, I’m sure you’ll be happy and you’ll look forward to your shifts.
This semester, I am volunteering at the University Hospital in the pharmacy administrative department. I mainly do clerical work during my shifts, which includes stamping drug invoices, distributing mail, filing, and organizing papers. Although office work is not ideal, I still find myself viewing this experience in a positive light. I’ve realized in the past few weeks that I am able to take away much more than I thought I could from simply doing clerical work. Organizing, stamping invoices, distributing mail, and filing are tasks that teach me how to be scrupulous and diligent; these are the skills that are required in any job field, especially pharmacy. When working directly with a drug, administering medication to a patient, or even signing a drug invoice, a pharmacist is required to be meticulous.
Aside from clerical work, I also have the opportunity to network and interact with pharmacists and technicians working in my department. During one shift, I directly asked one of the head pharmacists if there was anything I could help her with. I’m glad I did because she let me work inside the main pharmacy room. It was so exciting! My job was to remove all expired drugs from inside the refrigerators and then label the drugs that were about to expire in the next 3 months. During that time, I also had the opportunity to talk with a few pharmacists and technicians. My advice: network and interact with people working in your department; there’s always so much you can learn from the people around you.
I am currently volunteering at the Keck Medical Center. The good thing about volunteering at Keck Medical Center is that you can choose which department you are interested in. I wasn’t too sure which department I wanted, but I knew that I wanted to do more patient care than administrative work. The director of volunteers then suggested I volunteer in the orthopedic wing. The doctors, nurses, and administrators at the orthopedic wing were especially welcoming and are very friendly. Currently, I respond to the patients’ requests via the nurse call button over the phone. So far, that has been my main job. I also do some administrative work such as stamping, charting, and making copies of important documents. In addition, I run errands for the nurses and doctors. These errands mainly consist of taking samples down to the lab and minimal patient assistance. I am hoping to do more hands-on work that mainly involves patient interactions in the near future. All in all, I enjoy volunteering at the orthopedic wing at the Keck Medical Center. The ambiance here is uplifting and very pleasant.
During my time at USC University Hospital, I volunteered in the orthopedic section on 6 North. My duties included answering the phones, telling the nurses and nurse aids if patients needed attention, and assisting the secretary of the unit with various administrative tasks. Overall, there was not too much hands-on experience or patient interaction because as volunteers, we are limited in our knowledge, and therefore limited in what we can do. My floor particularly held the orthopedic patients who would primarily either stay in their rooms or walk around with the physical therapist on the floor. My tasks were mainly clerical.
Some benefits of volunteering at USC UH was that after every four hours of volunteering, we receive a meal pass to redeem at the cafeteria, which is simply a nice benefit and should not be the reason to volunteer there. It is just the hospital’s way of appreciating volunteers, and I greatly appreciated the free meals. Additionally I liked that the tram could take me from UPC to HSC, so transportation was never an issue and was in fact very convenient.
If you would like to volunteer at USC University Hospital, I think it is very important to keep in mind the position you have and the amount of knowledge you have compared to the nurses and doctors. We are still just volunteers, so it is important to enjoy the experience and opportunity you have to simply be in the hospital as an observer. The environment of a hospital is very unique and cannot be imitated elsewhere, so it is really important to not focus so much on the tasks that we can and cannot do as volunteers but also the experience of being in the health care environment, especially if you want to go into the health care field.
Overall, it was a valuable experience, and I really enjoyed it.
I volunteer at the Keck Hospital of USC in the anesthesiology department and I enjoy my time here. During a typical day, I spend 4 hours restocking the carts the anesthesiologists use during surgeries or help the anesthesiology technicians with whatever they need help with. There are several things I like about volunteering in the anesthesiology department. First of all, the anesthesiology technicians are very kind and want to build a relationship with the volunteers. They answer all the questions I have about the hospital or medicine in general. A lot of them also have very interesting stories to tell so talking with them makes volunteering much more fun and the four hours pass by quickly. In addition, although I have not yet done so, volunteers in this department get the chance of watching surgeries. I am excited to see the surgeries, particularly because I get to see the anesthesiologists use the carts that I helped set up, so I feel like I am playing a small part in helping the surgeons. One thing I dislike about this department is that I do not get to see physician and patient interaction. However, I know that this health site has several different departments so there are other things volunteers can help with. Something I didn’t like about this health site is that the volunteer coordinator is hard to reach and I had to spend a month calling and making several visits for background/health screenings, talking with the director, and etc. before actually beginning to volunteer. But, overall I think Keck Hospital of USC is a great place to volunteer because it offers a variety of departments volunteers can help out at and volunteers also get a free meal!
I volunteered at anesthegiology dept at USC UH. The anesthegiology techs were really nice and taught me something new every time I went. On mroe relaxed days, they also took me into an operating room so I got to see some fascinating surgeries.
However, I did not get to actually start volunteering until mid October, even though I went to the very first orientation. This is because everything is so disorganized, and UH does not have a structured volunteering system. It is very hard to get in touch with the coordinator, and that was my main problem. It can get very frustrating, so if you would like to volunteer early, I would recommend volunteering somewhere else.
I interacted with zero patients during my six months in the psych department, but I still learned a great deal. I mostly dealt with creating and organizing a new filing system for all their patient records. It was definitely interesting to see the more administrative side of patient care. I think they may deserve even more recognition and admiration than the doctors because they deal with everything from scheduling to billing to privacy and federal issues. They definitely appreciated what I did for them, even though at times I may not have fully appreciated the opportunity I had. But now I know when I’m a doctor, I definitely won’t overlook any of the staff, whether it’s a part-time receptionist or even the guy who comes in to fix the copy machine. I learned that every single person involved in health care is crucial and that the field is in dire need of more hands.
I have been volunteering at the 5W ICU at the nurses’ station for almost nine months now and I can say my time has been nothing but rewarding. I have written previously about how the unit works and the responsibilities as a volunteer and will therefore focus on a few tips to ensure you are getting the most out of your time at this unit. The most important thing I have learned from my time here is the importance of building solid relationships with the staff around you. The nurses are all really easy going but you have to make the effort to introduce yourself and be proactive about building a relationship with them. This can be somewhat intimidating given how busy they are but once you do you begin to reap the benefits. The fastest way is to learn all the nurses’ names (the doctors too, although they are more in and out) as soon as you can. This shows your initiative about working in the unit and is also practically helpful when it comes to answering calls. Because there is only one of you trying to get to know nearly twenty of them (the nurses at least), it might be beneficial to identify one or two nurses to start talking to and getting to know and this will ease the transition into the rest of the group. In trying to be friendly, do not forget to be respectful at all times. Do not mistake their friendliness as an excuse to cross certain lines. The nurses here really value respect. Answering calls can seem trivial but you will soon learn that it is actually quite stressful if you are unprepared. Be alert and take it upon yourself to learn as much about what is happening in the unit as soon as you arrive for shift. This way, you become a resource to others and not a burden. The unit is very collaborative therefore you must be attentive to the needs of the staff around you, as well as the patient families whom you will interact with a lot, and always be prepared to help. Additionally, be consistent. Show up for shift when you are supposed to, do not leave early or sit in a corner texting (although it might get tempting on a particularly slow day), prove to the staff that you are reliable and dependable and you will gain their trust and learn the most from them. Of course this is only what works for me. Find what works for you and identify ways you can be most useful to the unit.
2nd Semester Student