Oncology volunteer program at St. Joseph’s a “Three-Fold Success”

Eureka, Ca., (KIEM)- April Alexander is an oncology social worker at St. Joseph’s Hospital; she appeared on the cover of the nationally distributed trade magazine Oncology Issues. She was featured for her work in installing a collaboration between Humboldt State University’s Social Work program and the hospital’s oncology department.

For a class at HSU students must complete a certain number of volunteer hours. They can now fill that requirement, helping nurses to serve patients with cancer at the Peals Family Chemotherapy Center.

“The students all really love being part of the clinical environment, and for some who maybe haven’t thought of it can generate an interest in them for doing something medical in the future.” Alexander explains.

The program isn’t just benefiting students. Participants agree, it’s also a boon for the nursing staff. Nurses are often pressed for time, and the volunteers ease their load a little. Students bring patients things like blankets  and drinks. They’re also on hand to talk with the men and women receiving care, which can prove invaluable.

“I didn’t think a lot of the patients would be very talkative and they really are, so I have a really good time just talking to them. I want to make them feel welcome and like this is a safe space.” HSU student, Jacqueline Santos says.

“It’s not just about bringing pillows and drinks and comfort, it is very helpful, but its also that ear.” Leah McCrane, infusion and chemotherapy nurse talked about the program from her perspective.

“It has benefited the students and it has benefited the cancer program and the staff… so I feel like its a 3-fold success.” Alexander said.