'Volunteens' enjoying time in Mercy summer program
Less than a month into Mercy Hospital's Volunteens program, Anna Blach is impressed.
Blach, a Green Forest High School graduate who will be a sophomore this fall at the University of Central Arkansas, said she has been pleasantly surprised by how exciting the program is. In the past three weeks, she said, she has had experience in the pharmacy department, the auxiliary board and the emergency room.
"The ER was really interesting and just a really exciting atmosphere," Blach said. "The pharmacy was interesting in its own way. There was a lot to learn."
Open to all Carroll County students between 14 and 19 years old, the program is a way for students to get hands-on experience in various aspects of the medical field, including general nursing, emergency department, pharmacy, physical therapy and radiology.
Though she said she has enjoyed all aspects of the program, Blach said she is most excited about learning about and observing surgery. She said she hopes to become a doctor in the future, crediting the program with teaching her more about the medical field.
"It's really cool to learn about everything. It's a great experience and I've learned a lot," Blach said.
Mary Kennedy Jackson, an incoming sophomore at Berryville High School, said the experience has helped her shape her future plans. She cited the physical therapy program as her favorite part of the program so far, saying it is different from other departments in the hospital.
"It's interesting to see," Jackson said.
Christina Villanueva, an incoming senior at Berryville High School, reported enjoying physical therapy as well.
"It's very hands-on. When you're interacting with the patient, it's very different. You're literally making them stronger," Villanueva said.
All three students recommended the program. Blach said she would have taken part in the program throughout high school if she had known it existed.
"It's neat to see everyone work together. I would definitely tell other students to do it," Blach said.
Cody Qualls, executive director of the Mercy Foundation, praised this summer's students.
"We really have a good group. You can really tell they are enjoying themselves and learning a lot," Qualls said.
The program will end with a workweek in August, when the volunteens will help out members of the Mercy-Berryville Auxiliary.