Four physician assistant students were honored by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s office at a reception on April 13 for their volunteerism with Hospice of Philadelphia. Third year PA students Tanner McCalley PA’12 and Gabriella Moura BI’12 along with second-year students Dianna Casallas BI’13 and Selma Mustafa PA’13 were recognized for their “commitment to the objectives of the program, or [they have] provided the highest number of volunteer hours within your group.”
As part of the PA program, the students are required to devote a minimum of one hour per week each semester to hospice patients and their families. Students also keep a journal of their experiences.
“Being a hospice volunteer has been very beneficial to our classically young, immature future medical professionals,” said Janet E DeSipio, director of Physician Assistant Studies. “It provides exposure in death and dying as well as the opportunity to develop communication skills with patients and their families.”
DeSipio launched the program two years with the assistance of agency volunteer coordinator Valerie Turner to utilize hospice as a means of gaining patient contact and developing interpersonal skills as a component of the second-year PA courses. The students are required to go through hospice training before visiting both outpatient and inpatient clients.
In addition, the PA Club, a service and professional awareness social club, raised $1,500 over the course of this academic year it presented to Hospice of Philadelphia at the reception for much needed supplies. Watch coverage from 6ABC.