Keerthana Karthikeyan is a recently graduated Human Biology Major with a minor in Global Health and intends to pursue a career in healthcare and become a Physician Assistant.
For 10 months, Keerthana volunteered at the Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla. Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla is home to notable specialty programs, including cancer care, heart surgery, orthopedic surgery, labor and delivery services (including a Level III neonatal intensive care unit) and a nationally designated Comprehensive Stroke Center.
As a volunteer, Keerthana helped answer patient and visitor questions as well as provide comfort and support to family members and patients. They kept areas tidy, contacted EVS when necessary. They were also tasked with delivering and picking up reports throughout campus as well as transporting blood and blood products. Keerthana also made rounds to patient-with RN approval to offer blankets and ice packets. When not completing those tasks, Keerthana stocked supplies and performed clerical duties.
“I worked in the Prebys building in the Neuro Surgical Trauma unit and worked under whichever supervisor was in charge during my shift. I followed my regular duties and any additional ones that were assigned to me by any of the nursing staff.”
Keerthana remembers one of the most challenging aspects of his volunteer work;
“Greeting patients, especially those in which their families were in distress. Providing them with simple care such as asking them if they needed anything or even just an encouraging smile was helpful for both myself and the individuals I greeted.”
Keerthana’s time as a volunteer taught them that help is always encouraged and welcomed. It also taught them to not hesitate to reach out to others and offer them with assistance.
When things were slow, Keerthana would speak with the nurses and Physician Assistants. They would learn about their journey and experiences and ask about the process it took to get to where they were.
Just because Keerthana fulfilled their field experience does not mean that they were no longer actively engaging in community involvement. After completing their volunteer hours at the Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla;
“I was a part of a public health trip for Alternative Breaks that was meant to provide care for individuals in Bali.”