As we celebrate National Hospital Week, we would be remiss if we did not mention the important role hospital volunteers play at our medical facilities. Volunteers like Bill Smith, who has served at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital since 2017.
“I enjoy meeting and interacting with people,” Bill says about volunteering. “If I can make what is sometimes a nervous or stressful patient situation into something better or easier, then I’ve had a good day as a volunteer.”
Bill has vivid memories of the swift changes that came when the nation went into lockdown last year at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our volunteer services leader, Christine, came to my work area on March 12, 2020 to tell us this would be the last day for volunteers,” Bill recalls. “This was due to extensive safety measures being rolled out… Of course, I naively thought we would be back in a few weeks. When I was recently able to return and help, I was ecstatic!”
Bill volunteers in the endoscopy department, supporting patients and their loved ones at the welcome desk and waiting room. He collects paperwork and helps with patient check-ins. He confirms that they have a driver to take them home safely, and he answers any non-medical questions they have. When their procedures are over, he transports patients to their ride home. Overall, he assists the endoscopy team with any tasks or support they may need.
“I was so touched by the endoscopy and volunteer teams during the lockdown. They periodically reached out to me and other volunteers to check in on how we were doing and to tell us they were looking forward to our return,” Bill shares. “Christine and her team do a great job communicating with us, even during the most challenging times. They make us feel needed and appreciated. I can’t imagine working with and helping, a finer, nicer and more professional team than the endoscopy and volunteer services teams at St. Mary’s.”