This summer, I have the opportunity to intern at Touro Infirmary, which is a non-profit hospital in New Orleans, and I recently completed my first day of work there. The work day started off at 8am, after an early morning ride on the street car. Luckily, I had visited Touro for the first time a few days before this for a drug test (which I passed!), so I just had to worry about waking up and catching the street car on time. As soon as I walked into the office, I was greeted by my Supervisor, Wendy, and it was great to finally meet her after lots of emails back and forth leading up to my arrival.
At Touro, I will be working primarily in the volunteer services office with Wendy, but I will also work and volunteer in the Touro marketing department, labor and delivery, and the emergency department throughout the week, which is exciting and likely to keep me on my toes. I’m interested in being able to see a lot of the “behind-the-scenes” work that goes on to make hospital able to run smoothly and serve the community effectively! For example, some of the work that I’ve done in the volunteer office so far has been using software to manage the current volunteers and their hours, as well as take in new volunteers and organize their interview and application process. I also got to sit at the patient information desk and direct and tell families where their loved one was in the hospital. This was also fun because I got to sit for a few hours with a hilarious volunteer who is an older woman, and hearing her stories about her life and growing up and living in New Orleans now was quite fascinating!
Our first task of the day was taking the junior volunteers (high schoolers) and myself to get a proper volunteer badge. Whilst waiting, I got to talk to the high schoolers about what they were interested in, why they were volunteering, and just about what it is like to be a teenager in New Orleans. I have heard a lot about the issues in New Orleans and its school systems, but this was the first time I heard about New Orleans and some of its issues from the perspective of a New Orleans teenager. I saw a lot of my high school self in them, but it was interesting to hear about their unique experiences, and learn how things are different from what I experienced and know of from back home.
As I mentioned earlier, Touro Infirmary is a non-profit hospital that was founded in 1852, and is known for many things, such as its Family Birthing Center, which is “where babies are born”, and an efficient ER system, among other things. I think that these years of rich history has contributed to a unique and welcoming atmosphere within the hospital. After lunch (where I tried soft shell crab for the first time – amazing!), my supervisor gave me a tour around the hospital, and showed me around the different departments. Everywhere we went, even in the hallways, we were constantly being stopped by people that my supervisor knew. It was refreshing to be able to meet so many people in a variety of positions, from volunteers, nurses, housekeepers, doctors, directors and more. My supervisor told me that due to the Touro’s location, they serve and reach a very diverse community of people and this became very clear to me through meeting patients, staff and volunteers from some many different walks of life. Even in this first day of work, I was able to meet so many great people, and learn a lot about what makes Touro Infirmary a unique place. I am very excited to continue working here throughout the summer and leaning more about Touro and New Orleans!