Make Volunteering Your New Year’s Resolution

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Sanna Agombar (left) and Kevin Herman (right) are TBRHSC volunteers.
Sanna Agombar (left) and Kevin Herman (right) are TBRHSC volunteers.
Sanna Agombar (left) and Kevin Herman (right) are TBRHSC volunteers.
Sanna Agombar (left) and Kevin Herman (right) are TBRHSC volunteers.

THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – It’s never too early to start thinking about new year’s resolutions, especially if one of those resolutions is to enhance patient care as a volunteer at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC).

Nicole Moorey, Volunteer Coordinator, encourages those interested in volunteering to apply now. Visit our website or call the office for an application package. “After the application, there is the interview, TB skin test, and orientation. It can take up to about 4 weeks.”

With 25 different service areas and opportunities in administrative and clinic support, reception and greeting, and patient care, there really is something for everyone. “Placement depends on an individual’s interests, skills, and availability,” says Moorey.

TBRHSC is always looking for committed, motivated, and reliable individuals who want to help make TBRHSC a better place for patients, visitors, staff and our community. Volunteers are typically asked to make a minimum commitment of 6 months, working 2 to 3 hours per shift, once per week. Volunteers do not pay for parking while on duty.

Below are a few areas you might be interested in, particularly if you are available during the day.

HELP (Hospital Elder Life Program) is a new program that aims to improve the quality of life for elderly acute care patients who are showing signs of confusion and dementia. Specially trained volunteers, 18 years and older, may take the patient for a walk, encourage eating at meal times and provide some mental and/or social interaction.

Surgical Unit 3A is another new initiative offering volunteers the opportunity to carry out meaningful activities for post-surgical patients. This is a quailty experience for the volunteer and improves the experience for patients.
If you enjoy helping people and keeping active – another great new year’s resolution – then Information Ambassador may be the perfect opportunity for you. Information Ambassadors walk a designated route around the hallways of TBRHSC looking for visitors who may need assistance in finding their way.

Seasons Gift Shop is so much more than just a retail outlet. “It’s like an oasis in the middle of the hospital,” says Liz Straiton, Manager, Volunteer Services. “Volunteer sales staff at Seasons provide a diversion, where patients, visitors, and staff can come to shop or just chat.” Funds are given back to the hospital to buy equipment or support the Exceptional Cancer Care Campaign.It’s clear that volunteers at TBRHSC enhance patient care and make a tremendous difference to patients and families, but what’s in it for them?

Volunteers are rewarded with the satisfaction of a job well done and the sense that they’ve made a meaningul contribution. They also develop important skills such as leadership, communication, teamwork, organization, and time management.

Volunteering is also a great way to get exercise and make friends. “There’s a caring that develops among volunteers,” says Straiton. “They do social things together and phone each other.”

Moorey says volunteers tell her that they receive more than what they give. “They tell me that there’s not a day here that they don’t learn something new or have a very meaningful experience with a patient,” she says. “And it’s the same for staff like us who get to know the volunteers. Not a day goes by that we don’t learn from these wonderful people and their insights about life.”

Straiton agrees. “We have volunteers from 16 years old to 90, spanning 4 or 5 generations,” she says. “They all have one common goal – to be there for the patient.”

For more information, contact Volunteer Services at 684-6266. You can apply online at: bit.ly/TBRHSCVolApp

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