Volunteers abound at Vidant Beaufort

Published 3:42 pm Friday, April 8, 2016

Volunteerism is alive and well in Beaufort County, especially among our youth. During the summer months, Vidant Beaufort Hospital has a nine-week junior volunteer program. This program offers high school students the chance to see first-hand the many job opportunities available in the healthcare industry, practice basic job skills and responsibilities, learn the importance of giving back to their community and add to their résumés. The deadline for receiving complete applications for the summer 2016 program was March 18 — we received 109 complete applications.

To be considered for our junior volunteer program, students must be at least 14 years old and have graduated from the eighth grade by June, have at least a “B” average in school, submit recommendations from two teachers, have no disciplinary infractions and make a commitment to complete at least 32 hours of volunteer service during the summer. Junior volunteers serve for nine weeks and fulfill the same responsibilities as our adult volunteers: discharging patients; escorting patients and visitors; delivering flowers, newspapers, dietary trays and mail to patients; delivering inter-departmental and USPS mail throughout the hospital; transporting specimens to the laboratory, pharmaceuticals to nursing stations and medical records throughout the hospital; working in our gift shop; and various clerical jobs. While our volunteers do not help with hands-on patient care, the work that they do offers our clinical staff more time to spend on patient needs, which improves patient care, our main objective.

Last summer, we expanded the opportunities available to our junior volunteers. In addition to volunteer opportunities within the hospital, we placed junior volunteers in three of our physician practices. This pilot program went so well that we have expanded those opportunities this summer to eight physician practices as well as adding five new placements within the hospital. As you can see, the junior volunteer program is not only a wonderful opportunity for the students, the work they do for our patient, visitors and employees is invaluable.

During the other 43 weeks of the year, we are blessed by the service of our loyal and faithful adult volunteers. In 2015, we had 85 active adult volunteers who donated 11,605 hours of service! These volunteers are an essential part of our health care system and play an integral role in enhancing the patient/family experience. In 2015, we also expanded our adult volunteer opportunities with the opening of our new gift shop, the Upfront Gift Corner, which is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. As our responsibilities increase, so does our need for volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering at Vidant Beaufort Hospital, please contact Jan Hamblin at 252-975-4195 or Gayle Morgan at 252-975-4430 to find out more about current openings.

National Volunteer Week is April 10–16, 1016. This week is about “inspiring, recognizing, and encouraging people to engage in their communities.” Please join us in celebrating and recognizing, not only Vidant Beaufort Hospital volunteers, but also volunteers throughout our community.

Jan Hamblin is manager of Volunteer Services at Vidant Beaufort Hospital.