“I feel like I am helping make an impact during COVID-19, even if it's a small one,” says Stephanie Elston, Satellite Healthcare’s first community volunteer. “It does save time for the techs and the nurses because they don't have to worry about doing wellness screenings as people enter the treatment center.”
Born and raised in San Jose, California, Elston is currently studying to become a nurse at Mission College while taking care of her six year old daughter and working full time. She joined the volunteer program as a way to gain exposure in the medical field.
She originally wanted to go into the financial field, as she has her undergraduate degree in the area, but she realized that she felt the best when she was helping people. Personal experiences when being in the hospital allowed her the opportunity to observe the day-to-day tasks of the nurses. “I really saw how the nurses worked and how they took care of people, and I was like, ‘Oh, I want to do that,’” Elston recalls. She details that the COVID-19 pandemic was what propelled her in the direction of the medical field – particularly volunteering for Satellite.
Elston expressed to one of her friends, a Satellite employee, that she wanted to find a volunteer position in a healthcare setting. Her friend asked around the office and found out that Satellite was recruiting weekend volunteers. Since it perfectly fit her schedule, Elston filled out an application and was soon after accepted as a volunteer. She initially thought volunteering was going to be difficult, but later found that the staff were very helpful and made her feel welcome. Through her time at the clinics, she was able to learn more about the systems that comprise dialysis care and how dialysis is important to the patients and kidney disease community. Learning about the process of dialysis was “eye-opening,” she describes. “That’s why we’re here, to help out and make sure we can keep these places open during COVID.”
Her advice for those considering to volunteer is to realize the importance of communicating. One of the most important parts about working with dialysis patients, she noticed from her time at the clinic, is forming relationships with the patients and their families. To do this, one must not only communicate with the patients, but with the staff members as well: “Communicate with the staff about things you may need help with, or with Paula (the Volunteer Program Specialist) for scheduling, that kind of thing,” she explains.
Overall, Elston feels gratified that she has had the opportunity to serve her community and contribute to the essential care of so many dialysis patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Learn more about the Satellite Healthcare volunteer program and to apply, visit www.saetllitehealthcare.com/volunteer.