Testimonials

Here you can find testimonials from students who have done THV. They include their intentions for joining the program and what they were able to gain through the experience.

Testimonials:

While I have not yet started volunteering at Keck Medical Center, being a part of THV has already been a great learning process. One of the biggest things I learned this semester from THV was time management. The beginning of the semester was extremely hectic, but being a part of this organization has taught me how to balance my class schedule and school work, Greek life, and time for other clubs. THV has made me better at managing my time in order for me to finish the RQs, site journals, as well as make time to travel to Keck in order to finish the screening process before volunteering.

My favorite part of THV has been the reflection questions as I loved being able to connect the questions to my topics learned in class as well as for future use in volunteering. The RQs definitely made me think of aspects of volunteering that I had never thought of before. For example, researching the background of the populations surrounding Keck and the most common illnesses in this area made me more aware of the people I would be serving. Before, I had never given much thought to the people who came to Keck for care, but now my awareness allows me to better cater to the needs of the population. In addition, the discussions were thought-provoking and I loved how they allowed us to further expand on the RQs. It was interesting to see other THV volunteers views on a topic and see how they related it to their volunteer site. Overall, THV has already made a positive impact in my time here at USC and I cannot wait to become more involved and begin volunteering.

First Semester Student 

Fall 2016

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I volunteered at Keck this semester in the anesthesiology department. Overall, it was a very giving experience that I would most definitely recommend. My typical shift consisted of retrieving carts from the operating rooms, restocking the carts, and bringing them back to the operating rooms. Throughout my time there, I learned an extreme amount. I learned facts about the operating rooms, anesthesia products, and what it takes to run a surgery. Towards the end of my time this semester at Keck, I was allowed to take on bigger responsibilities. I took anesthesia devices into live operations, set up breathing circuits on the anesthesia machines, and set up IVs that would be used during the operations.

Everyone working on the operating room floor was extremely encouraging and kind. While walking around the operating room hallways, everyone asked how I was, learned my name, and thanked me for volunteering. I even had an OR tech teaching me a little bit of Spanish every week when he ran into me.

I would definitely recommend volunteering at Keck in the anesthesiology department. As a volunteer, that is the closest you are ever going to get to being in an operating room. It was very cool to see how the operating floor of a hospital works and everything that goes into making it function efficiently and effectively.

First Semester Student

Fall 2016

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THV Testimonial
Although the process of getting into the COPE Program was definitely more stressful

than one might think in pursuing a volunteer position, the benefits are highly rewarding. I have not yet had any major learning experiences, but the past few weeks have taught me to strengthen many life skills and opened new perspectives and connections for me. For example, the interview process was very professional and similar to an interview one might expect for a job, and the training process was extensive and even included a written and practical exam. The course wasn’t designed to fail people however, it was simply to weed out those who were unable to grasp crucial concepts and understand a type of common sense needed in the hospitals. In addition, being organized, communicative, and time managing are important in planning and rescheduling shifts, being punctual, and making deadlines in this program.

Another rewarding benefit comes from the amount of leaders and peers I’ve met so far. There are people who have been through undergrad as well as those who are close to finishing their undergrad, and so I was able to talk to a lot of people about their career goals and where their interests and priorities are. I’ve received a lot of school and life advice from mentors and program leaders, and the nurses on the shifts are also very encouraging and wise. In addition, this program is very hands-on, and allows for many opportunities for a Health Scholar to personally observe different procedures, find a doctor or surgeon to shadow, take initiative on the floor, connect with patients, help nurses with various tasks that aren’t covered in training, and to expand from being a volunteer into taking a leadership role or Department Coordinator role. Also, because the program works in rotations of every three months, Health Scholars who complete the minimal hour requirement are allowed to choose other departments to work in, such as ICU, Med Surge, ED, and Mother and Baby.

Overall, thanks to THV, I discovered the COPE Program and am now heavily invested into what I do with this program. It takes 280 hours to graduate, and with a minimum of a four- hour shift once a week, this experience will be an integral part of my life for at least another three semesters. Even better, after graduating from the program, I can continue being involved in working at least one shift per month or taking up leadership positions in training new volunteers and managing different Health Scholars in a specific department.

First Semester Student

Fall 2016

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Trojan Health Volunteers is more than a program to join if you want to get involved in volunteering. It is a program that also introduces pre-health students to the existing and emerging topics and controversies occurring in the medical field. For example, this semester we got the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues in the news regarding healthcare. Such topics included discussion of our complex healthcare system, and the role of insurance companies and third parties involved. Other topics included the recent spike in EpiPen prices. My favorite discussion was the one where we discussion the 2016 candidates’ stance on several health issues. This was one of the more helpful times to be part of THV because I wasn’t really clear on how either of our potential future presidents stood on healthcare.

THV also promotes interactions with professionals in the healthcare field by putting together events, where guest speakers come in to speak to us about the work they are doing to advance medicine. This semester I had the opportunity to meet Ragy Saad, who works for a company called Doctor Evidence. He taught about evidence-based medicine, which is a term I had never heard before though it is an important concept to know when diagnosing and treating patients. I learned a great deal of new information from this event, such as how important it is to use the research published on the disease or the drug treatment to solidify the doctor’s prognosis. This would help decrease mistrust amongst medical professionals and patients because it is one thing to predict outcomes, but it is another to back it up clearly with published data.

All in all, THV is one of the multifaceted clubs on USC that helps pre-health students gain clinical exposure, and connect with the real-world medical field by staying updated with the recent medical advancements, and health issues.

Third Semester Student

Fall 2016

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In my two semester with THV, the organization has given me the opportunity to not only experience the healthcare setting but also all the work that occurs behind the scenes. The most impactful learning experience has been getting to know the patients, learning about their trials and aspirations. On a weekly basis I got to meet different children and parents and offer them some kind of support. It has been meaningful to see how small actions, like coloring with a child, can make such a difference. It has also been instrumental in opening my eyes to harsh realities of the world. USC creates a bubble that often cuts out real life. It is important to break down this barrier and explore actuality. This is especially important if you desire to go into the realm of healthcare. It is extremely important to be aware of the cultures and kinds of people that you desire to help. This knowledge can only come from stepping out into the real world. THV has been especially useful in that sense. It allows students to go into actual hospital to experience the myriad of people in the world. For example, in my time working at OIC I have interacted with people of all backgrounds, each of them exposing me to new ideals and customs.

Second Semester Student

Fall 2016

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THV involves much more than simply volunteering at a healthcare facility, but includes many more elements to serve to enrich my experience. Initially, placement into a volunteering site was done efficiently through a lottery system and the applications for each site were subsequently distributed.

Apart from the volunteering opportunities that THV offers, the discussions were invaluable to a pre-health student like me. The topics we talked about included cultural competency, structural competency, pharmaceutical pricing, and others that students rarely get a chance to discuss pre-health classes. Every other week, the topics were insightful and relevant to current events and taught students how to critically analyze health issues, whether they be political, institutional or scientific. The discussions provide a great way for students to expand their healthcare repertoire beyond the usual anatomy, physiology and the subjects required on the MCAT. After the discussions, my perspective when volunteering at my healthcare site shifted and I became more sensitive in noticing elements like competency and demographics of my hospital.

The essay topics assigned requires students to synthesize information from their own volunteering experience to key healthcare issues, which encourage the students to seek out information and experiences regarding the context of the assignment. Furthermore, the site journals build a repertoire of meaningful interactions that students can draw upon in time for their personal statements during application season to professional schools.

Second Semester Student

Fall 2016

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THV has had a profound experience in my undergraduate career. I never thought I would learn so much about the healthcare field from volunteering. During my time at USC Norris Cancer Center, I have been placed in three departments. Volunteering in each department gave me different and unique experiences. Consequently, I learned new things in each department. The first department I volunteered was in the Gastrointestinal department. From my time in this department, I learned how to transport patients using wheelchairs and make beds. From my time volunteering in the Admitting Office, the second department, I learned how to effectively communicate with people and how to provide great customer satisfaction. From my time volunteering in the clinical pathology department, the third department, I learned how to manage my time better when I have a lot of tasks to accomplish. However, not only did I learn about things related to taking action, I also learned valuable information about the medical field from volunteering and from THV discussions. For example, I learned about the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) code book that is used by medical practitioners as a diagnostic rule for patients during one of my volunteering shifts. However, the majority of my newfound knowledge of the healthcare field is attributed to the THV discussions. The diversity of topics, ranging from voluntourism to structural competency, and breadth of group discussion of these topics has given me a great understanding of many aspects of the health care field and more importantly, has made me prepared to tackle a career in this fluctuating field.

Third Semester Student 

Fall 2016

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As a second-semester volunteer and third-semester member of THV, I have certainly learned many valuable lessons from this program. Over the past three semesters, I have become more well-versed in a variety of healthcare issues facing the medical field and nation at large. At the same time, I have had the opportunity to witness certain issues coming to the fore onsite. Although I am still relatively ignorant and inexperienced, I believe that THV has enhanced my knowledge of healthcare and medical ethics, while helping me to build the foundation required for a future in the field.

Due to scheduling conflicts, I unfortunately have not been able to attend any discussions this semester. However, several salient discussion topics and reflective questions from previous semesters have influenced my view of healthcare. In my first semester with THV, I was appalled by the large number of uninsured residents in the Metro LA region where Good Samaritan Hospital is located. One of Good Samaritan’s most attractive qualities is its willingness to accept all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. As a volunteer, I have discharged many homeless patients from the hospital, many of whom lacked adequate insurance. Although the hospital was forced to swallow the costs of their care, physicians and staffers ultimately acknowledged patients’ universal right to healthcare.

THV also taught me about the “Iron Triangle” of healthcare, which I now recognize as a governing principle of healthcare economics. Unfortunately, many penurious residents of Metro LA cannot afford quality care, resulting in subpar or nonexistent insurance, (even after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act). While Good Samaritan ostensibly delivers quality patient care, it also cannot afford the top-notch equipment and resources that are mainstays at most for-profit hospitals. Ultimately, through discussions underscoring these topics, coupled with volunteering experiences at Good Samaritan Hospital, I have gained insight into the intricate and disparate world of healthcare in America.

Third Semester Student 

Fall 2016

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When I first joined THV, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into. After learning about the requirements, they seemed a bit too extensive. Why did I need to write site journals and responses to reflective questions and attend discussions every two weeks? I had enough on my plate already, being the overly busy pre-health student that most of us are. I was volunteering to gain clinical exposure, because I knew I would have to put it on my application. Wasn’t that enough without all the extra THV requirements?

Over my four semesters with THV, I have come to appreciate the advantages that volunteering with THV has given me over volunteering on my own. First, THV can help you get in contact with and stay in contact with the volunteer coordinators at a variety of sites. When a volunteer coordinator was unresponsive to my emails, the THV team was able to reach out and help me get the answers that I needed. Second, the discussion topics and reflective questions are great tools to make you think more critically about the healthcare system and also your time in the hospital. For example, after a discussion about cultural competency, I paid more attention to how the nurses and doctors interacted with patients that spoke different languages during my volunteer shift. And lastly, making connections with the THV team and the other volunteers has helped me expand my network and learn about pre-health opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise have.

Overall, I feel like my interactions with the THV team and other THVers challenged me to be a more active volunteer than I would have been if I had volunteered independently. I was able to draw on past site journals when writing my personal statement and have brought up things I learned in discussions in some of my interviews. I think THV has really helped me develop personally and professionally and I hope you will consider joining!

Third Semester Student

Fall 2016

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Being a part of Trojan Health Volunteers was an integral part of my clinical experiences at USC. I joined during the spring of my sophomore year, and I was assigned to a site—the Orthopaedic Institute for Children—at which I still volunteer, 4 semesters later. Every week, I am constantly reminded of my goal to pursue healthcare and the rewarding career that awaits me. I was able to shadow physicians in the Urgent Care and see many cases, share many happy—and challenging—experiences with patients, and better understand the nuanced process of diagnosis and treatment. Beyond all that I’ve learned about medicine, healthcare, and patients at my site, the THV program really allowed me to collect my thoughts about my experiences and build the passion I have for helping others. In discussions and reflective journals, intriguing questions really pushed me to draw meaningful thoughts about my site experiences and contemplate how I could help patients in the future. I remember learning about physician advocacy and attending an event with a speaker who works at a mobile clinic as a primary care physician for patients without health insurance. These experiences inspired me in recognizing my future capacity to give back to underserved communities with healthcare resources and advocating for preventative care policies. It was fascinating to consider many conflicting issues in medicine based on our logic, reasoning, and experiences as pre-health students. THV, in reflecting on the complete, multifaceted aspects on medicine, played an important role in my decision to pursue medicine.

Third Semester Student

Fall 2016

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As a third semester THV student, I can confidently say that THV has had a great impact on my pre-health career. What I enjoy most about THV is that it provides students with the opportunity to explore medicine and healthcare in a holistic sense, through our time at site, site journals, reflective questions, and discussions. In my opinion, each of these activities provides students with the unique opportunity of thinking and engaging with medicine from different perspectives. Personally, some of the best learning experiences for me were the discussion sessions regarding medical tourism and monopolistic drug pricing, simply because they forced me to think about critical issues in the healthcare field, that I otherwise would not have paid attention to. In a similar vein, I found site journals to be particularly helpful because they allowed me to spend time reflecting on my experiences at site each week, and really think about the meaningfulness of my work at the Children’s Hospital. As a bonus, this reflection time and record of my experiences proved handy when applying for summer programs and internships. Most importantly, my experiences at site have been the biggest learning experiences in and of themselves. Working at CHLA has given me the opportunity to experience the hospital work environment, witness the impact of a good doctor-patient relationship, and build strong connections with healthcare professionals. Working at any of the THV sites provides students with the invaluable chance to engage with diverse communities and gain awareness and perspective that is otherwise hard to come across. After completing my third semester with THV, I highly recommend this program to any pre-health students looking to gain experience in a clinical setting.

Third Semester Student

Fall 2016

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Volunteering at South Central Family Health Center through THV was an invaluable learning experience in that I had the opportunity to witness and be a part of health care from different angels. On the one hand, I helped out with EHR (Electronic Health Records) and saw first hand the implementation of an entirely new coding system, ICD10. From the technical side I learned the basics of how technology intersects with medicine in the modern world. On the other hand, by shadowing several providers I got a sense of what it’s like to work directly with patients in an intimate clinical setting. Not only was I given the chance to interact with patients, I also got to see a few small procedures. I learned a lot about reproductive health in both adolescents and older adults as well as how socioeconomic status affects an individual’s overall health. Volunteering in a lower income neighborhood really opened my eyes to the specific risks those in the area are exposed to such as teenage pregnancy, high rates of STDs, and diabetes due to food deserts. Overall my THV experience provided me with great exposure to the medical field from both technical and patient oriented sides.

First Semester Student
Fall 2015

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THV has been one of my favorite experiences at USC thus far. The biggest take-away that I have from THV is that is has encouraged me to stray away from being, what I like to call, a “resume slapper”. Resume slappers are those that do things for the sole purpose of bettering their application. Although our academics are important, it is crucial to understand that we are more than our GPA or our MCAT scores. We are students who can take ~2 hours of our week to discuss medical ethics, technology, humanity, and other pertinent issues.

I think the best physicians and health care providers are those that have genuinely and passionately internalized all of their experiences.  THV reminded me the importance of being aware of what’s going on in the world around me. I now make more of a conscious effort to read news articles, journals, and watch news articles. The world is constantly changing and progressing and the people in the health field need to be able to keep up with new technology and new medicine in order to efficiently and progressively provide adequate healthcare.

I was so incredibly impressed by my peers and their insight during THV discussions.  I felt like all of our pre-med egos were left outside of THH 212 and we were able to listen to each other talk about more than our GPAs. It was so uplifting to know that most of us wholeheartedly agreed with each other about many pertinent health issues.  The activities were fun, thought provoking, and I learned that many of my pre-health peers have a talent for acting. Although the RQ essays seemed initially daunting and time consuming, I eventually came to be much more appreciative of the fact that they were intended to give us an opportunity to articulate our experiences and opinions. It is refreshing and comforting to know that the people on the other end reading and grading our papers are not maliciously out to flunk us and destroy our medical careers. THV squad (Kirsten, Beau, and Angela) are funny, charismatic, passionate, and genuinely value every effort put forth by their THV students.

THV taught me the importance of knowing how to effectively work with people: administrators, patients, colleagues, doctors, students, professors, etc. I am so grateful that THV really embodies the concept of service learning. It gave me the chance to apply what I have learned in class to positively contribute and make a difference in my community, specifically on site through volunteering. I loved it, and I am so excited to keep with it next semester.

First Semester Student
Fall 2015

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There is an urgent need for social transformation in within the Trojan community. In my opinion, a meaningful college experience highlights volunteerism in all forms. Throughout my time at USC, I have noticed a distinct lack in conversation about helping the populations surrounding USC. I think it is important to enlighten and transform the social climate regarding volunteerism.

One of the most important learning opportunities as a Trojan Health Volunteer is through direct communication with patients. A reason that I am considering a career in health care is to interact with patients. There is a growing amount of research that suggests that when patients become proponents of their health care, they are more inclined and motivated to take on responsibility for managing their own health. When that happens, the results are superior outcomes for the patient. Fostering a relationship with patients remains the keystone of health care. As a Trojan Health Volunteer, I would encourage patients to advocates of their own health care by making them feel empowered. Patients who are empowered are can communicate changes and observations that can make a significant difference in their medical care. Trojan Health Volunteers is an underutilized resource for all Pre-Health students. It is an amazing opportunity to experience first hand the healthcare enterprise.

First Semester Student
Fall 2015

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You learn a lot in THV. I think that everything we have discussed in THV, some of which include Obama care, cultural competency and community health are all important. The passage of Obama care has brought so many new people into the health care system who were previously uninsured. This also bring light to the issue of how expensive health care is and that we need a more efficient and cost effective way of treating people.

I’ve learned that medicine is very hierarchical which helps facilitate the division of labor. But, the mutual respect between a doctor and a nurse is very important.  I was advised once to always be nice to nurses because they are the ones that have your back. You have to work as a team to get the best results for your patient.

Community health is important because it is specialized to treat the people around the area. Communities that are poorer tend to have more health problems because they less educated. They also have less time to take care of themselves and eat healthy because they work full time shifts to support their family.

I believe all health care workers should be culturally competent. . We all come from different backgrounds and had different cultural experiences. If we are not knowledgeable of what others consider respectful, we might accidently offend them. For example, in Asian culture it is disrespectful to make eye contact. So if a doctor is speaking to them, let’s say explaining a procedure, while making eye contact, the patient may find him rude. Eye contact is confrontational to them.

First Semester Student
Fall 2015

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There are two great benefits of being in THV—learning about health-related issues and volunteering at a local hospital. The bi-weekly discussions and reflective questions provide an opportunity to explore our community by actively researching on its socio-economic backgrounds and to learn about current health issues. In regards to learning health issues, discussing about issues such as voluntourism with peers, reading articles and watching related videos really gave me an insight to what is going on in the health field in general. However, although discussions and reflective essays taught me a lot, volunteering was the most influential experience I gained from THV.

The most important thing I learned from volunteering at Norris Cancer Hospital was social and emotional competencies. When I had to talk to the patients while I was wheeling them to the valet area, I could overcome my shyness and be more active in communicating with the patients. I tried to understand what they are going through and let them know that I am here to support them. By connecting to patients emotionally even in a very subtle way, I could provide a pleasurable ride to valet area for the patients. In regards to the culture, I used to have trouble trying to talk to patients because I am not used to hospital culture in the U.S. (I am from abroad). Because I was afraid that I might be rude due to a lack of cultural knowledge, I was silent during the first and second volunteering week. But I found out that smiling and open-mindedness are all I have to have to please the patients and have a wonderful conversation with them. This learning experience was priceless and I would love to continue volunteering through THV.

First Semester Student
Fall 2015

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My experience in THV has been very valuable, both, on site in the hospital, and in the classroom participating in the provided learning opportunities. The volunteer clearance process at the hospital was very smooth with THV’s facilitation, and I was able to spend much of my semester volunteering. I found it extremely interesting to be able to connect the ideas we wrote about in our THV essays and learned about in discussion with my actual experiences in the hospital. I was able to take the information I learned about our public health care system and current health care issues to better understand the situations I observed. I entered my volunteer shifts with a more holistic understanding of the crowded ER rooms, the patient base, and the busy nurses. Then I was able to apply my observations and experiences to form my own opinions and views about these systemic issues, and ways those issues may be mitigated. My experiences on site in the hospital were also very fulfilling because I was able to provide a service to those in need, ease the work load of busy nurses, and learn a lot about the hospital and our community. I have interacted with a lot people in our community who I would not have had the opportunity to otherwise meet.

First Semester Student
Fall 2015

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I found out about THV while searching online for a hospital volunteering opportunity in the Los Angeles area. I had not known about THV on campus before then, but there was no harm in applying, so I did and I attended the first meeting. At first, when I found out about all of the requirements and how I would actually be graded for everything, I almost dropped out because I thought it was way too much for an extracurricular activity. I decided to stay to be assigned to a site, since being in THV gave me some connections in getting experience in a hospital or clinic. The resources that THV made available were definitely useful and valuable to someone like me, who has had no previous experience working in a hospital setting. The part I like most about THV is the bi-weekly discussion section. The health topics that are discussed are not only very relevant but also simply interesting. The discussion section allows you to get to know more people who share your interests in healthcare and discuss controversial health topics that help to widen your perspective on health. The reflective questions also helped me learn about my site and the population that it serves even before I started volunteering, so it made me more competent and aware of the surroundings. Overall, THV has definitely been worth the time and effort and I’m glad to have stayed.

First Semester Student
Fall 2015

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The most impactful learning experience I had at THV was not what I thought it would be. I originally thought that the greatest thing that I would get out of this program was gaining more knowledge and viewpoints about the medical field. However, I have procured something far more precious, something that you can’t simply learn in a classroom and expect to execute it properly. It is something you have to realize yourself and practice with yourself. That is, the execution of your emotional intelligence. By utilizing this tool, you can effectively develop a positive self-presence to others and create a gracious atmosphere. For example, one time an old man started to talk to me about his struggle with cancer. Initially, I wasn’t sure what I should have done. However, I listened to the tone of his voice and read his eyes. I used my emotional intelligence to deduce that instead of commenting, I should just listen to his story. That was the best thing I could have done for him. Furthermore, I learned to interact with patients more. Just by asking them how their day was can bring a smile to their faces. Additionally, whenever a patient is in their bed, I have learned not to linger around them. This typically makes them more comfortable, as they want as much space and privacy as possible during their stay at the hospital. How did I learn this? Using my emotional intelligence, I extended my self awareness and became aware of the environment, and I put myself in the patient shoes. I would be more comfortable if I had more privacy as a patient. Learning how to use your emotional intelligence is a stepping stone to customer satisfaction and can positively promote your presence and purpose to others.

First Semester Student
Fall 2015

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After my first semester with THV, I can honestly say that I found it to be a valuable experience. What I appreciated most about THV was the way in which the program streamlines the process for obtaining a volunteer position.  Having had previous experiences with hospital volunteering, I know that the process for getting your foot in the through the door can be rather long and drawn out. THV did a great job of consolidating that process by pre-establishing the necessary connections with clinics and hospitals so that we as students didn’t have to deal with the hassle of applications and paperwork and clearances. By going through THV, I was able to get started at my assignment in CHLA much sooner than if I had tried to apply for a volunteer position independently.

In addition to the volunteering aspect, THV did a great job of ensuring that the volunteers were up to speed about various healthcare related topics, which I think is something that is often neglected by many students. To be honest, I was initially skeptical about the value of such activities as mandatory discussion and reflective questions. But after completing my first semester with THV, I can honestly say that I really appreciated engaging in those activities. I felt that both the discussions as well as the RQ’s really forced me to gain perspective on various issues related to health care and current events. Overall, I think that THV was a very well rounded experience. Not only did I feel like I was getting the connections necessary to obtain a volunteer/research position, but I really felt as though I was engaging with different aspects of medicine besides just clinical experience. Based on my experience this semester, I look forward to continuing with THV in the semesters to come!

First Semester Student
Fall 2015

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Trojan Health Volunteers (THV) has offered me the opportunity to volunteer in one of the best clinical programs offered to aspiring healthcare professional students.  Being a clinical care extender intern at St. Francis Medical Center has allowed me to observe all different aspects of the hospital including medical/surgery, intensive care unit, emergency room, perioperative care, and surgery departments.  It has allowed me to shadow and observe the whole medical team dynamic, as I have been able to learn from certified nurse assistants, registered nurses, physician’s assistants, and even physicians.  The volunteer program here has allowed me to do things that a majority of hospitals would not allow volunteers to do such as obtain vital signs (including blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature, and pulse oximetry), clean/bathe patients, retrieve and deliver food and medical supplies for patients, observe surgeries, or even assist in procedures like splinting patients.

Another aspect that sets THV apart from any other clinical volunteering experience is that THV provides a forum for sharing our experiences with other aspiring healthcare professional students.  Other standalone programs may also provide students with great clinical experiences, but they do not offer this platform for sharing and building upon each others’ experiences.  In addition, THV brings up relevant issues in healthcare such as advancing technology, ethics, and laws.  These are very relevant issues that many aspiring healthcare professional students are not aware of, as often times students are so caught up in school and extracurricular that they do not pay attention to issues happening around them.  THV is a  great program that really offers students a worthwhile, invaluable experience.

Second Semester Student
Fall 2015

I am a junior and have been a part of THV for a year now and I can honestly say that it has been one of the most rewarding experiences that I have had the privilege of being a part of while attending USC. Going into THV I already knew that I wanted to have a career in the medical field, which is of course why I decided to join, but having now joined I would say that my experience has validated my choice thus far. Being in a hospital environment and being able to experience the fast pace routine that goes on is extremely end-opening. The most rewarding part of it all would have to be the patient interaction that I was able to get. Seeing how I can help people just as a volunteer makes me want to do more and most importantly the experience as a whole makes me so much more excited to become a doctor and begin my career.

Being a volunteer has taught me a little more of what it actually takes to become a doctor and from my experience I would say that is patience and understanding. All of the doctors and nurses I have come across have genuinely cared about their patients and have told me that is what really makes their job most rewarding. I honestly believe that without THV I would not have some of the experience that I now have and I would not be as certain as I am about my career choice. THV has greatly impacted my educational and career endeavors and I look forward to continue my last year of undergrad with them.

Second Semester Student
Fall 2015

I have wanted to become a doctor since high school; however, it was not until this year that I realized it takes so much more internal passion for the profession to endure sleepless nights, a never-ending midterm season, bi-monthly break-downs, and strict lab TA’s to really want to become a doctor. THV instantly integrated me into the medical setting. I will never forget the terror I felt on my first day when I was asked to call Spanish-speaking patients to confirm their appointments. However, medical students are often given tasks in subject areas they may not be confidently well versed in, but, attempting such tasks and learning from somewhat expected failure is how a medical student evolves into an experienced doctor. That was one of my first lessons THV lessons. As a result, I transitioned from someone who hung up on the first patient I ever called when he answered with, “Si? Quien está?” to a volunteer rescheduling and confirming appointments in Spanish over the course of a semester.

In addition to learning from pure exposure, THV discussions also taught me that being a physician is so much more than alleviating one’s aliments. Rather it is doing so while respecting the personalized customs and beliefs of a vast and diverse patient population. Through THV, we were given challenging hypothetical scenarios in which we would act as doctors. This role-play mechanism of learning not only altered my view on the challenges of what is means to be a doctor, but also furthered my appreciation for the humanity of the field.

Moral of the story, join THV. It significantly shaped who I am and who I want to be.

Second Semester Student
Fall 2015

As an intern at Metro Health Station through the THV program, I have been able to meet with people of different backgrounds and lifestyles. One of the patients whose story has resonated with me is a lady who participates in the Healthy Lifestyle Class that I help with. For the purpose of this essay, I will call her Ms. Anderson.  The first time that I met her in the class, she appeared to be very shy. However, over time, she opened up and shared parts of her life with the class. One thing that I found interesting about her was that she had not drank water in about three to five years. During the class, Ms. Anderson then mentioned that she drank only soda and the reason that she did not drink water was that she found the taste to be unfavorable. We then spoke in the class about the importance of drinking water and the quite severe consequences of not drinking it.

Another large part of Ms. Anderson’s life is the fact that she was a recovering addict and had been sober for a few years now. It was very powering to hear her story and how hard she had been working to stay sober. It was also quite sad to hear about how her addiction had severely impacted her life as well as the lives of her children. During our class about stress, she shared that a large part of her stress is trying to make up for the forty years that she had been an addict. I could not imagine how hard it was to go through recovery- both from addiction and from addiction’s effects. I was happy, however, to hear about how much of an active role that she had in her children and grandchildren’s lives. You could that though she said that she often got stressed out trying to be there for all her family members, they were her joy. I was very humbled that she chose to share her story with us during the class and her story has definitely been the most memorable for me during my whole time as a THV volunteer.

Third Semester Student
Fall 2015

Through my experiences volunteering at California Hospital so far, I feel that I have had the opportunity to learn a great deal about how the hospital runs and the kind of daily work that medical professionals do.

I think the site that I worked at has given me a much more informed perspective on health care in underprivileged communities, since many of the patients who come into the hospital are not very well-off. I think that this aspect of learning was definitely aided by the THV discussions and reflective questions that I did during my first and second semester volunteering, because it encouraged me to research the neighborhood that my hospital served and learn more about the demographics of the patients. In addition, many of them did not speak English well, so it was definitely a learning experience for me to learn how to communicate with them through my broken Spanish.

One of the most impactful experiences I had was escorting a blind patient to the cafeteria to get food. She was so friendly and outgoing, and extremely open about her experience being blind for the past several years. It was inspiring to see how positive she was about what had happened to her and it really made me think about the little things I take for granted. Another experience I will never forget was the first time a patient yelled at me, telling me that the doctors were trying to kill her and that she didn’t trust them or the nurses. I was completely bewildered, but I think I learned a lot from that experience about how to keep calm and communicate effectively with a patient who was clearly panicking. I imagine that health professionals must have to deal with panicking patients and family all the time, though perhaps not to this extent, and being able to communicate what is wrong with a patient and what is being done to help them in a clear and supportive way is a such an important skill to develop.

Third Semester Student
Fall 2015