07 Feb INTRODUCING FEBRUARY BUDDY OF THE MONTH: KAYLEE BELL
The month of February is often associated with love, which is not surprising since it hosts Valentine’s Day and International Friendship Month. While the modern English language uses the word “love” to describe various forms, ancient Greek philosophy differentiated the conceptual forms of love through distinct words. One of these words, agape, was defined by philosopher and theologian Thomas Jay Oord as “an intentional response to promote well-being when responding to that which has generated ill-being.” It was this kind of love that inspired Kaylee Bell to apply for StudentsCare’s Hospital Buddy Program. “My little brother was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was eight-years-old,” Kaylee shared, “It was a huge change in our family to where many of us felt lost, confused, or even angry. I later realized that I wanted to help other children having to go through tough times.” Since September 2019, Kaylee has been a student buddy in the Hospital Buddy Program at the Michigan State University Chapter.
After her first shift at Sparrow Hospital, Kaylee’s desire to help patients and families going through difficult times came to fruition. Kaylee shared, “My favorite memory was my first day as a volunteer. The first patient room I visited was a set of newborn twin girls. I rocked and sang to them while their mother took a much-needed break. They made my first day unforgettable, and I was excited to continue my journey as a volunteer.” Throughout her time as a volunteer, Kaylee has brought many smiles and laughs to patients, especially when she gets to play her favorite game. “I love to play make-believe with patients. Fighting off pirates and playing princesses are my two favorites,” Kaylee said.
As Kaylee continues to visit patients, she “hopes to gain patient interaction skills so that [she] can be a great pediatrician in the future.” Her goal is “to be able to walk into a room and instantly make any child feel safe and comfortable.” A 2016 American Psychiatric Association review of empathy in medical training shows that healthcare has become increasingly focused on business and technology instead of patient relationships, contributing to an empathy gap. Kaylee, however, is already gaining insight into the importance of empathy in medicine. “StudentsCare has taught me more about empathy and compassion. We come together as a support network for both ourselves and our patients.”
Thank you, Kaylee, for your dedication to StudentsCare. Without students like you, we would not be able to share the care.