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Longtime Student Volunteer Pursues Career in Health Care

July 27, 2020

Watching old episodes of the ER TV show sparked Aida Almanza’s interest in becoming a doctor someday. Volunteering at UnityPoint Health – Marshalltown only fueled that fire.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced volunteers to stay away from the hospital, it ended four years of service by Almanza. However, she’s headed to Iowa State University as a first-generation college student with her sights set on a healthcare career, and she’s taking countless memories and invaluable experiences with her.

In her time at the hospital, Almanza spent many hours serving alongside volunteer services coordinator Nora Byers, and it’s allowed her to experience (and even job shadow) areas like medical and surgical, supply chain, the foundation and more.

Almanza took a special interest in surgery, where providers like Drs. Michael McCune and Arnold Delbridge and Nova Ebersole, Lead RN in the Operating Room, gave her a first-hand look at what they do.

“I got to watch a full surgery, and it was an amazing experience,” said Almanza. “I really enjoyed it. In the surgery suite, I really love how everybody is just like a family to each other, and it’s kind of like their own little community.”

It was especially gratifying experience for Ebersole, who remains in contact with Almanza.

“Aida is an amazing young woman with an incredible work ethic,” said Ebersole. “She takes time out of her busy schedule to volunteer and absorb all she can about the healthcare field. I am so excited to see what the future holds for her.”

As much as anything, Almanza has been impacted by the approach she’s seen from UnityPoint Health providers.

“I’ve noticed they’re very genuine and caring about their patients,” she said. “We all know no one likes to be in the doctor’s office, but one of my favorite things about the people at UnityPoint Health is they all try to make it feel like home. They try to make people feel welcome with the way they interact with their patients.”

Before she chose Iowa State, Almanza consulted a few of her UnityPoint Health team members for advice. Dr. McCune’s words have resonated with her.

“He was just amazing,” Almanza said. “He even gave me advice and tips because at the time I didn’t know what college I wanted to go to yet. I remember he said it really doesn’t matter where you go. As long as you know what to do with your education, you’ll go far. He really inspired me that way.”

“We at UnityPoint Health – Marshalltown have seen the determination and grit that Aida possesses, and we know she’s going to make great contributions to the medical world,” said Byers. “We all secretly hope that she will come back to her roots upon graduation, too! We are so thankful for Aida’s faithfulness and contributions to our hospital.”

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