Project Healthcare (PHC) is an immersive and intensive summer volunteer program for enthusiastic, inspired, and dedicated undergraduate, graduate, recent graduates (within 2 years) and post-baccalaureate students interested in healthcare. PHC is an unprecedented healthcare experience offered to non-medical students. PHC offers a comprehensive view into emergency medicine, providing participants with a unique and authentic healthcare experience, and the exposure they need to make educated career choices. Participants rotate through various clinical areas of the Bellevue Hospital Emergency Department: Adult, Pediatric, and Psychiatric Emergency Rooms; Emergency Ward/Trauma ICU; Urgent Care; Social Work offices; Operating Room; Cardiac Catheterization Lab; and join the FDNY for an ambulance ride-along. At the start of the program, participants are paired with a Resident Mentor, whom they shadow and gain professional guidance from throughout the summer. Participants engage with the greater Bellevue and NYC communities by organizing a community health fair, presenting end-of-summer projects to NYU/Bellevue faculty and staff, and volunteering for optional programs, such as Bellevue Reach Out and Read (ROAR), and the Program for Survivors of Torture (PSOT).
Weekly meetings/lectures are a staple of Project Healthcare (modeled to reflect a current medical curriculum). The meetings contain 5 components (Guest Speaker, Objective, Activity, Reading Materials and Discussion). These meetings aim to create cohesion with what participants experience on shift and contain various educational components – bridging current Emergency Medicine practice with classroom learning. Additionally, these meetings provide participants with the opportunity to discuss medical issues in the community, reflect on shift experiences with 50 PHC peers, and hear from accomplished speakers. These speakers (such as NYU and Bellevue faculty and staff, authors, administrators, residents, and medical students) speak to topics within an extensive curriculum, including Homelessness in the ED, Quality and Safety Metrics, Healthcare Management and Policy, Education in Healthcare, and Diversity in Medicine. The meetings are punctuated by a Social Medicine course taught by an attending physician from the Bellevue Emergency Department.
PHC is a very demanding summer program, requiring a great deal of commitment from the participants. The 2018 program will begin on June 4th and end August 10th, for a total of ten weeks. Participants must be present for the entire duration of Project Healthcare (i.e. From Monday, June 4th until Friday, August 10th).
The first week of the program provides an extensive five-day orientation that includes an introduction to the Bellevue Hospital Emergency Department and additional rotation areas, informational lectures from the chiefs and/or other representatives from each department, CPR certification and other trainings and courses necessary to work at Bellevue Hospital. For the remaining nine weeks of the program, participants can expect to work on average 25 hours a week in scheduled shifts, and should plan on working additional hours to prepare health fair and end-of-summer projects. Participants are also required to attend the weekly meetings/lectures.
Participants receive their shift schedule for the entire summer during orientation week. Project Healthcare mimics the intensity of a life in healthcare; participants are required to work nights, weekends, and holidays. Clinical rotations are divided into three 5-hour shifts: morning (8:00 AM – 1:00 PM), afternoon (1:00 PM – 6:00 PM), and evening (6:00 PM – 11:00 PM). Participants should expect to work at least 4 to 5 randomly assigned shifts per week. Special accommodations cannot be made for any participants whatsoever.
During shifts, participants perform structured tasks to assist doctors, nurses, social workers, patients, and administrators. These tasks include, but are not limited to, making up stretchers, stocking supplies, and transporting patients. But most importantly, volunteers act as patient advocates, performing duties such as talking with patients, supporting patients, making phone calls on behalf of patients, monitoring patients’ length of stays, and interpreting. All of these tasks provide an invaluable service to Bellevue Hospital, while simultaneously offering participants the unparalleled opportunity to observe and assist with clinical care.
Ms. Priscilla A. Daniels, Director
Department of Volunteer Services, Bellevue Hospital Center First Avenue and 27th Street
New York, NY 10016