HY Yellow Jacket Volunteering Program
What students should experience before becoming true doctors
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Waiting in the long line filled with boredom, yet anticipating their names to be called, patients and their guardians may feel alone, even adrift in pitch-black darkness. Hospital visits by patients and their families is like an arduous journey, passing through doctor’s office, examination rooms and even operating rooms.
A lot of staff, including doctors and nurses, are the ones who help patients and their families get around the unfamiliar hospital environment. Therefore, medical knowledge is not only what doctors learn through their six years at university. It is necessary for future doctors to experience the detour that patients have to take, albeit indirectly.
A volunteer program for the Department of Pre-Medicine freshmen
HY Yellow Jacket Program, a volunteer program at the Hanyang Medical Center, Seoul, launched on March 8th, is for the Department of Pre-Medicine freshmen. Initiated last year through MOU with the Medical Center and supported by its social welfare team, the program was planned by the professors of the College of Medicine. “Students learn to sympathize with patients and their guardians through volunteer work during their visits to the hospital.” said Kim Hyun-young, chairman of the Department of Pre-medicine and College of Medicine.
115 freshmen are divided into four groups in the volunteering program. Each group of freshmen visits the hospital one by one for four weeks. There are about 12 members in each group, placed in various places in the hospital. “We, as student volunteers help patients and visitors and aid each department of the hospital if they need an extra hand. We volunteer at different areas every week. Before volunteering, we get familiar to many places in the hospital and learn about our duties from nurses, ” said Kim Hyun, president of the Department of Pre-medicine student council, who volunteered in the HY Yellow Jacket Program last year.
The students spend 16 hours of volunteer work, providing directions to different areas of the hospital to patients, helping people check in, and calling out the names of the patients who are ready for their appointments. They also organize materials used in the hospital under nurses' instructions, and sometimes even help transport the patients by hospital beds who can’t walk by themselves.
Since the students are freshmen, the program does not include any medical field work. However, students are able to observe what makes patients feel uncomfortable and causings difficulties during their visit and stay. They also are aware of the many other staff members apart from doctors and nurses, such as occupational therapists who aid patients’ rehabilitation, and medical technologists who perform and analyze medical examinations.
Shaping true leaders of the hospital through volunteer work
Previously, no notable program in the College of Medicine existed that allowed students to volunteer in the hospital. “Although the HY Yellow Jacket Program isn't compulsory, every freshman joins in the program,” explained Kim Hyun-young. According to him, freshmen are the participants of the volunteer program because they have more time compared to their seniors. In addition, freshmen are given a chance to think about the concept of a ‘doctor’ as their career choice with what they witness in the hospital before constructing a more concrete plan or frame for their future. “College of Medicine students spend most of their time studying or listening to lectures in classrooms. Participating in HY Yellow Jacket Program, I could imagine my future, seeing nurses and doctors caring for patients. I could learn about various situations in a hospital as well,” said Kim Hyun.
Although some students feel shy and have trouble approaching patients, most of them gradually become knowledgeable about the visitors' needs and learn to empathize with them through the volunteering program. Although doctors' responsibilities comprise of the most important duties in a hospital, leading the team in a cooperative manner and understanding patients are a must. Through the HY Yellow Jacket Program, future doctors of Hanyang can learn to practice medicine with love, indeed.
Jang Soo-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
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