As a member of Project Healthcare students are given the unique opportunity to play an active role in patient care in New York University‘s School of Medicine’s Bellevue Hospital Center’s Emergency Department. Through hands on experience, in one of New York City’s most active emergency departments, our volunteers are able to explore a diverse array of interests and are exposed to the reality of a career in medicine. The volunteers learn to function as patient advocates, and are also exposed to numerous aspects of patient care while working closely with the clinical staff. PHC is a very demanding program, requiring a great deal of commitment on the part of the student. The 2017 program will begin on June 5th and end August 11th, for a total of ten weeks.
In addition to the Emergency Department, which includes adult and pediatric emergency rooms as well as the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program, all participants rotate through the Operating Room and Cardiac Catheterization Lab to observe and help facilitate care. They ride along with FDNY EMTs, and spend time with the Social Work staff where they learn about the social needs of patients suffering with issues such as domestic violence, sexual assault, substance abuse, and/or homelessness.
The main function of our volunteers is patient advocacy. This directly translates to providing food and water to patients, providing blankets and clothing and, above all, emotional comfort by way of conversation and interaction. Volunteer participants also engage in concrete tasks such as making up stretchers, transporting patients, providing patient support during procedures, interpreting, assisting with undressing patients, and the stocking and preparation of equipment. In the clinical area, they are afforded the opportunity to observe procedures, assist with custodial care, and interact with patients of varied cultural, social and economic backgrounds. While intermingling with all levels of clinical staff, they may also engage in active networking with RNs, residents, attending physicians, social workers, PCTs and ancillary personnel. In short, our program offers each participant an opportunity to further develop the skills of flexibility, compassion, and creativity, while addressing the demands of spontaneous situations.
Quantitative research has shown that a large majority of our alumni continue their education in the health care field. With many past participants gaining acceptance into some of the most prestigious medical institutions in the nation, citing their experiences in Project Healthcare as pivotal to fostering the motivation and dedication that helped them to achieve success. For our volunteers, it is often the individual patient interactions that are most impactful. Our volunteers appreciate the stories, the experiences and the trust that patients share with them.
More information and, more specifically, the application for Project Healthcare can be accessed through this link. The application for Project Healthcare 2017 is now open and will officially close on Sunday, February 5th at 11:59pm. The application requires the submission of a personal statement, an updated resume and two letters of recommendation. Please note that no particular previous experiences are required. Each year, in selecting our volunteers, we look for a diverse group of students with equally diverse interests and experiences. We welcome any questions, should you have them.