Hospital Volunteers Lend a Helping Hand
Although the expression “candy striper” is sometimes still used for a hospital volunteer, the image of a woman in a red and white pinafore delivering flowers can no longer suggest the scope of today’s auxiliaries.
Volunteers may be men as well as women. They wear special uniforms now. And while some still cover the beat between florist’s vans and patients’ rooms, they are just as likely to assist in medical departments; drive courtesy carts; staff information desks, wellness centers, and gift shops; or perform other activities from groundskeeping to special events.
The Southern Crescent is fortunate to have active auxiliaries supporting both Piedmont Fayette and Piedmont Newnan Hospitals.
For example, volunteers at Piedmont Newnan log about 1,800-2,000 hours each month. Piedmont Fayette has over 260 members, making it the second-largest hospital auxiliary in the state. Volunteers not only assist patients, but also their families, staff at the hospitals, and the community in general.
Ways to Serve
Each volunteer is placed according to the best match of his or her skills/abilities (medical experience is not required) and the hospital’s current needs. All receive orientation about working at the hospital, as well as whatever specific training is appropriate to their assignment. Experienced volunteers may sometimes receive cross-training if interested.
Service areas at Piedmont Fayette include:
• Surgical Services
• Emergency Services
• Fitness Center
• Peri-Anesthesia Care Unit
• Cancer Wellness Center
• East and West Information Desk
• Gift Shop
• Radiology Imaging
• Wound Care
• Med Surg 3
• Pre-Admission Testing Laboratory
• Care Support
• Courtesy Cart Drivers.
There is also a summer program for students (ages 14 to 18) interested in exploring a future in health care while giving back to the community.
At Piedmont Newnan, auxiliary members:
• Deliver newspapers, mail, and flowers
• Transport patients, medications, and specimens
• Staff the information desk, gift shop, and the wellness center
• Drive courtesy carts
• Assist with needs arising from the opening of the new facility, such as placing additional volunteers in the larger ER.
A Major Commitment
Volunteering at either hospital is a significant undertaking, whatever the individual assignment.
For example, at Piedmont Newnan, auxiliary members are asked to work a minimum of 75 hours per year. Piedmont Fayette wants potential applicants to understand “the Auxiliary is not an internship program, nor is it a means to obtain a job within the hospital. We view volunteering as a long-term commitment and seek individuals who will serve for years to come.”
In addition, volunteers at both hospitals purchase their own uniforms and pay annual dues.
Hospital volunteers are devoted to their work. “Our members are dedicated to compassionate service and are the ambassadors of the hospital,” says Sue Livingston, President of the Piedmont Newnan Auxiliary. She herself became a volunteer after retirement from New-nan Hospital with 29 years’ service. “I wanted to continue to be involved in the hospital, so the auxiliary was a perfect fit for me.”
Over at Piedmont Fayette, current Auxiliary President Bob Atkins is in his sixth year as a volunteer. At each hospital, there are volunteers who number their service in decades.
“Membership offers an avenue to meet people, get involved, make new friends while serving others,” adds Livingston. “We even have two members who met while volunteering and now are husband and wife.”
Other Ways to Help
If you’re not in a position to serve as a volunteer, you can still keep an eye peeled for occasional fundraisers to support the hospitals.
The annual holiday candlelight tour of homes in Newnan provides the auxiliary with funding for special projects and scholarships.
At Piedmont Fayette, the auxiliary has gifted wheelchairs, decor for family waiting areas, holiday decorations, cardiac monitoring equipment, gardens, and even a piece of the latest neonatal technology: a Giraffe OmniBed. It allows physicians and nurses to care for and monitor fragile premature infants with minimal disturbance.
For More Information
Detailed information on the application process is available for each auxiliary on its hospital’s website. If possible, please review this material before calling with questions.
Piedmont Fayette Hospital Auxiliary
Visit www.piedmontfayette.org and click on “About Us.” Then select “Volunteer Opportunities.”
Fayette Newnan Hospital Auxiliary
Visit www.piedmontnewnan and click on “About Us.” Then select “Auxiliary.”