Student volunteer makes the rounds at Mission 

MEDICAL EXPLORER: Volunteer Owen McHattie got to see some inner workings at Mission Hospital during his July stint as a member of the Junior Volunteer Program. Photo courtesy of Mission Health

Each summer, a group of students, ages 14-18, spend four weeks shadowing staff at Mission Hospital to learn what goes on behind the building’s many sliding glass doors. 

The Junior Volunteer Program lets students rotate through different departments and offers them a chance to get first-aid/CPR certified. 

Owen McHattie, 17, of Clyde and a student at Haywood Early College, heard about the volunteer program through his dad, who works in compliance at Mission. McHattie was admitted into last summer’s program, where he volunteered two days per week for the four-week session in July.

Though McHattie intends to major in finance, he says he now realizes his future degree could encompass health care. 

Xpress spoke with McHattie about his experience at Mission and why other students should consider applying to the program. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Xpress: What did you do as a volunteer? 

McHattie: I spent time in administration and got to shadow the CFO, which was the highlight for me. My favorite classes have been statistics, English and biology, and I plan to major in finance when I attend college in the fall. Ultimately, I would like a career in financial management or accounting. I also worked with patients in the spinal care unit. I did paperwork in administration and helped organize RN Daisy Award applications for the selection committee. It was very hands-on, and everyone that hosted me took the time to explain what they did and answered all my questions. 

Was there something about a hospital setting that you especially liked? If so, what was it and why?

It was interesting to see the different functions of a hospital. It is very complex. There are many more career options beyond medicine. I liked the administrative part of my experience — the need for organization, meeting deadlines, teamwork and doing things accurately.

Would you recommend this program to your friends? Why or why not?

I would definitely recommend the program! I don’t know of any other opportunity that would have given me access to the inner workings of a hospital. It’s a good experience to get an idea of what you want to do careerwise. 

Have you volunteered with other local organizations? 

I’ve volunteered as a junior camp counselor for a local summer youth program and registered pets for spay/neuter and vaccinations through an animal rescue organization in my hometown. I’ve also spent time through school collecting for food and clothing drives and volunteering with senior citizens. 

What was the most surprising thing you learned or saw at the hospital?

It was surprising how fast all the rooms filled up. As soon as a patient was discharged from the room, it was quickly prepared for the next patient being admitted. I just never realized how much demand there was for health care.



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