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Cool Kid on path to take-charge hospital career

January 12, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
You could say this week's "Cool Kid" is a take-charge kind of guy. He's gone from being a volunteer to a supervisor doing what he loves.

Unlike a lot of other kids his age, Joel Ryan is perfectly comfortable in a hospital environment. He volunteers at St. Joseph Hospital of Orange. He says it keeps him in touch with reaching the goal of becoming a nurse.

"I just see it as more enjoyable to be with someone through thick and thin and helping them through their care," said Joel.

Joel started as a volunteer two years ago. But now he's taking charge of the program as a co-chair.

"Make sure everyone's doing their job. Make sure all of our volunteers are up to speed on different protocols that we need to follow for the hospital. Bringing new volunteers into the program," said Joel.

Whether it's a supervisor or a patient, people can see Joel's got what it takes to make it in this demanding and stressful career.

"He's passionate about volunteering here and he's passionate about becoming a nurse," said Antonietta Treacy, Volunteer Program Coordinator, St. Joseph Hospital. "He's passionate about whatever he does, he has passion. You never have to push Joel."

Right now, Joel's waiting to hear about getting into a nursing program. After that, his goal of helping others will start to become a reality.

"And then I'm hoping to get a job as a nurse here," said Joel. "Then, while I'm a nurse here, work on a master's degree in nursing or just work on some sort of higher education so I can eventually go into hospital management."

Joel Ryan combines care, compassion and determination to make life a little better during difficult times. That makes him our Cool Kid.