SHS students more than volunteers at hospital

February 22, 2010 — by Roy Bisht and Mira Chaykin

On most Saturday afternoons, you’ll find sophomore Kevin Rezaii is inside—and not just inside at his house, but inside at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose hurriedly rushing through the hallways and tending to the needs of the ill patients.

He is part of a group of students from local schools, formally known as the “Junior Auxiliary,” who visit the hospital to assist with patient care-taking.

Students can work weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m., and on the weekends, they can work mornings, afternoons or evenings. Whatever hours they work, though, a volunteer averages about 3-5 hours in a week at Good Sam.

“Mainly, we just go from room to room making patients feel comfortable and supplying them with anything that they need,” said Rezaii, who has been volunteering at Good Samaritan for about a year.

The job is more than just a babysitter for the hospitalized.

“I transfer patients from room to room, check them out, take them to different rooms. I transfer labs and pharmacies to certain floors and patients,” said senior Sonia Siganporia, who has been volunteering at Good Sam since her freshman year.

Of course, with such hefty responsibility comes certain restrictions.

“I’m not allowed to touch anything medicinal, so I wear gloves,” said Siganporia. “I’m not allowed to wheel patients to their car, someone has to pick them up.”

Even though they are just volunteers, the students can play important roles in the hospital.

“One time, a Hispanic family came in and needed some help and medical attention, but no one was able to understand them. Another girl and I used our Spanish knowledge and helped them get through the process,” said Siganporia.

There are several reasons students begin working at Good Sam. Some desire the community service hours that accompany the position. Others, like Siganporia, take advantage of the hours but have additional reasons for applying.

“I started because I wanted to see if I should be a doctor and if the hospital was the right environment for me,” she said.

Siganporia is not the only experienced volunteer from SHS. Seniors Haley Zarrin and Gautam Srinivasan also act as shift leaders to guide and help the younger volunteers.

To apply to the program, students must visit Good Sam and fill out an application, which is reviewed and returned to the students during fall. If the application is accepted, they are called back for a formal interview from which their fate at the hospital is decided. Interested students must apply quickly because space is limited.

Rezaii considered his acceptance into the program “an honor,” as it is difficult to be chosen for the program. Last year only 50 out of 300 applicants were accepted.

Even though the volunteering is mainly done for community service hours, some of the students, including Rezaii, feel that at the hospital, what they do becomes something bigger.

“The experience is really enjoyable because of the happiness that it brings the patients,” said Rezaii. “I feel like I’ve made a major contribution to the community because everybody there feels better when we help them.”

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