On June 12, 2014, the General Hospital Auxiliary held their annual afternoon tea in the medical school lounge at the Health Sciences Centre. During the tea, the ladies of the auxiliary handed out two $500 scholarships. The recipients, Alicia Wong and Sean Leonard, were recognized for their outstanding contributions as Eastern Health volunteers.
Alicia has been volunteering at the Health Sciences Centre since February of 2012. “I started volunteering with the simple intention of helping patients feel a little more at ease, regardless of the duration of their stay,” said Alicia. “If I can so much as bring a smile to the face of one person a day, that’s enough for me.”
Alicia holds many roles as a volunteer at the General Hospital, offering support to staff and patients in a number of program areas, including: the Pre-Admissions area, the Genetics Department and the Case Room. Sometimes, Alicia will visit patients on the nursing units and provide assistance with their meals. However, her volunteering doesn’t stop there; with the help of the staff in the Volunteer Resources office, Alicia also assists new volunteers with their navigation of the hospital.
“Giving back to the community is a great feeling,” said Alicia. “It is very rewarding to help others.”
Currently completing her Mathematics degree at Memorial University, Alicia hopes to one day pursue a career in Medicine. Upon successfully finishing her Medical degree, Alicia plans to move back to Hong Kong with her family and start her career in the medical field. Like education, Alicia believes health care is a right not a privilege. She is very grateful that she currently resides in Canada where health care is provided to citizens.
The auxiliary scholarship money will be well spent by Alicia, as she plans to use it to help with her tuition fees for the fall semester.
Sean has just completed his third year of Biochemistry, and is also pursuing a French minor. As an active volunteer with Eastern Health, Sean has been helping out in the Emergency Room at the Health Sciences Centre since 2011.
Working alongside management, Sean offers his assistance wherever he can. This includes many things, such as: assisting with organizing and maintaining supplies and equipment as needed by doctors and nurses, receiving new supply shipments, and circulating the emergency units to ensure each is well-equipped with the necessary supplies. Often, Sean will also help tend to patients specific needs—including things like providing them with a cold glass of water or a warm blanket.
“Volunteering with the Emergency Department offers a great opportunity to gain experience in health care, and an overall understanding of how health care really works!” said Sean. “My experience with Eastern Health has certainly had influence on my decision to pursue a career in medicine.”
Aside from his dedication to Eastern Health, Sean is also heavily involved with other organizations. He devotes a great deal of his time to Let’s Talk Science— a national, charitable organization, designed to deliver unique programs and services that engage children and youth in science. He also volunteers with Memorial University as a Memorial Ambassador and the Orientation Program— making sure new students have the best first impression of the campus!
Sean is applying to medical school at the end of the summer and then returning to MUN in the fall to start the last year of his undergraduate degree.
Not only is Sean thinking about medical school, but he is also very excited for his next journey, which will be to Phoenix, Arizona.
“I have recently found out that I have been selected to participate in an exchange program for my final semester at Arizona State University,” said Sean. “I am very excited to begin this new adventure and can’t wait for the many exciting opportunities it will surely bring along with it.”
After completing his term in Phoenix, Sean hopes to be headed to medical school and will use his scholarship to help with application fees.
“At Eastern Health, we have over 1,500 volunteers,” said Kara Roberts, HR Manager of Student and Volunteer Pathways. “Volunteers like Sean and Alicia provide valuable services throughout Eastern Health. Together with staff, they support the provision of quality care to our patients, residents and clients.”
Aside from the annual scholarships, the General Hospital Auxiliary donates over $100,000 annually to the hospital’s various programs and services.
Eastern Health volunteers have an enormous impact on the health and well-being of our communities. If you would like to join Eastern Health’s team of volunteers, please contact the volunteer office at (709) 777-4451 or email email@example.com. Visit www.easternhealth.ca/give to learn more! ■
This story was written by Samantha Flynn, a co-operative education student with Eastern Health.