Alcovy High School student Alex Parish writes down the blood pressure of one of his patients in the Fitness Forum at NMC. This is his second year participating in the program. (Staff Photos: Michelle Floyd)
COVINGTON — Nearly 60 high school students are learning the ins and outs of working in the medical field this summer.
Fifty-eight rising sophomore, juniors and seniors are participating in Newton Medical Center’s Junior Volunteer program this year. About 10 students are in the program for the second year or longer.
The program has been around for at least 25 years and has changed over time.
“It’s a great program for students looking at health career options,” said Martha Taylor, director of Volunteer Services at NMC, adding that it will help reinforce their enjoyment in the field or let them know if they need to look at other options before heading off to college.
The hospital has received more than 100 applications to be in the program.
“Every year, I say this is the best class,” Taylor said. “We have great students.”
For between one and three weeks, depending on what grade level the students are in, they spend time at the hospital in various departments shadowing workers and completing duties like filing and interacting with patients. This summer, four students also are working in physician’s offices outside of the hospital.
“It gives me something to do in the summer, and I enjoy helping people,” said Rebecca Arnold, a rising 11th-grader from Eastside High School, who has been in the program two years working in the materials management department. “I think it’s fun.”
Most students in the program are planning to go into the medical field.
“I like getting to talk to all the people,” said fellow junior Alex Parish, who attends Alcovy High School and has been in the program for two years.
He said he hopes to one day be an orthodontist, but working in the hospital helps him get used to working in the medical environment of helping patients.
Applications for the program are available in January. Students go through an interview process and then attend an orientation before they start in their departments; some students also learn first aid and CPR.
Students also spend a day during the program experiencing disabilities, learning about different hospital departments and equipment and interviewing etiquette.
The hospital also uses college student volunteers throughout the year.
NMC, NMC Auxiliary Services and other groups also present several scholarships to several Newton County seniors each year.