Nags Head, NC – For high school students Foster Mattingly (left) and Alex Mathews (right), the summer isn’t all about fun in the sun: it is an opportunity to learn more about a medical career while giving back as a student volunteer at The Outer Banks Hospital.

“I’ve always wanted to do something in medicine,” remarks Mattingly, a rising junior-year student at Cape Hatteras. “I enjoy doing something for someone else.”

While her friends are sunning on the sand, Mattingly is delighted to be focused on something she sees as a future career. She is no stranger to volunteering, having spent some time as a student volunteer with the National Park Service. But the medical field is where her heart lies. “This is something I want to do,” she remarks.

According to Kathy Tate, Director of Nutrition Services Department and Volunteers, Mattingly and Mathews are among 23 student volunteers this year. She adds, “Some are college-aged and some are high school students like Mattingly and Matthews: all are goal-minded.”

Matthews, a volunteer from Virginia, also has her sights set on a future in medicine. “This experience makes me want to be in the medical field even more,” she says. “Helping people makes me feel better about myself.”

Tate is familiar with this sentiment. She has seen volunteers with similar plans go onward to pursue a medical career. Some have even returned to work at The Outer Banks Hospital.

“One of our former student volunteers now works in ultrasound,” she comments. “And another student volunteer went on to work in the Peace Corps, came back to work in food services and then the emergency room before going on to become a physician assistant.”

Although the summer-time student volunteer program is closed for this year, those interested in volunteering can contact Kathy Tate for information about the 2011 program.

“The best part of this program is how the students experience the hospital hands-on, and learn more about us,” says Tate. “It changes them. And together we all benefit from their experiences.”

The Outer Banks Hospital is a 21 bed acute-care facility offering the latest in healthcare advances and technology, including the best in emergency, surgery, birthing, imaging, diagnostic, therapeutic services and inpatient care. A not-for-profit critical access hospital, The Outer Banks Hospital is a partnership between University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina and Chesapeake Regional Medical Center. The mission of The Outer Banks Hospital is to enhance the quality of life for the residents and visitors of Dare County and the surrounding region by promoting wellness and providing the highest quality healthcare services.