Lutheran General Hospital seeks volunteers

Gabriela Krieger, Editor

Volunteers impact our society and are an integral part of our community. Many life-changing organizations would not be able to function without their vital assistance. Unfortunately, the pandemic has caused numbers of willing volunteers to dwindle, creating a demand for volunteers in places such as Lutheran General Hospital.

While aspiring volunteers may initially assume that credentials are strict, they may be pleasantly surprised to find that since volunteers don’t provide direct patient care, no credentials are required to volunteer at Lutheran General Hospital. 

In addition, volunteers do not need to be interested in the medical field as a future career– a meaningful assignment can be found for everyone. There are only a few statues that an aspiring volunteer must abide by: the volunteer must be at least sixteen, must be vaccinated against covid-19, and must agree to receive a flu vaccine during the flu season. 

Volunteer opportunities are divided into a few different categories, including patient support (volunteering in clinical areas such as nursing units, surgical services, rehab services, radiology), guest services (lobbies and waiting areas), clerical services (assignments in various offices) and retail (volunteering in the flower shop and gift shop). 

Generally, volunteers are asked to commit 2-4 hours a week for about 6 months for a semester. An eight-week summer program is also offered for those unable to volunteer during the school year. 

Naturally, when deciding to volunteer at a place where ill people go to get better, a plethora of concerns come to mind– particularly during a global pandemic. Fortunately, Lutheran General Hospital’s staff have done their utmost to mitigate risks for patients and volunteers alike. 

The interview process is conducted online or via phone and the new volunteer orientation is an online module, which covers all aspects of safe volunteering. Each volunteer is screened every time they volunteer at the hospital, and all volunteers are required to wear a hospital-supplied mask for the duration of their shift. 

Social distance is practiced religiously in an effort to foster a sense of welfare and ensure a safe environment for everyone entering the facility. 

Furthermore, the need to touch any public surfaces is minimized by having volunteers check-in and check-out on a volunteer’s smartphone, computer, or over the phone; even so, the inevitable “high-touch” area is frequently disinfected. 

Volunteers are never placed in covid units and don’t interact with covid-positive patients or patients suspected to be infected with the virus. 

When asked what volunteers could gain from this service, manager of volunteer services, Magda Scanlan, said, “Each individual comes to volunteer for a different reason. Some folks get fulfillment from simply helping and interacting with others. Other volunteers look for a peak into the healthcare world for possible future careers. However, regardless of what your reason for volunteering is, we will make every attempt to align your desires with your assignment.” 

In addition to developing a sense of fulfillment from helping the community as well as experience with working in a hospital, volunteers enjoy other benefits that come along with giving their time at Lutheran General Hospital, such as annual awards celebrations, free flu shots, recognition pins, and recognition during National Volunteer Week. 

Volunteering at Lutheran General Hospital is a valuable, rewarding, and conscientious use of time. The environment is sanitary and well-maintained, and no credentials are needed. Aspiring volunteers will undoubtedly leave with useful knowledge about hospital management and, perhaps most valuably, a sense of fulfillment.