Sam Forlenza Find a Location Find a Doctor Volunteer Services I vividly remember at the age of 12 years old, watching a physician from St. Elizabeth’s Emergency Department in Edgewood vigorously working to save my father’s life during his heart attack. The physician was successful in saving my father and left an astounding impact on me. That night, I decided that I would devote my life to medicine because I didn’t want anyone to have to endure what I felt during my father’s stay at the hospital. I thought the best way to start my journey to become a physician would be to start volunteering in Emergency Medicine because of how they helped my father. After waiting until I was of age to volunteer, I attended Volunteer Nursing Unit training and took the first official step towards becoming a physician. Finding myself immersed in the medical field, I learned to help the Emergency Department Staff by removing dirty linens, readying rooms, getting patients needed items, transporting patients, stocking drawers, and helping with patients. I continued to work in the emergency room from the summer after my freshman year till now, being a senior in high school. Working in the emergency Department has taught me countless lessons that I never could’ve learned in the classroom. The most important lesson is that one needs to count their blessings, as there is always someone in a worse position than you. I remember during my first year I saw a mother walking in with children who had no shoes. Their feet were black as soot from walking around barefoot for what looked like years. I have never felt so terrible for a family, as they couldn’t afford something we probably all take for granted. I am truly blessed to be able to own something as simple as a pair of shoes to protect my feet, and I didn’t realize how fortunate I was. Another thing volunteering in the emergency department taught me was that we must band together as a community to fight the heroin epidemic. I have seen countless patients come in due to heroin and how their lives have been ruined because of drugs. As a hospital, we must lead our community in the war on heroin. As healthcare providers, it is our responsibility to make sure the public is informed about the dangers of heroin use. If we don’t fight back, heroin will swallow up our community whole just like it’s done to countless others. Volunteering in the emergency department has also shown me how to act in a professional medical environment. I am expected to present myself professionally in my uniform and maintain the professionalism only to be found in a medical environment. I learned how to address both staff members (my future colleagues) and patients properly, along with how to properly follow HIPPA regulations with protecting patient privacy. I have used my skills learned in the emergency room when I shadow physicians and they have been proven to be indispensable on more than one occasion. As I am almost 18, I realize that my days as a teen volunteer are numbered. My career as a volunteer has proven to be an essential learning experience that will help me on my journey to becoming a physician. In December of 2016, I interviewed for a position as an emergency department technician to an even more hands-on experience as I move through my undergraduate years at Xavier University. Being a volunteer in the same department that I interviewed for showed Nurse Miles that I wanted to continue to be a committed member of the emergency department team. My 400 hours of volunteering at St. Elizabeth has already started me on my career path towards becoming a physician. On October 20th, I interviewed at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine for acceptance into their early acceptance program. The early acceptance program allows high school and college students to be guaranteed acceptance into medical school as a student in either high school or college. A few weeks after my interview… I got in! My volunteering at St. Elizabeth provided me with a plethora of experiences to talk about during my interview and I believe played a critical factor in their decision to accept me. Being a volunteer, along with being an emergency department technician, will be a tremendous asset when I am a physician as I will be able to appreciate the efforts of my colleagues on the floor that I will be working on. Winston Churchill is quoted to have said “You may not have saved a lot of money in your life, but if you have saved a lot of heartache for other folks, you are a pretty rich man.” This quote to me shows the very essence of everything a volunteer should strive for. I found the more I served, the more I learned, and for that, I cannot thank St. Elizabeth Volunteer services enough.