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Senior Anna Tatakis brings a wheelchair back into the hospital after discharging a patient to their car.

Students provide service, consider career options at local hospital

by Emma Klebe, ’13

Throughout a hospital one may expect nurses in green scrubs, patients in wheelchairs and beeping machines. But at Riverside Methodist Hospital, volunteers in striped aprons are mixed into the scene. These red and white stripes are not signs of holiday cheer; they stand for a volunteer program called candy striping.

Stripers must be 15 years or older and are involved in activities which include visiting patients, picking up and delivering meals and discharging people.

Senior Andi Smart is one of many students at UAHS who is a candy striper and has already accumulated 80 hours of service.

In order to become a candy striper, Smart said she had to go through an extensive process. Students must fill out an application and be interviewed. After being accepted into the program, the student is required to attend an orientation, go to a training day, and get a tuberculosis test.

Although it took time to be admitted, Smart said she has taken much away from the program.

“It’s a great opportunity to give back to my community, learn more about the hospital and see if it would be a possible career choice,” she said.

The candy striping program has also allowed Smart to meet other students with the same career goals.

“It’s a great way to get to know people from other schools and the hospital is very appreciative of what we do,” she said.

Smart recalls one specific interaction where she felt a part of a patient’s hospital experience.

“I went up to discharge a patient on the maternity floor. When I opened the door I was greeted by the baby, mother, father and the grandparents,” Smart said. “The father asked me to take pictures of them and record on our whole way down to their car.”

Candy striping has also given career insight to senior Anna Tatakis. With aspirations to be a doctor, she decided to get involved to greater explore the medical field.

Tatakis’ day-to-day jobs vary depending on the needs of the hopsital.

“I discharge patients and deliver newspapers, flowers and notes to patients,” she said.

Overall her experience has reaffirmed her ambitions for college and even a future career.

“[The program] has cemented the fact that I want to be in a health-related profession and I feel comfortable in a hospital environment,” Tatakis said.

Tatakis not only benefits by discovering more about the medical-career field, she feels appreciated as a volunteer.

“One time I went to go pick up a patient and while I was waiting for them I overheard them talking to the nurse and raving about how wonderful their experience was,” she said. “They kept thanking me for volunteering and it just furthur [affirmed] my desire to help people and make sure they receive excellent services.”

Junior Madi Crosby got involved with the program not only to explore a possible career field, but because of her motivation to give back.

“I have always loved to volunteer. By giving up my time and using my talents to help others I feel a sense of accomplishment,” she said. “I think it’s great to put the needs of others in front of your own.”

Madison Means

Senior Madison Means sports her red and white striped apron at Riverside Methodist Hospital.

Andi Smart

Andi Smart answers a phone call while working at the information desk. Working at the desk is one of many tasks the volunteers are involved with.