Exploring Catholic Healthcare

As a teaching hospital, St. Vincent Charity educates hundreds of medical residents, interns and students each year in both the science and the art of healthcare. Building relationships with patients is part of that care. For the past few years, that education has expanded into the high school level through a program with Saint Ignatius High School.

Sophomore students have the opportunity to explore work in a Catholic hospital through a semester- long service program. These young men assist in the Admitting and Oncology Departments, checking in new patients and getting them to their scheduled appointments.

Sister Mary Ann Mozser, CPPS, Volunteer Coordinator, said the real value of the program is more than learning the mechanics of a hospital, but in learning to treat all patients with dignity. St. Vincent Charity’s diverse population—patients from a wide range of economic, education and religious backgrounds, as well as those suffering mental illness and substance abuse—helps to teach the young men the importance of recognizing all as the children of God.

My Grandma and Grandpa were always in and out of the hospital when I was growing up. I saw how hard it was for them and the care they got. I wanted to do something that helped other people like my grandparents were helped. —Michael Donahue, Saint Ignatius High School

“We ask the boys when they are here to do two things. First, recognize that what they are doing is a continuation of the healing mission of Jesus. Second, we ask they remember that every person is made in the image of God and to recognize the dignity of each person,” Sister Mary Ann said.

Student intern Michael Donahue said the program has taught him how to treat all types of people with respect. Many are coming into the hospital for surgery that day so they are often sad or nervous. Others are unable to read and, therefore, might be anxious because they do not understand why they are there. Michael said the program has helped him learn to take a few minutes to talk with each patient, to help them figure out what they need and in the short time he is with each patient, to try to make them feel comfortable.

Michael selected St. Vincent Charity as his first choice for his sophomore internship not necessarily because he plans a career in medicine, but because of the influence his grandparents had on him.