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FHS student receives Fraser Health service award
By Geron Malbas
Faculty of Health Sciences student Poonam Deol was recently awarded the Fraser Health Above and Beyond Service Delivery Excellence Award. The award recognizes Deol’s continuous dedication and enthusiasm as a leader liaison for the VolunTEEN program at Langley Memorial Hospital, devoting more than 500 hours in the past six years. In her position, she participates in initiatives that enable the program to create a positive and learning-based experience for young volunteers.
“I am particularly proud of the opportunity to revamp the orientation process for new volunteers,” says Deol. “Creating a support system for the team leads and volunteers, in which they are comfortable to ask questions, helps them grow as leaders and bring forth any concerns without hesitation.”
For Deol, she has always been a people person who loves to listen to stories. Because of this, her volunteer experience has allowed her to connect with and help a plethora of unique individuals. Her constant consideration of others at Langley Memorial Hospital has also supplemented her learning experience in FHS.
“I’ve learned that each patient is unique; they all have their own story, background, medical history, needs and wants,” she explains. “This has allowed me to better understand the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to health, which we learn in several courses in FHS. On a first-hand basis, I got the opportunity to see how we can maximize health equity by better understanding those receiving care from a broader lens.”
Throughout Deol’s Bachelor of Science program in FHS, she has identified the importance of recognizing the social determinants of health. Upon being exposed to the importance of social networks and positive environments for health and well-being, she has made it imperative in her role to meet patients that may feel isolated given their inability to participate in their daily social activities. She firmly believes that bringing a positive attitude and a listening ear are the two most important things for patient interactions.
“As a prospective healthcare professional, the most valuable thing I’ve learned is empathy. My volunteer work has allowed me to understand the position and feelings of others, from their lens.”
When Deol graduates, she plans to apply for both medical school and a Master’s of Public Health program. To students that are interested in medicine and public health, she advises immersing in environments with unique people with different perspectives.
“Interact with people from diverse backgrounds and ages. Also, take the time to have conversations with people who don’t have anyone to talk to; this itself can make a major impact on their well-being, and the knowledge that you will gain from the experience is priceless,” she urges. “You only live once, why not make an impact?”
This award announcement was originally made on Fraser Health’s website.