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Program Inspires Tomorrow's Medical Workers Today

More than 150 teenagers are making good use of their summer by volunteering at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Liana Raborn has always been interested in the medical field.

Anatomy and science are the 15-year-old's favorite subjects in school. And instead of spending her summer at the beach, she's volunteering at St. Joseph's Hospital to gain experience in the medical field.

Liana, a Sickles High School student, is one of 150 volunteers at St. Joseph's Hospital working this summer through the Volunteen Program.

Some of the teens are future doctors and some need community service hours for scholarships, but all have met strict requirements to join the Volunteen program. Students volunteer in a variety of roles from escorting patients and tackling administrative tasks to working in the gift shop and labs, said Jacqueline Tolley, media relations coordinator for BayCare Health System, the umbrella organization for St. Joseph's Hospital.

Liana says she wants to become an anaesthesiologist one day.

"I wanted to do this because I'm really interested in seeing what it's like to work in a hospital because it's definitely something I want to do when I'm older," said Liana, a Westwood Lakes resident, who is volunteering in the hospital waiting room at the reception desk.

"I walk a lot of the patients back into the pre-op and recovery area," she said. "It's exciting because you get to see what's going on back there and meet with the doctors and nurses."

To be accepted as a Volunteen, applicants must go through a rigorous application process, including having a 3.0 grade point average, a mandatory attendance meeting and visit to the hospital. They must volunteer at least four hours a week for 8-10 weeks in the summer. Teens ages 15-18 can apply.

"Basically the program ends around the time they head back to the end of August," Tolley said.

There are 150 teens currently volunteering from Hillsborough and Pasco counties.

“These are excellent students from our community,” said Judi Roberts, manager of volunteer resources. “The program gets bigger every year and the students get real-life experience that helps them with a career path.”

For more about volunteering at BayCare go to this link or call 1-877-692-2922.

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