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North 6 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


     Theclock showed that I was five minutes late. By luck, I found my way to thehospital's volunteer services office for my interview. When the lady asked,"Are you a freshman?" I was insulted that she thought I was four yearsyounger than I really am, but I let it slide.

When she asked, "Whereis your doctor's form?" I explained that the instructions said to get thedoctor's signature after the interview. She told me that that was not how itworked, and I should come back after I sent in the forms. A 40-minute trip fornothing! It was another month before I was able to startvolunteering.

Finally I was assigned as a nurse's aide on North 6. I wasexcited because I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field and figured thatI would get lots of information about hospitals and how they work. I would alsobe accumulating hours for my school's community-service requirement. I got my ownname tag, and thought all the nurses and staff would say "Hi" everytime I arrived.

When I came for the training session, a senior volunteernamed Jim led me around North 6. He had been volunteering for ten years, so Ifigured after tagging along with him I would be set. The other volunteer wasassigned to North 4, which is for surgical patients. I was jealous because myfloor had mostly elderly and psychiatric patients.

The training sessionmade the job look easy, but getting up at six to be at the hospital by eightstarted my day badly. After signing in, I got ice water for the patients as I hadduring training. It was easy, especially since one of the nurses told me,"Oh, I did that already. It's all taken care of." She took away my job.Now what was I going to do? I had only been there for 15 minutes. Three hours and45 minutes to go. The receptionist on the floor told me to collect menus. Thatsounded harmless, but I tripped over a wheelchair that held a glassy-eyed,drooling man. And then I encountered a lady who told me that there were ants allover her breakfast tray and to remove the little boy sleeping next to her. I hadno idea what to say. Quietly I walked out of her room. Then, I had to avoid theold ladies who begged me to help them to the bathroom.

The following shiftwas exactly like the first. It did not get any better. There was nowhere to hideor pass the time. Finally, in the middle of my third shift, I went down tovolunteer services and asked for a transfer. A friend was working in medicalrecords and recommended it, so I asked to be placed there. The request wasapproved.

I have been working in medical records for a few months, and nowI actually look forward to volunteering. It is quiet and I have learned muchabout the hospital and how it runs just from the way files are used. Files don'tdrool or need to go to the bathroom. Also, they can't whine about ants or askabout strange little boys. Filing papers for four hours may sound boring to some,but paper is reliable.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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