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Teen 'goes above and beyond' as hospital volunteer

June 10, 2005|by ADAM BEHSUDI

WASHINGTON COUNTY

adamb@herald-mail.com

The emergency room is a place many people don't want to visit, but it's where Heather Taylor chooses to spend some of her time.

As a participant in the Washington County Hospital-run Volunteen program, Taylor, 17, has spent more than 100 hours in the emergency room since she started volunteering in December.

She folds linens, takes patients to receive CAT scans and serves meals to patients. She also gets to work closely with nurses and doctors by observing them as they work with patients.

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"Every day is different," said Taylor, who hopes to become a registered nurse.

The volunteer experience has confirmed her desire to pursue a career in the health-care profession.

"I wanted to see if that's what I wanted to do with my life," said Taylor, who graduated Thursday from Williamsport High School.

Taylor will start classes as a full-time student this fall at Hagerstown Community College.

She will continue her volunteer work at the hospital for five hours a week this summer while taking a summer class at HCC and working part time at Sears.

Amid the buzz of the emergency room, Taylor is right at home. When she completes her education, she said, she would like to return to the emergency room.

Carol Feigley, a senior volunteer at the hospital and a retired nurse of 44 years, said she was impressed by Taylor's drive and was pleased that she wants to enter the nursing field.

"Heather seems to demonstrate the core values of the hospital," said Feigley, who coordinates the volunteers who work on the nursing units.

Taylor said she has enjoyed every hour she spent there.

"Some of them (volunteers) come in and do a couple of hours and that's the end of it," said Feigley. "She, indeed, goes above and beyond what the requirement is."

During the school year, Taylor volunteered in the emergency room for about eight hours each week. She also played volleyball and softball for her high school.

Taylor said she had been interested in volunteering at the hospital since her freshman year of high school but could never fit it in her busy schedule of classes and sports.

It wasn't until her senior year that she asked her guidance counselor how she could stay on the softball team during the spring season and pursue her interest in nursing.

She started working at the hospital during school hours through a special internship program that had been phased out at her school. With special permission from her school and because she had completed all of the courses required to graduate, she was able to participate in the program.

"We certainly don't want to hold back a student from an opportunity that would benefit them in the long run," said Randy Longnecker, Taylor's guidance counselor at Williamsport High School.

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