By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
When summer arrives, Vidant Edgecombe Hospital welcomes a new group of volunteers to the staff team – the “volunteens.” The 30 volunteers this summer are doing everything from helping with patient registration to selling candy to hospital staff and visitors.
“The employees love when the volunteens are here because you’ve got fresh faces, fresh attitudes,” said Heather Pachnar, marketing specialist for the hospital, “They’re a great asset to the hospital … a breath of fresh air.”
A self-described “people person,” Courtney Myrick, eagerly reports to her volunteer job every morning.
“I do radiology and registration,” said Myrick, a rising 10th grader at North Edgecombe High School. “It’s fun because you get to interact with the patients.”
Myrick works closely with Bettie Southerland, secretary for the radiology department, and the nurses in the department, but her favorite part of the job is working one-on-one with patients.
“If they’re not able to walk, I wheel them back to schedule their mammograms,” said Myrick. She does whatever she can to help the patients, using hand signals on one occasion to communicate with patients who didn’t speak English.
Southerland calls Myrick a “sweet young lady” and looks forward to her arrival in the mornings. She is also encouraging Myrick to pursue a career in healthcare. Myrick aspires to be a Family Nurse Practitioner.
“I’m edging her on. I’m helping her get there, too,” said the radiology secretary. “Maybe one day we’re going to meet again.”
Two other volunteens helping around the hospital this summer are Andi Davenport, a 12th grader at Nash Rocky Mount Early College High School, and Monica Sanford, an 11th grader at SouthWest Edgecombe High School.
“I’m usually a very shy person, but since I’ve grown up around the hospital, it’s kind of opened me up,” Davenport said. Her mother is the assistant nurse manager of the women’s and children’s floor at the hospital.
“Helping people” is Davenport’s favorite part of the job. She works on the hospitality (candy) cart and security in the emergency department.
Sanford said working at the hospital is teaching her “how to work with people, how to be a social person,” while giving her a taste of adult life in the working world.
“Just having the responsibility to get up and come here and help out … it makes me feel good, makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something,” she said. Sanford aspires to be a dermatologist.
Michael Wright, an 11th grader at Farmville Central High School, does everything from filing in the human resources department to registration. He said he has enjoyed learning about the different jobs at the hospital.
“I want to go into forensics and be a medical examiner,” said Wright, a third-year volunteen. His mother, Lisa Wright, works at the Tarboro Clinic.
Fun-loving Nolan Hobbs, another 11th grader at Farmville Central, keeps the workday interesting for his fellow volunteens and staff. He pushed the hospitality cart toward an employee Wednesday afternoon and convincingly offered up some candy.
“You’ve got to communicate with your customers, you’ve got to keep everybody happy,” he said. Hobbs’ career goal is to become an orthodontist.
The summer volunteens are selected based on academics and teacher recommendations, said Pachnar. Their last day of work this summer is Aug. 16.