Rhonda Anderson RN,DNSc(h), FAAN,FACHE
As I reflect on our profession and my professional colleagues contributions to patients, families, and the community I became passionate about continuing to give back to our community through volunteering.
I would like to start a special interest group of nurses passionate about giving back to their community through volunteering and sharing of their time and talents with those less fortunate.
I reviewing community agencies who have volunteers as part of their team I found our first partnership with Hospice of the Valley. Below please find their varied volunteer opportunities and a testimonial from a nurse volunteer.
Please note that their volunteer activities and opportunities are in a variety of areas and they look to the following as the commitment of their volunteers:
It is helpful to patients and families to have a volunteer working with them about 4 hours a week. This provides for them consistency in assistance and support but there can be some flexibility in that commitment.
There is an orientation for the volunteer, providing comprehensive education on ethics, history of Hospice and Palliative care and Death and Dying. This is provided by the Hospice clinical and non clinical staff at no cost to the volunteer.
As I learned about the diverse areas of need for volunteers I became very excited!! There is something for everyone and I would like to share those with you:
1.) Palliative care units --(10 located across the valley) need volunteers to greet and support patients and families through preparing meals; creating a home like environment; offering companionship and just being present with them.
2.) Ryan House -- needs volunteers to read and play with children who are their so the childs family can have some respite time. Volunteers also provide support and practicle assistance to siblings and the pediatric patient with complex medical conditions.
3.) Gardiner Home Palliative Care Unit--(patients in this setting are experiencing dementia) has the biggest need for volunteers to use sensory stimulation and other activities for those patients. Volunteers receive additional education for this very
special and meaningful work.
4.) Patients at home -- volunteers are companions; give respite to the caregiver; and provide transportation for errands and doctors appointments.
Shelly Oliver a retired nurse is volunteering at Gardiner House and states "nurse volunteers can support the clinical staff by providing observations that the other non clinical volunteers may not notice; nurses volunteers also have the distinct advantage of understanding the patients needs." Shelly also states "It is GREAT to say to a family who can go home and rest--I am going to be here with your loved one". Shelly says she feels so lucky that she is able to do this work.
Each of us has a passion to give back to others beyond our daily paid work. Volunteering is one way to give back to those in need and to families who need rest.
I ask each of you to search your heart and mind and if you so desire to volunteer join me in starting a nurses special interest group and volunteer in any of the above areas with Hospice of the Valley.
For more information you may contact Hospice at 602-636-6336 for more information or apply online hov.org/volunteer.
I am excited for us as we support these patients and their families through volunteering!