For my major service project, I chose to devote my time to the Wexner Medical Center right here on campus. Both during the fall semester and during the spring semester, I served weekly two-hour shifts assisting the staff at the hospital. In the fall, I spent my time working on Dodd 4, the stroke and rehabilitation floor. There, I assisted the nursing staff by helping to stock patient rooms with fresh linens, restock the fridge with orders from over the weekend, and ultimately carry out any miscellaneous tasks that needed to be taken care of. In the spring, I volunteered my time on 11E Doan at University Hospital, the geriatric floor. There I again helped stock patient rooms with fresh linens, but I also helped with discharges, preparing patient rooms for new arrivals, and helping to restock gloves and empty sharps containers.
As a result of this experience, I not only helped the thousands of patients the medical center sees every year, I also learned a lot about myself. First semester, my shift was on Monday mornings from 6:30AM – 8:30AM. The first couple of weeks, I showed up to volunteer extremely tired and out of it, because I simply did not realize how much I dislike waking up early. However, after my short adjustment period I quickly adapted and waking up was no longer an issue. I finally had the energy to give everything I had to my shift, and that is when it started to get better. As a result of this experience, I realize now that you truly get back what you put in. In the beginning, I found it hard to effectively manage my time and my work did not feel rewarding nor satisfying. Once I adjusted, I had so much more energy to actively engage patients, get me work done faster and more efficiently, as well as actually enjoying myself. If I wouldn’t have adjusted my mindset and gave the experience my utmost attention, I would have robbed the patients as well as myself of the amazing service I was able to provide.
As a direct result of my service, the community on Dodd 4 and 11E Doan certainly approved. As a volunteer, I was able to attend to “minor” tasks and responsibilities, which freed up time for the doctors and nurses to respond to patients in active need of help. In between my duties, I also got to socialize with the patients, and I could instantly see how much my company affected them. Unfortunately, a lot of people end up in the hospital and either don’t have family nearby or simply don’t have anybody come to visit them. It was easy for me to sit down and listen to them talk, or watch TV with them, and it truly made a difference in their stay. So many patients thanked me for keeping them company, and I got to hear plenty of amazing stories from so many people of different backgrounds and experiences.
One person in particular that left a strong impression on me was my supervisor at 11E Doan, Michele Hardgrow. Aside from training me during my first several shifts and making sure I was comfortable with my environment, she would always make sure I knew what I had to do. I knew that riding the elevator the the 11th floor every Friday, I would soon be greeted by her warm smile asking me how my week went. In addition to my interactions with her, she was also in charge of the staff on the eleventh floor, and she was always on her feet making sure everything was going well and everyone was on task. Seeing her excel in her environment reminded me that there are people who simply go above and beyond what is expected of them, and what a positive impact that it has on others. She created a such a strong sense of community on the eleventh floor, and I am glad I got to experience that.
Overall, because of this service experience, I am more comfortable in my ability to help and interact with others, as well as understanding what I am capable of and when I need to ask for help. I realized that you truly do reap what you sow, and when you give something your all, you can expect wonderful returns on your investment. For most of my life, I viewed service as “work” necessary to achieve other goals, but I now realize that service can be and is enjoyable when you put in the effort and have fun with what you are doing.