I finished my first day volunteering in the ER at the local hospital. I worked in the triage area, handling patients as they came in and then escorting them to their respective rooms/hall way beds. My main goal for the day was to memorize the layout of the hospital. Easy, I only got lost four times. 😛
My experience was mixed. Most of the negative came from getting myself so worked up and nervous that I could barely stutter out a word to the patients. As the shift wore on I got better at relaxing and smiling more naturally. It was great to interact with the resident nurses and help them. They were all forgiving of my, blatantly obvious newbie-ness.
A thought came to me while sitting for a moment between patients. “Are my reasons for volunteering in the first place good ones?” I signed up for the volunteer position, in part, because I wanted to help people, but if I am really honest with myself it comes down to me being selfish. I need the volunteering time to help me with med school applications.
The question to pose then would be: “Would I still have felt so motivated to work at the hospital if I didn’t need it for med school?” The uncomfortable answer to that question is, quite honestly, probably not, but maybe. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t think it does. A little selfish maybe, but not ridiculously so. I think I can live with myself. I only have so much time in the day between studying for the MCAT, working part-time, and soon school. I really don’t have the luxury to take on much more without some promise of a return.