AUAA… Episode 59 – Volunteering – Penn State Health

>> From Penn State Health, this is Ask Us
Anything About Volunteering at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. I’m Scott Gilbert. Well, happy National Healthcare Volunteer
Week. That makes it a great time to talk about the
wide variety of volunteer positions here at the medical center, and they meet a wide range
of interests, skills and backgrounds. And we might even help you learn how you might
fit in here at the medical center with your volunteer work. Here to help us do that is Tracy Johnsen. She’s Manager of Volunteer Services here at
the medical center. Tracy, thank you for your time today. Let’s start by talking about the breadth of
work that volunteers do here at Hershey Medical Center. Probably a little tough to quantify, isn’t
it? >> Oh, definitely. We have volunteers in at least over 60 different
positions and departments throughout the whole medical center, even just here on the campus
as well as 30 Hope Drive. We have volunteers that help us out over at
the Mulder Senior Center. We recently did an article about their doll
making that they do for the facility which is always very well received. >> Yeah, we’ll link to that here in the comments
below this Facebook post. And by the way if you have any questions feel
free to add them to the comment field. We can ask Tracy whether it’s live here as
part of the interview or even after the fact. But give us a sampling of kind of, again,
some of those various volunteer jobs that exist here at Hershey Medical Center. >> We have many positions throughout the organization,
whether they’re clerical kind of behind the scenes support that they provide to different
departments or they’re hands on sort of helping out with patient experience, and not necessarily
patient care but patient experience and helping to make the day a little bit brighter for
patients and their families while they’re here at the hospital. We have positions in child life, many people
often ask about positions over at the Children’s Hospital, and we do have a few positions over
there. We have positions in our emergency department. I’m trying to think everywhere, our gift shop
of course. Patient experience is a big position here
at the hospital that we have a lot of volunteers in as well, pharmacy. >> And speaking as the person whose job it
is to fill all those volunteer positions, what areas are in the greatest need would
you say? >> Definitely the emergency department is
one of those areas that we’re looking to ramp up our volunteer support in. A lot of times that can be an aware where
people wait a very long time to be seen, and having some extra support to offer some blankets
or pillows or even to sit and chat with somebody who is waiting for a while to be seen that
would be a great support for that department. Additionally the gift shop is always looking
for support there. A lot of things that people don’t know about
volunteering for the gift shop, a lot of times people will say, oh, I worked all my life
in retail, I don’t want to help out in the gift shop. Our gift shop, everything that we make at
the gift shop comes back to the hospital. Last year in fiscal year 2018 the gift shop
gave back to the hospital $272,000 that went to many different programs throughout the
hospital. >> That’s fantastic. Well, I understand you’re also looking for
volunteers to assist with way finding. Because every once in a while people can kind
of get lost trying to find that room or that appointment. So how are volunteers going to help with that? >> Absolutely. We are a very large structure. So when people come into that front door and
they ask where to go, and they say go down to the lion, nobody really knows quite where
that lion is until they get there. >> The lion in the rotunda, have you been
there? If you can find the lion some people say you
can get anywhere. But some people can’t find the lion so that’s
what these volunteers will do. >> Absolutely. We’re looking for volunteers who feel comfortable
to be stationed in strategic parts of the organization to help individuals find their
way around because it is such a large place with many different entrances and exits, and
trying to find your way around can be very difficult. So having that extra person that can walk
somebody to someplace is always nice. >> Great. And I’m sure there are people watching now
who will say, wow, that’s something I could do. Well, we’ll certainly have information for
you a bit later and in the comments section about how you can volunteer. But right now you’re watching Ask Us Anything
About Volunteering at Penn State Health, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Tracy Johnsen is our Manager of Volunteer
Services here. She welcomes your questions and your comments. Just add them to the comment field below this
Facebook post and we’ll make sure we get you an answer. I’m wondering, Tracy, what are some of the
most popular volunteer positions for which some may even have a waiting list? >> We have a couple of those. One of our most popular positions is our NICU
called a cuddler position. We get a lot of requests about people who
are interested in coming in to cuddle with our most vulnerable patients in the hospital. And that is something that there is a waiting
list. We do only put active volunteers on that list
because that gives us time to really get to know the individuals that we are allowing
to go up and spend time with our most vulnerable patients here in the hospital. >> We want to make sure that we send the right
people to each position. >> Absolutely, absolutely. We want to make sure that the kiddos are safe. And not that the person would be a bad person,
but just that the kids are well taken care of. >> Makes sense. Are there any seasonal needs in any particular
parts of the hospital? >> I wouldn’t say seasonal needs. One of our other programs that’s really sought
after is our teen summer program. So this year we have 159 teens scheduled to
start our program this year. And just to show you how in demand that program
is, we opened our application at 3 p.m. on March 1st, and we had to close it at 3:07
p.m. >> On March 1st? >> On March 1st, yes, in seven minutes. We were prepared to take about 90 applications,
and we received 111 in seven minutes. So that’s one of those really — it just goes
to show what an awesome program we have here for the kids and what a great community we
have that want to give back to the organization and to the community. >> That says a lot about the community and
about the positions. What are some of the things that the teen
volunteers get to do here? >> We have teen volunteers in a number of
different positions. A lot of them help out in food services. But we have positions in patient transport,
the gift shop, pharmacy areas, emergency department, so yeah. >> Cool. And that’s great experience because that could
even possibly kind of light a fire of I want to be in healthcare someday with some of these
young people. >> Absolutely. And I think a lot of people do use the volunteering
in that respect to say, hey, I think I might want to be in a hospital. And that gives them a good environmental look
at what it’s like to be in a hospital and do they really want to be here. >> From Penn State Health you’re watching
Ask Us Anything About Volunteering here at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Tracy Johnsen is the Manager of Volunteer
Services here so make sure you add your questions for her in the comment field below this Facebook
post. And make sure you share this Facebook post
as well. If you find the information valuable as we
hope you do by sharing it you’ll help us reach even more people with this information. And if you know somebody who might be interested
in volunteering here why not tag them in that Facebook post? So, you know, Tracy as the person whose job
it is to fill all these positions of which I know there are many, tell us a bit about
how you pair up volunteers with the positions that are best for them. How do you find the right match for somebody? >> Well, I ask — when someone fills out their
application the first thing they do is come to an orientation. And we kind of lay it out on the line at the
orientation like these are our expectations of volunteers. And then they’ll sign up with a one-on-one
interview with me. And we kind of chat with what their goal is,
what are they looking to get out of volunteering with us. What brought them to come? Why did they choose us over the many other
hospitals and other volunteer opportunities in the community and what their availability
is. And we kind of go from there. Whether or not they want patient experience
or if they’re looking to do a little bit more behind the scenes. >> And when you hear — when you ask that
question about what is it you want to get out of your volunteer experience, what are
the types of things you hear most often? >> A lot of times I hear that they just want
to give back. They’ve had an experience in the hospital,
whether it was not the best turnout that they were looking for, or maybe it was a great
experience and they just want to give back. A lot of volunteers feel that they almost
have like a debt to pay back to our organization for the support and help that they’ve given
to their family. >> That’s fantastic. And as for how to spot a volunteer I know
many of them wear the famous vest, right? >> Yes, there is the famous vest that all
our volunteers wear. >> Like a white and blue and white stripes
on that, right? >> It is, it is. We are looking to possibly change that in
the near future. >> That could be news for another day then. All right, fantastic. So I’m wondering if somebody comes here to
volunteer some people may say I want to interact with people. Some people say I’m a little more of an introvert. Are there things I can do behind the scenes? So is that part of the matching process? >> Absolutely, absolutely. We have some clerical support positions that
are kind of behind the scenes but you’re still part of our organization. You’re still part of — you know, we all attended
a meeting as managers not long ago over out at Spooky Nook, and I believe it was Dr. Hillemeier who had mentioned about the gentleman who went to I guess it was — President Kennedy
went to NASA or something and saw the janitor and said what are you doing? He said, sir, I’m putting a man on the moon. And I like to feel that volunteers are the
same way. We may not be the ones that are in research
labs, and we may not be the ones right there with the patients, but we are helping to create
that cure and helping to make healthcare better for people in our community. >> And National Healthcare Volunteer Week
is a great time for all of us to stop and say thanks to those folks in the vests around
our hospital who do so much and truly are involved in so many different aspects of the
operation. I’m wondering, Tracy, what do you hear from
volunteers after they’re here for a while? Like why do they keep coming back? Because some of them truthfully have been
coming here for years if not a matter of decades. >> Our longest standing volunteer has been
here 48 years. She started right after the hospital opened. She just turned 95. She has been volunteering in the gift shop
a lot of that time. And her main reason for coming back is it
gives her a sense of purpose. It gives her a reason to get up in the morning. She feels good about what she does here. And that’s pretty much where everybody comes
from. They learn so much, they’ve made friends,
they feel needed and they are very much needed. >> Absolutely. They play a vital role here. I’m wondering if there are misconceptions
people might have when they may believe maybe I’m not a good fit for a volunteer at the
medical center. Are there misconceptions people hold about
that? >> I don’t think that they — I think like
some people probably worry on whether or not they’ll get sick when they come to the hospital. Or that being a level one trauma center they
might see something like they’ve seen on Grey’s Anatomy while they’re, and that might not
necessarily be the case for them. >> Like you said it’s a big place and there’s
a lot going on here besides the things like that that they may not want to see. >> Absolutely, absolutely. >> What range of time commitments are involved
in volunteering? So do you need to have a certain amount of
time that you can set aside, or is it for a range of time budget? >> Well, it is for a range of time budgets. We do ask that volunteers at least commit
to 100 hours. >> Per how long? >> We say pretty much within the first year
which comes out to about four hours every other week for a year. The reason we ask for that is because there
is a pretty cumbersome onboarding process for new volunteers, and there is a lot that
we put into that. So we’re looking for people who really want
to be here and are really willing to make that commitment to helping our organization. >> From Penn State Health you’re watching
Ask Us Anything about Volunteering here at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Tracy Johnsen our Manager of Volunteer Services
welcomes your questions and comments. Just add them to the comment field below this
Facebook post and we’ll make sure we pose those to her. I’m wondering how you help people juggle their
volunteer work with other time commitments. I mean are flexible schedules available to
account for the fact that there are other things going on, too? >> We do. We have some things that we call like special
projects. So when special things come up right now they’re
selling raffle tickets for Tisket-a-Tasket for the Children’s Miracle Network upstairs. We also get different events that come up
throughout the year that we have volunteers that kind of come in on a one-time basis as
those are. And then also the Ronald McDonald’s family
room is a very flexible schedule as well. >> Great. What types of clearances are needed. If someone wants to work here as a volunteer
what kind of clearances might they need to do so? >> We require the Pennsylvania State background
check, the past background check. And then there’s also the child abuse history
clearance through Child Line as well as the FBI fingerprint clearance. >> All necessary steps. So if somebody is watching this thinking,
wow, I didn’t realize there was so much to do, so much going on there, I want to get
involved, how can they do so? >> Well, if you go to our website you can
fill out an application online. And on that application there will be dates
for upcoming orientations. And at that time you’ll select your orientation
date. And then come and we’ll go from there. >> Very good. Well, Tracy Johnsen Manager of Volunteer Services
here at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center thank you so much for your
time today. We hope that this discussion during National
Healthcare Volunteer Week has possibly sparked an interest in you to look into volunteering
at the medical center. And if so be sure to check out that page which
we’ll also link to from the comments section below this Facebook post. Thanks so much for watching Ask Us Anything
About Volunteering at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center from Penn State Health.

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