During my time at Villanova, I sought an interdisciplinary education focused on multiculturalism in order to become a well-rounded medical professional. My background in Cultural Studies and Healthcare Ethics contribute to my broad understanding of cultural difference. These experiences have helped me to be knowledgeable and affable around many different types of people and in unique cultural settings. My interdisciplinary and multicultural perspective also provides me with a unique lens to identify inequities or inaccuracies and to provide feasible and sensitive solutions. My passion for medicine and public health drove me to get involved with an organization that prides itself on compassion and service-oriented end of life care. I was thrilled when I learned about the opportunity to volunteer with Hospice through Villanova’s health professions advising department.
I sought to further develop this perspective by volunteering with Hospice. Participating in this program offered me a unique opportunity to meet directly with patients navigating the complexities of dying, and to cultivate my identity as a caregiver. This program directly aligned with what I have learned through my concentration in Ethics and Healthcare, and specifically through an ethics course I took on “death and dying.” The Hospice Program was a special way for me to utilize the skills I learned through this concentration, and was also a way to develop the critical skills surrounding palliative / end-of-life care that I feel are often overlooked by many physicians. Volunteering through hospice has helped me to truly understand the critical importance of proper end-of-life care. Not only should we focus on curing the disease of our patients, but should also focus on making people comfortable and ensuring that they are loved when they are close to death. I feel that I truly grew as a volunteer with Hospice and I am confident that this experience will make me a more compassionate and sensitive healthcare provider.
During my time as a hospice volunteer, I met with the same patient every week from the beginning of the program to the end of the program. I have learned a lot about the complexities of old age, and how social class can determine what kind of end of life care is made available to people.
Without any exposure to the field, I always thought that I would not like working in geriatrics. However, after volunteering the entirety of my senior year (2015-2016) with Hospice, I have learned the critical importance of end-of-life care. I have learned that I actually enjoy being present with those who are close to death, and I am thankful that my presence can be a source of comfort for the patients that I visit.
Furthermore, my time volunteering with Hospice highlighted for me the value of personal integrity. Integrity for me means not taking shortcuts, not getting ahead at the expense of others; but giving without expecting anything in return. I strive to live each day with personal integrity, and my hospice service experience will provide a foundation on which I can become a positive leader of a multidisciplinary team charged with delivering the highest quality healthcare to my patients.