Although 17-year-old Jayzryn Thompson is involved in the National Honors Society, Spanish Honor Society, basketball, softball, the recycling club and is also a straight “A” student at Maranatha Academy, the high school senior still makes time to help others. As a volunteer at Maple Grove Hospital, Jayzryn works in one of 32 different volunteer positions that help enhance the experience of patients during their hospital visit.
Every other week, Jayzryn spends three-hour shifts helping in the ICC and MSCC units, “where patients are either getting ready to go into surgery or have just come out of surgery,” she says. “I mainly go around and I stock patient rooms. I restock the nutrition alcoves where they make coffee and get the patient ice chips. I clean up, wipe down counters and clean ice packs after they’ve been used.”
Even though she’s not performing medical procedures, Jayzryn still gives patients much appreciated care with her willingness to help wherever she can. “[If] I’m going in their room to restock, I’ll say ‘Hi, how’s your day?’” she says. “And if they need me to help them with something, then I’ll help them.”
She notices that the simple act of offering a smile in the hallway will brightens a patient’s day. “The most rewarding aspect is knowing that I’m having an impact in the community, even if it is just restocking shelves,” she says. “I’m helping out and making someone’s life better.”
Jennifer Nelson is the manager of Volunteer Services at Maple Grove Hospital and coordinates various roles at the facility. “Volunteers serve in 22 different departments,” Nelson says. “[Everything] from volunteer dog/human teams visiting people in the hospital, to musicians in the lobby, to helping people find their way around the hospital to knitting hats for the new babies.”
Nelson says the impact volunteers have made on hospital patients is endless. “Customers write letters to our CEO about the compassionate assistance they were provided by a volunteer,” Nelson says. “[There are] families who ask Family Birth Center tour guides to meet their new baby, or request a picture with the Guest Services volunteer. [The volunteers’] contributions help us provide a remarkable customer experience,” Nelson adds.
Jayzryn has volunteered at Maple Grove Hospital since September 2016 and plans to continue until she graduates from high school. Along with providing support to others, she is preparing for her future. “I’m interested in the medical field. I want to be a pediatric surgeon when I get older,” Jayzryn says. “So, I thought, why not get some experience now?"
Her interest in the field inspired her to dedicate part of her summer to research; she spent a significant portion of it watching videos on medical surgeries. “Getting to watch what really goes on in the operating room and seeing what the inside of a person looks like, how they repair a bleed or liver transplant, was just so interesting,” Jayzryn says. “You read about it in textbooks, but to watch it ... was just really cool.”
Despite the busy demands of a high schooler’s schedule, Jayzryn recommends volunteering. “I definitely think it’s something you should do, especially if you know that’s what you want to go into,” she says. “For me it was good to get a general awareness of what the hospital feels like. It really opens your eyes to the reality of it all and to know that this is where you belong and where you want to be.”
By the Numbers
Maple Grove Hospital in 2016:
603 Individuals volunteered
278 New volunteers joined
27,603 Hours of service given
Interested applicants can apply here.