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Student Summer Volunteers, Coming Soon

Students like Nevi Patel, here with Barbra Swann in the HCGH pediatrics unit, can pitch in and ease the pressures of a busy workplace.
Last summer, Nevi Patel took patients to X-ray and prepared rooms. She helped out with paperwork, read stories to kids and organized videos. “She provided the tender touch when we were too busy,” says Diane Emrich, clinical program manager for pediatrics at Howard County General Hospital. “Having students like Nevi on hand allowed us to spend more time on direct patient care.”

Nevi was part of a fleet of student volunteers who work each summer at Johns Hopkins’ three hospitals. They come from public and private schools throughout central Maryland to fill sought-after positions. “These are structured experiences in which each student has a position description and a supervisor,” says Barbra Swann, HCGH director of volunteer services.

“Unfortunately,” Swann says, reflecting the sentiments of her counterparts at Hopkins Hospital and Bayview, “so often employees don’t realize the worth of these volunteers. All it takes is for one department to get a decent volunteer for the ‘aha’ factor to sink in. They finally realize how helpful these students can be.”

Student volunteers work in all areas. They might do clerical work or data input. They might be greeters in a clinic or keep kids occupied in a busy waiting room. They might help out at a nurses’ station, running errands, filling water pitchers and answering phones.

Favorite areas at Hopkins Hospital are Child Life and the newborn nursery, where students are “cuddlers.” At Bayview, it’s the activities room in the Geriatrics Center; at HCGH, pharmacy, pediatrics and the maternal child unit. “Our students also work in areas like security, general stores, information systems, dietary and plant operations,” Swann adds. “The idea is to show these kids that you don’t have to be a doctor or a nurse to work in a healthcare setting.”

Student applications typically entail an interview, essay and teacher recommendations. Orientation includes HIPAA training. Supervisors do need to spend time with students, Swann says. “For many, it’s a first job experience.”

Volunteers put in at least 75 hours over a seven-week period, on average, typically working two or three days a week, six hours a day. “Between June and August, you watch them grow,” says Marjorie Jeffries, who has run the summer program at Bayview for 11 years. “You can see that the program is really affecting their lives.”

Anne Bennett Swingle

To inquire about student summer volunteers:
JHH: Nicole Swann, 410-955-5924
Bayview: Marjorie Jeffries, 410-550-0626
HCGH: Barbra Swann, 410-740-7981



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