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Hospital program helps high school students get head-start on nursing career

PETERSBURG, Va. -- A lot of people working a full-time job at a hospital get up as early as Taylor Jenkins. What makes Taylor stand out is the fact she's not paid to be there. She's a high school student who volunteers.

"Four years ago, when I was going into high school I was like, I might as well get my foot in the door; see what it's like in a hospital setting," she said,

Taylor Jenkins

Taylor is getting a hands-on experience through Southside Regional Medical Center's Junior Volunteer Program.

"I’m not only hoping they may go into nursing as a career," nurse manager Cindy Sumner said, "but to give them an opportunity to see all professions that make a hospital a hospital."

In just a few short weeks, you can see what this program can do for the volunteers.

"Their shyness has gone away," volunteer manager Lisa Mason said. "They're doing everything, you know, they're just real confident in walking the call hall, walking through rounds, doing things out of their comfort zone."

Carla Torres is a CNA now, but she also went through the same volunteer program when she was in high school.

"I've also, with the hospital, gone to Honduras as a translator," Torres said. "If it wasn't for Southside, I wouldn't have done all this stuff."

Taylor's not exactly sure what she wants to do yet, but it sounds like she's on the right track.

"I was thinking nurse practitioner or a PA or maybe even a doctor," she said.

Building Better Minds with Rob Cardwell airs Wednesdays at 6 a.m.