Honoring Our Volunteers
During National Volunteer Week (April 21 – 27) we’re honoring the more than 5,000 dedicated volunteers who give their time and expertise to our not-for-profit network. Across Northern California, volunteers in hospice, home care, hospitals and doctors’ offices help us get to know our patients, learn their unique goals and preferences so we can best meet their needs. Visit every day this week to learn more about some of our amazing volunteers.
For our final National Volunteer Week post we honor Rose Chong, Helen Nolan and Patrick Miska who volunteer at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC). We can’t thank our dedicated volunteers enough for spending their free time with our patients and staff.
Friday, April 26, 2013
Rose Chong is a firecracker. She may look quiet and sweet, but once you spend mere minutes engaging with Rose, you can tell she is a fighter. She has vivacious energy and her motto is “you gotta take the bull by the horns.” Rose decided to volunteer in 1995, after losing her husband to cancer. The compassion of California Pacific Medical Center’s doctors, nurses and staff touched her deeply and motivated her to volunteer. Rose spent the past 18 years volunteering in the Surgical Waiting Room at CPMC’s California Campus. She always greets family and friends of patients with a cheerful smile. The main reason Rose makes such a wonderful volunteer is her ability to relate to family members waiting for their loved ones undergoing procedures. She has been in their shoes before and her empathy is comforting and genuine. Doctors, nurses and staff are all extremely appreciative of the support Rose brings to the unit in her role as a volunteer and her lively spirit.
After Helen Nolan’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and she moved to a convalescent home in Texas, Helen became acutely aware of the crucial impact volunteers made in her life. “I saw what volunteers did for my mother and decided I would volunteer to help others when I retired.” Helen is an energetic 71 year old volunteer who commutes an hour each way to CPMC twice a week. Although she passes several other hospitals on her way to San Francisco, she is committed to volunteering at CPMC because of the outstanding medical services she received over many years when she worked nearby. Through her work volunteering in three positions, the information desk, discharge ambassador and supervising student career exploration tours, Helen has the unique opportunity to view the inner workings of the hospital and interact regularly with patients and staff alike. “Volunteering has really opened my eyes. I was surprised to see the many ways in which the hospital, volunteers and staff are involved in giving back to the community.”
Patrick Miska is a CPMC volunteer at Coming Home Hospice, a residential hospice program providing care for clients and their families facing terminal illness. CHH is located in a beautiful Victorian House, with surrounding gardens, in San Francisco’s Castro District. “Volunteering has changed my life. It’s changed the way I think about the world. I’m on earth for a short period of time. It’s not about me; it’s about making the world a better place.” Patrick takes pride and immense pleasure keeping the gardens looking beautiful for the residents, he calls guests. One of his greatest pleasures is cutting fragrant roses and taking them into the guests. “I get so much love each time I come. I go home feeling peaceful and I think about the people I met. Volunteering at Coming Home Hospice is the greatest commitment in the world if you ask me.”
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Jeff Sady, a Sutter Medical Center volunteer, arrives each week with a smile, greets each staff member and then checks who needs help that day. His colleagues say he’s the type of person who knows what needs to get done and does it before anyone asks him to do it – he really goes the extra mile. He even volunteers to stay late to help the staff catch up with stocking and other duties. He enjoys learning new tasks and asks the staff to show him procedures so he can help out even more. Jeff is truly missed when he is not at the medical center, and we thank him for his dedication!
It is always a delight and a relief to have Bryan Le in our unit. He has been with Sacramento’s Medical Center for nearly three years and has proved himself as a standout volunteer: we even awarded him with the “Sutter Spirit Volunteer of the Quarter.” Bryan performs his duties with delight and does his work with pride. Additionally, he is caring and compassionate to the patients and their families. Bryan always gives his best and goes above and beyond his volunteer duties – he is an absolute joy to have in our unit.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Linda Eastman, a 10 year volunteer veteran, and Shaquil Janif, a new volunteer, spend each Wednesday evening at the Mills-Peninsula Health Services Information Desk. Shaquil, a 17 year old junior at Mills High School, wants to be a surgeon. Linda is a retired nurse of 35 years, and Mills-Peninsula was the first California hospital she worked for. Together this duo offers patients and their families the best possible experience the moment they step in the door.
Whatever the task, big or small, Linda and Shaquil both know that volunteers at Mills-Peninsula are an essential part of the team. Our patients’ experiences are better because of Linda, Shaquil and our entire volunteer force.
Gloria Pracht is a four year veteran volunteer at Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center. Gloria was motivated to volunteer because she wanted to give back to the community. She enjoys being around people, being a part of a women’s group and playing computer games, like solitaire and mahjong. What she finds most rewarding as a volunteer is contributing to patient care. Recently, she was approached in a restaurant by a former patient who recognized her and thanked her for being a volunteer. Thank you, Gloria, for being a volunteer at Sutter!
Hannah Conrey joined Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center as a volunteer in December of 2012. She is a senior in high school and she is considering going to nursing school so she started volunteering. Hannah volunteers three days a week because she enjoys being around the staff and experiencing how a hospital operates. Recently, after Hannah had finished volunteering for the day, she went shopping with her mother in a local grocery store. She was still wearing her volunteer jacket and someone, whom she did not know, approached her and congratulated her on volunteering at Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center. Today we want to thank Hannah for spending your free time with our patients and the team at Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Sometimes it takes a personal experience to get involved with volunteering. Amisha decided to volunteer time at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center because her boyfriend was diagnosed with cancer and received excellent care at Alta Bates Summit. While volunteering she soon discovered that she wanted to pursue a medical degree in endocrinology and the treatment of obesity and diabetes.
The highlight of her day is working with patients and staff, especially Sammy Habtemichael (pictured) and Rolly Fernandez, the surgical services technicians at the medical center. “I think the staff works well as a team and they know how to keep everyone in a light-hearted mood.”
Monday, April 22, 2013
LaVonne Laskey has volunteered at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto since 1965 — devoting 18,000 hours to patients and their families! LaVonne says she loves volunteering at Memorial Medical Center because she loves meeting and working other great volunteers and making made a positive difference in people’s lives. According to LaVonne, “I have been the fortunate one, because it’s here that I made so many good friends. Thanks to you all !”
Kris Mora, an aspiring firefighter and paramedic, has volunteered at Sutter Gould for the past five years. Initially, he decided to help out so that he could improve his communication and problem solving skills. However, the experience with employees and patients was so positive he decided to stay on. Kris said, “I love the atmosphere and the people that work here. I feel good about myself when I am able to help patients that need help. This is why I have not stopped volunteering for Sutter Gould, and I am thankful that I have been given this opportunity to help my community.”
Who knew a routine doctor’s visit would lead Viana Gerke to volunteering at Sutter Gould for the past two years? It happened after Viana brought her mother-in-law to see her primary care physician. After the appointment finished, they went to the car only to discover the battery was dead. A volunteer came to her rescue. He made such a positive impression on her that she asked for an application, and she’s been a dedicated volunteer ever since. Viana said, “I am a people person. I love being able to assist patients when they have a question. I also enjoy just being there to listen if they need to talk.”
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Linda Wright volunteers at Sutter Coast Hospital in Crescent City.
Linda started volunteering at Sutter Coast Hospital in 2006. She has worked in ambulatory surgery, at the front desk and in the gift shop. She says, “I just love coming to work because I love to talk. Talking means learning about people and I have learned to listen—which is very hard to do for a Gemini girl. I also like that each day is a different challenge.” She also shared that in 1997 she won Employee of the Year at the resort hotel where she worked, which had about 600 employees.
We asked Linda why being a volunteer was important to her. She shared, “I joined the volunteers because I was really too young to stop working. I began in ambulatory surgery. When I was asked to switch roles to staffing, I thought this was a great way to enjoy more people. I like staffing because I am able to use my talents as a people person. I enjoy meeting all the employees of the hospital, and everyone that I’ve met was just wonderful.”