Celebrating National Volunteer Week at Parkwest Medical Center
Volunteers at Parkwest Medical Center assist the hospital in many ways, such as escorting patients and visitors to their destinations and serving as support persons for visitors, staff
and physicians, as well as patients and their families. Volunteering is also a way to socialize and create new friendships that continue into retirement. National Volunteer Week is April 17 – 23, 2022. At Parkwest, 90 individuals serve as volunteers in a variety of areas. Despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, volunteers have continued to show up with cheerful attitudes.
“When COVID first came to be, we had to look differently at how we deploy our volunteers,” said Becky Boyd, volunteer and consumer relations manager at Parkwest. “With fewer volunteers, we had to ask those who were here to have more proactive roles.”
For example, information desk volunteers served as greeters, enhancing their ability to answer patients’ questions and give directions. “Many hands make light work,” said Boyd. “We had some volunteers change roles or pick up extra shifts, doing everything they could to help out.” Although masks must be worn in the hospital, Boyd says, “We can’t mask our gratitude for our volunteers over the past couple of years.”
Meet a Few of Our Volunteers
Married couple Kay and Bob Eversole have each been volunteering at Parkwest for three years, in the critical care unit and procedural care unit, respectively. They assist patients and their families by giving directions, explaining Parkwest visitation guidelines and offering support. While they volunteer on separate days of the week and in different units, they share a positive sentiment about volunteering. “One of the things I love about volunteering is being able to touch the lives of people,” Kay says. “Most times in your day-to-day life you don’t get that opportunity, and it can be as simple as a smile, hug or pat on the back.”
Bob concurs, adding, “If you’ve got extra time, it’s very satisfying to volunteer. You get the sense of being helpful and doing something that needs to be done while feeling appreciated and enjoying social interaction.”
Lytle Brown, MD, has also found social interaction to be one of the joys of volunteering during his retirement. After practicing as a general surgeon at Parkwest for more than 30 years, he gets the unique opportunity to see his former patients and coworkers while he volunteers in the surgery waiting room. “Volunteers set a different tone for people coming to the hospital. They can change the patient’s perception of their experience,” Dr. Brown says. “All of the volunteers at Parkwest are excellent ambassadors and are exceptionally good at what they do.”
Volunteer Jackie Henderson, who still works full time, has spent the last 11 years assisting patients and staff in registration. “A huge aspect of volunteering is to support staff and take some of their load away,” Henderson says. Helping escort patients to various locations or assisting patients at the registration kiosk frees staff members to assist the next patient.
Community volunteer Karen Helton also wanted to support healthcare workers to the best of her ability. When the Delta variant of COVID-19 began raging across the country in the summer of 2021, she wanted the healthcare workers at Parkwest to know the community sup- ported them and was grateful for their efforts. She began purchasing snacks and delivering them to Parkwest weekly, treating two to four departments each visit. Now she is delivering treats only for holidays and special occasions, but is grateful to be a bright light to those giving so much of themselves.
In recognition of National Volunteer Week, Parkwest shares appreciation for all the volunteers and their flexibility in serving in new roles and ever-changing conditions. Their commitment and compassion toward patients, staff and the community go a long way in showing kindness and care in many areas through- out the hospital.
If you’re interested in volunteering, including filling new roles such as greeters at the main entrance, Dogwood Surgery Entrance and the breast center, visit TreatedWell.com/Volunteers for more information.
College Students Volunteer in Emergency Department
Jack Nadaud plans to start medical school this fall. He currently volunteers in Parkwest’s Emergency Department helping staff with intake, moving patients, stocking supplies and making sure the patients are comfortable. He has helped during the pandemic, and gained practical experience and knowledge in the process. “Volunteering is an awesome way to get experience,” Nadaud says. “It’s different than shadowing a doctor or working in an outpatient setting. You are often behind-the-scenes and assist directly in a department with patients and staff.” College students interested in volunteering in our Emergency Department must be 18 years or older and be able to commit to at least one four-hour shift per week for six
months. For more information on volunteer opportunities available to college students, visit TreatedWell.com/Volunteers or call (865) 373-1556.
If you are an early retiree, empty nester or stay-at-home parent, volunteering could be a great fit for you!
Volunteer opportunities include:
- Surgery Waiting
- Emergency Department
- Main Entrance Greeter
- Dogwood Entrance Greeter
- Breast Center Greeter
- Procedural Care Waiting
- Critical Care Waiting
- Admitting/Registration Kiosk
- Materials Management
- Lost and Found
- Covenant Health Therapy Center – West Knoxville