Laura James, an 11th grader from Columbia County, is a Junior Volunteer at Doctors Hospital this summer. (WRDW-TV / July 17, 2012)
News 12 This Morning / Wednesday, July 18, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Junior Volunteer Program at Doctors Hospital gives young students a chance to get hands-on experience in the medical field.
Laura James, an 11th grader from Columbia County, is one of the 50 volunteers taking part in the program this year.
At 16 years old, she's already scrubbed in at the operating room.
"I actually got to scrub in and go in the OR and watch a Caesarean section, which was amazing," she said.
James received the opportunity this summer after signing up to be a Junior Volunteer at Doctors.
"It was awesome," she said. "I can't explain it. It was great. I felt like I was at the right place. I love it here, so much fun."
The program is for students ages 14 to 17 who are interested in the health care field. The volunteers get to sanitize rooms, work with patients and step into help wherever they are needed.
"Pretty sure I want to be a physician, love it, they get to do everything," James said.
Bart Grey, the student services recruiter, explained, "They learn to focus on the needs of other people. It forces them to take their eyes off themselves."
Grey has stacks of cards from former volunteers who have gone on to enroll in medical schools and become doctors. They all write him back thanking him for the experience.
"I think it's a way to help kids have someone that believes in them, cares for them; I think we can change the world if we do that," he said.
"Being able to work with people and stay calm, that was a big worry of mine," James added. "But I've done great and really surprised myself."
James says from day one she received a big dose of reality.
"It's not like 'Grey's Anatomy,' but it's pretty close," she said.
Whether it's attending to the patients, clearing the room or scrubbing in, it's all exciting for this future doctor.
The volunteers will be with the program for two more weeks. James plans to take part in the clinical program at Doctors her senior year.
If you are interested in this program for your child next summer, you can call Bart Grey at (706) 651-6717.