Imagine teen volunteers in a healthcare setting. Admit it: Your first impression probably centered on teenagers pushing carts, delivering flowers or books, or escorting therapy dogs to patients’ rooms. But in the Medical Center Health System in Odessa, Texas, teenagers did more than push carts – they pushed the proverbial teen volunteer envelope to help develop an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) or Electronic Health Record (EHR) volunteer interdisciplinary team within the health care system.
In this feature story, Patricia Q. Garcia, Director of Volunteer Services and Community Relations Coordinator at the health system, highlights how teens became involved in developing the EMR and EHR systems. She explains the benefits derived from this youth volunteer initiative, and why the administration supported this volunteer-driven program. According to Garcia, this initiative was not only a success, “it serves as a best practice for future volunteer-led programs.” And it helps illustrate how to engage, value, and retain tomorrow’s leaders by working with teen volunteers.