WSSU Hospice Volunteers and Interns
Representatives from Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), including faculty, staff and students, have been working with the Hospice and Palliative CareCenter in Winston-Salem for more than a decade. They have served on the board, volunteered, and held internships. Nursing students do an annual rotation to learn more about providing compassionate end-of-life care.
“We are extremely fortunate that students have taken an interest in our mission as well as using our organization as a place to intern and develop career skill – both clinically and administratively,” said Sherena Conner, Hospice East Team Volunteer Coordinator. “The services provided by volunteers are vital to the success of our mission. The value is also significant, saving our non-profit organization valuable financial resources.”
Two May 2016 healthcare management graduates spent the last semester interning on the administrative side of the organization. Jazmyn Rouse, from Mooresville, N.C., and Nataisa Holmes, from Charlotte, N.C., are very appreciative of the opportunity offered through Hospice.
“I enjoy working with the elderly population. I have a background in working with the elderly along with working with special needs patients so this internship was a good fit for me,” said Rouse.
Though she expected to work more hands-on with patients, Rouse is learning the other side of offering care. “I have learned the actual business side of healthcare management and how nonprofit organizations such as hospice and palliative care allocate their funds and how resources get distributed,” she said.
Meanwhile, Holmes came into the internship looking to expand her knowledge of the business side of providing care.
“I did my internship with Hospice to get a better understanding about how this organization is run and learn more about the human resources department,” Holmes said. “I also had shadowing experiences and attended several meetings with employees that work for Hospice and Palliative Care.”
Holmes said the experience has taught her a very valuable lesson.
“I learned the importance of networking,” she said. “You never know the opportunities that will open when you meet with individuals who are currently what you strive to be. Always ask questions and you can get the guidance and advice that you need.”
Conner also pointed out that the relationship between Hospice and the students does not always end once the internship or volunteer cycle is over.
“We have employed a number of talented nurse graduates from WSSU to help carry out our mission of providing compassionate emotional, medical, spiritual and social support to patients and their families as they face the challenges of end of life care,” she said. “Some student volunteers have also, after graduation, continued their volunteer work with our patients and families.”