Hospital swelling with volunteers

August 16, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - After one summer of volunteering with respiratory therapy services at Chambersburg Hospital, Brandy Spangenberg has aspirations of becoming a respiratory therapist.

The jury is still out on whether Paul Rynecki will follow in the footsteps of his father, a nurse, but for now he enjoys spending his summers learning the ins and the outs of the hospital.

This makes Earlyne McCleary, director of Volunteer Services for Chambersburg Hospital, very happy.

"We hope this is bringing young people into health care," said McCleary, who noted that as the population ages, a shortage of health care workers will worsen.


With a record number of volunteers, 80 all-told, she hopes it may be a sign more young people are thinking about health-related careers.

"I don't want to leave here," said Brandy, 17. But she said she will need to focus her attention on her senior year when Chambersburg Area Senior High School opens in another week. "It doesn't even occur to me I don't get paid. It's another activity to me."

One day a week Brandy follows around respiratory therapists, picking up X-rays and observing procedures.

Paul, 16, began volunteering at the hospital four summers ago as a way to fulfill a community service requirement for school.

He's worked in different departments and does everything from transporting supplies to transporting patients.

McCleary said volunteers apply for all kinds of reasons, including school requirements, a push from their parents or their own initiative to do something productive over the summer.

Brandy said she simply decided one day at the start of the summer that she would like to volunteer - she didn't know that it would lead to looking inside someone's lungs.

Brandy has observed three bronchoscopies this summer - a procedure she had never heard of before.

"The doctor goes through the nose to the lungs to look for anything abnormal," she explained. "Sometimes there is tissue for me to take to the lab. You can see everything (while the scope is going down.) It's cool."

Paul, who will be a junior at Chambersburg Area Senior High School this year, said he likes the fact he has learned the layout of the hospital.

He is one of 29 student volunteers who returned from last year, so McCleary said she believes the hospital is doing something right.

She said she hopes the hospital is gaining more than just some extra sets of hands over the summer.

"We will track our volunteers through college and hope they come back to us" as health care professionals, McCleary said. "Even if five come back, that's something."

That's a real possibility in Brandy's mind.

"I want to be a respiratory therapist now. I like coming here, and I stay an hour or two late," she said.

Both Chambersburg and Waynesboro hospitals accept volunteers over age 13 year-round.

For more information, call Waynesboro Hospital at 717-765-4000, ext. 5205, or Chambersburg Hospital at 717-267-7142.

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