The bright and colorful hallways of the WCU Dallas campus were transformed into a Volunteer Fair on July 23rd, where nursing students met with local organizations to learn about opportunities where they can serve in meaningful ways that benefit the community, and also enhance their education.
Event coordinator Jackie Wilson, WCU Career Services Specialist, said the Volunteer Fair will be an annual event because these types of opportunities can be very valuable for students, and even graduates.
“This is about promoting community activism among our students,” she said. “As they advance in their education, nursing students are valuable volunteers for each and every one of the organizations here today. The experience also helps students to build networking and interview skills.”
Ms. Wilson also points out that often times volunteer opportunities can turn into employment opportunities down the road, which is all the more reason for students to get involved. “Community service is a big part of the student experience here at West Coast University,” she said.
From Hospice to the American Cancer Society, there were a variety of organizations on campus to recruit student volunteers – all are health care related. Dallas County Health and Human Services was one of the organizations here today, with representatives recruiting volunteers for the Dallas County Medical Reserve Corps.
“The Dallas County Medical Reserve Corps is a nationwide organization that functions under the auspices of the U.S. Surgeon General. Here locally, we train medical and non-medical volunteers to respond to public health emergencies or any kind of mass disaster,” said Jess Wade, Emergency Volunteer Program Coordinator. He added that volunteers are not first responders, but if the local medical infrastructure were to be overwhelmed by a disaster, the Medical Reserve Corps can provide support – much like the military reserves.
“Volunteer time is mostly training to deploy for things we hope never happen," he said. “We have a full spectrum of courses within 10 training modules that provide our volunteers training.”
Juliana Rodriquez, RN recently graduated from another nursing program and joined DCMRC as she entered the nursing profession. She is here with Wade to discuss the benefits of volunteering with WCU nursing students.
“It not only helps you professionally but it also improves your resume as a new grad,” she said. “Also, the advanced training for a serious medical emergency is valuable. The experience allows you to network with other professionals and be active in the community."