Spotted in the Volunteer Services office at Mary Washington Hospital: two
Project SEARCH interns, Joel and Jonathan, hard at work filling 10ml spray
bottles with hand sanitizer. How they came to be doing this on a Thursday
after lunch is a great story involving A. Smith Bowman Distillery, Mary
Washington Healthcare (MWHC) Supply Chain Operations, and the MWHC Innovation
Council, a team tasked with finding innovative ways to source items in
short supply during COVID-19.
In the height of the pandemic, A. Smith Bowman Distillery donated hundreds
of bottles of hand sanitizer to MWHC to be used wherever they were needed.
Our Supply Chain reached out to the Innovation Council for ideas on how
best to use and distribute the sanitizer.
After experimenting with several types of spray bottles, the council chose
a plastic bottle holding 10ml of sanitizer. They designed a label for
the bottle and got busy filling bottles to hand out at the entrances to
the hospitals. The council quickly realized this would be an ongoing project
and that they needed help!
Thankfully in August, volunteers and student interns were cleared to return
to the hospital, which included our Project SEARCH interns. Project SEARCH
is a national program preparing young people with disabilities for success
in integrated, competitive employment. We partner with Stafford County
Schools’ five area high schools to provide real-life job training
for area students.
Three of our interns from last year were able to return this year to complete
their training, and we gained four new interns to join them. This year’s
class is rotating in volunteer services, food services, environmental
services, pharmacy, central sterile, ICU and same day surgery, engineering,
and medical imaging. Project SEARCH instructor, Stacey Vastano, helps
the interns learn social, interpersonal, and job-specific skills, while
also encouraging them to think beyond their internship to full-time employment
Joel, a Stafford High School graduate, is currently interning in medical
imaging and volunteer services. He spends several afternoons each week
filling sanitizer bottles with the help of intern Jonathan, who some may
recognize from last year. Jonathan, a Colonial Forge High School graduate,
was able to return this year to continue his training and is currently
interning with Central Sterile when he’s not helping Joel.
The young men have a great assembly line system going, allowing them to
fill several hundred spray bottles each week. It was tricky at the beginning
as they worked through how best to fill the bottles, but the pharmacy
team came to the rescue with a 10ml syringe that allows Joel to measure
the exact amount of liquid for each bottle.
Jonathan takes his time–quality over quantity, he says!–to
roll each label on precisely so it doesn’t wrinkle or fold.
Thank you to our interns for the important work they are doing, and to
Stafford County Schools for partnering with us to provide Project SEARCH.