When patients receive care at the hospital, they typically recognize the doctors, nurses, and therapists that play integral roles in the healing process.
But at Valley Baptist Health System, about 200 volunteers make up another group that is vital to delivering high-quality, compassionate healthcare to the community. From driving golf carts transporting visitors and patients from their vehicles to hospital buildings during the sweltering South Texas summer, to acting as compassionate companions for patients in their final hours of life, Valley Baptist’s volunteers yearn to make a difference – and never ask for a single cent in return.
“Our volunteers are important to our hospital because they promote the mission of our hospital in their everyday service,” said Katie McCarty Director of Volunteer Services for Valley Baptist Health System. “They selflessly support our patients, staff, and our hospital in multiple ways and are proud to be part of our Valley Baptist team. They are intentional about every task they perform, and focus on making each encounter with a patient, family member, or visitor an exceptional experience.”
Volunteers from both Valley Baptist-Harlingen and Valley Baptist-Brownsville received recognition for some of their hard work during the Texas Association of Healthcare Volunteers annual convention May 23-25. During the event, Valley Baptist-Harlingen took first place in both scrapbooking and tray favor design, while Valley Baptist-Brownsville won first place in scrapbooking and second place in tray favor design.
“The convention was an opportunity for our volunteers to learn about the current trends in healthcare and share fundraising and recruitment ideas,” McCarty said. “We also enter our patient tray favors and a scrapbook of our activities for recognition in the awards program, and it was great to see our volunteers recognized.”
McCarty said both auxiliaries are always looking for those who are interested in supporting their community through volunteerism, and that there is a wide array of activities to choose from when volunteering at both hospitals.
“Our volunteers truly have a passion for helping others,” she said. “They often state they feel like their fellow volunteers are family, and they look forward to coming in each week. If there is someone out there who wants to build friendships, contribute their skills and energy, and make a difference for others, they truly should come visit us.”
In addition to adult volunteers who donate their time at both hospitals year-round, Valley Baptist Health System also offers each summer a junior volunteer program for nearly 150 students interested in earning volunteer hours while being immersed in the healthcare industry.
“For students with an interest in the health care field, the hospital volunteer program is one that may help guide them to their chosen career path,” McCarty said. “Many of our former student volunteers have gone on to become therapists, nurses, and doctors.”
Working with men, women, and young adults who so selflessly donate their time can often be a motivating and rewarding experience – an experience that is often not lost on Valley Baptist employees, McCarty said.
“This year’s volunteer theme is ‘united we serve,’” she said. “The theme embodies the concept that although our volunteers serve in many different areas of the hospital, we are all united in our service to Valley Baptist. By helping our hospital fulfill its mission, volunteers make a difference in the communities in which we live.”
The following are just a few of the many ways volunteers can make a difference at Valley Baptist Health System. For more information, visit www.valleybaptist.net, or call the volunteer office at (956) 389-1193 in Harlingen, or (956) 698-4059 in Brownsville.
- Veteran Visitation Program: Volunteers recognize, show hospitality and expresses gratitude to veterans at Valley Baptist Health System. Our veteran patients receive regular visits from volunteers who are military veterans themselves. The patients receive a patriotic door ribbon and a welcome prayer card. The volunteers round with a hospitality cart offering patients magazines, puzzle books, playing cards, blankets, and handmade crosses in military branch colors.
- No One Dies Alone Program: Volunteers serve as compassionate companions to be present for dying patients who are alone without family or friends and who are in the last 72 hours of life.
- Pastoral Ministry: Volunteers make daily visits to patients. They take the time to listen, pray and offer spiritual support.
- Courtesy Golf Cart: Volunteers help transport visitors from the parking lots to the hospital entrances.
- Visitor Desk: Volunteers stay active delivering newspapers and flowers to patients, and transporting the coffee cart to waiting areas and lobbies. They also assist visitors and families to find their way to visit a loved one or to medical appointments.
- Gift Shop: Volunteers serve in our retail shops and assist family and friends with purchases of balloons, cards, and gifts for patients.
- Cuddler: Volunteers assist our Newborn Intensive Care Unit staff with feeding and rocking babies.