Juniors Mckenna Bendle and Kristin Wilson dedicate their summer to the Missouri Baptist Medical Center


Courtesy of Mckenna Bendle

Dressed in dark blue scrubs, juniors Mckenna Bendle and Kristin Wilson get ready for a day of work at the Missouri Baptist Medical Center. Bendle worked in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) while Wilson volunteered in the Outpatient Surgery Unit. “The most rewarding part is actually seeing the how the nurses and surgeons are able to take a patient, perform surgery on them, and help them in a way that they couldn't do themselves,” Wilson said. “Seeing the way patients are so happy when they find out the surgery went just as planned and that they are on their way to a successful recovery is so outstanding.”

While some students spent their summer vacation relaxing on a tropical beach somewhere or saving money with a part-time job, juniors McKenna Bendle and Kristin Wilson decided to improve their medical skills inside the walls of the Missouri Baptist Medical Center (MoBap) instead.

“I’m planning to go into medicine for my job in the future, and I thought it would be a good experience to put myself in a hospital environment to acclimate to the atmosphere,” Bendle said.

Bendle and Wilson spent at least four hours a week helping out in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) and the Outpatient Surgery Unit with patients who have undergone surgical procedures.

“I love being able to know that I can help nurses, who are very hardworking men and women,” Bendle said. “Volunteering and being able to gain that real-life experience at the same time is incredibly rewarding.”

Working at MoBap allowed Wilson to recognize the significance of the work done by the medical staff on a daily basis.

“[Volunteering] taught me that nurses and doctors can make such a difference in someone’s life, even if it is with the smallest thing,” Wilson said. “In this field, it is so important to be on top of your responsibilities and work quickly all the time.”

While Wilson learned the importance of being quick on her feet, she still found balancing patients and other responsibilities difficult.

“It can be a little challenging to keep up with all the patients coming in while assisting those who just came back from surgery all at the same time. Obviously, the nurses are the ones actually administering the medicine and watching [the patients’] numbers, but on a busy day, it can be hard for everyone to make sure they stay on top of everything and everyone,” Wilson said.

Being able to see what actually happens inside the hospital is so important and helpful to help you decide if that environment is right for you.”

— junior Kristin Wilson

Despite the challenges, Bendle is grateful for her time with patients and the work she completed.

“In the PACU, patients are just coming out from anesthesia from their surgery, and when they say even just a small ‘thank you’ for bringing them ice or a warm blanket or whatever they may need, it makes you feel like you’re useful and appreciated,” Bendle said.

Because they were able to learn new things and independently explore their medical field of choice, Bendle and Wilson both recommend involving yourself in your field of interest as early on as possible.

“If you are going into the medical field, I would absolutely recommend this. Being able to see what actually happens inside the hospital is so important and helpful to help you decide if that environment is right for you,” Wilson said. “If you ever have an opportunity like this, I would definitely take it.”