At any time within Blount Memorial Hospital, there are 100-250 volunteers ready to serve the community through the services they provide. Some volunteers consider their position a calling or a mission, but most treat it as a job. In fact, some volunteers have been working for this community through the hospital for 20-30 years. There’s a sense of belonging and fulfillment that everyone can experience as a volunteer at Blount Memorial Hospital.
It all started with a group of women originally called “Pink Ladies,” that began by taking flowers and magazines to patient rooms. In 75 years, the program has evolved into the Volunteer Auxiliary, with both male and female volunteers of all ages helping in many different areas within the hospital. Any adult age 18 or older, can apply to become a volunteer. Teens ages 14-17 can apply to become Junior Volunteers for the summer, but then can volunteer year-round.
Volunteers at Blount Memorial Hospital do a little bit of everything. There are discharge escorts, information desk volunteers, gift shop positions, music therapy, assisting in the Cancer Center or Breast Health Center, plus volunteers work in the surgical lounge and with hospice, just to name a few. “There are volunteer opportunities all over the hospital, so if you’re interested in a particular area, just ask. I talk with people to see where they have an interest and place them with what we have available. We will work with them to find an area where they are happy and if it doesn’t work out, we can move them to another area. We want volunteers to enjoy being here and feel fulfilled. They are treated just like part of the Blount Memorial family,” Barbara Jenkins, director of Volunteer Services with Blount Memorial Hospital, said. Chances are your interests, personality or former professional background may complement a certain area. “Many people are surprised to find out that the gift shop on the ground floor is completely volunteer driven except for the buying and the oversight, but there might be a volunteer with a background there who could assist in that area, too,” Jenkins added.
Volunteer Services’ mission is to provide service, provide funds and encourage community relations. All fundraising from vending machines, the hospital gift shop and sales events goes back to the hospital, with most of the funds going toward equipment needs. More than $3 million in funds has been donated to Blount Memorial Hospital by the Volunteer Auxiliary since 1947. “Every year, we designate funds that go to the needs of the hospital. On top of that, there are many other things we do - four scholarships are offered to children of Blount Memorial Hospital employees pursuing health care careers each year, and coloring books and crayons are provided for children waiting in the emergency department or through nursing stations. Last year, more than $26,000 in prescriptions for uninsured patients were covered by the Auxiliary. Funds to assist in updating the cardiac cath lab will be donated this year,” Jenkins explained.
If you’d like to volunteer or find out more about volunteer opportunities at Blount Memorial Hospital, please pick up an application from the Volunteer Services Office on the service level, apply online at blountmemorial.org/volunteer, or call 865-977-5609.