Open House Wednesday, April 18 to highlight volunteer opportunities at Witham
Volunteering at Witham: A give-and-receive experience
For many who step foot into Witham Health Services, Johnny Saulmon is just what the doctor ordered.
This long-time Witham volunteer is one of the first people to greet visitors at the hospital’s main entrance. Understanding that many who enter the hospital are there for a medical procedure of some sort, Johnny goes out of his way to bring a smile to their face and put them at ease.
“I’ve had a couple people come in and tell me what procedure they’re having done and I jokingly say, ‘Oh, I’m the one doing that procedure today,’” he laughs. “I get a funny look at first, and then a good laugh. It just helps release some of the tension or nervousness they’re feeling.”
In his volunteer role at the front desk, Johnny also escorts patients throughout the hospital. “We don’t just tell them where a particular department or doctor’s office is, we take them there. We want to help put them at ease and let them know a Witham person is there at every point,” he explains.
That level of customer service is not new to Johnny. He was always in sales, including nearly 20 years as owner of his own aftermarket automotive store. He understands that the first impression of any organization is critical: “I know I’m representing Witham and this place is known for its personal touch. I want to provide that as well.”
But don’t be fooled. Johnny gets as much as he gives. “I’ve made a lot of new friends. There’s a gentlemen that comes from another county every week. Every time I see him pull up, I go get the wheelchair for him. We really enjoy talking with one another,” he shares.
Giving back to the community
He’s not the only Witham volunteer who feels as if he gets more than he gives. Carol Gorham, who has volunteered at Waterfalls Edge at Witham gift shop since 2005, feels as if she’s benefited many times over as a volunteer at the hospital.
“The volunteer work keeps my mind occupied and helps me learn new things. I work with a computer much better now,” she says. “Being here just keeps me younger, getting me out and keeping me active.”
Carol really enjoys the interaction with others, from fellow volunteers and Witham staff to patient families and visitors. She’s also grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community. “It’s a way to pay back those who’ve been so good to me and my family,” she says.
Carol wasn’t new to Witham when she began volunteering. She worked as an office manager for Don Boyer, M.D. a retired Witham general surgeon. “This hospital has always been part of my life. It’s a fabulous place. I’m proud to be a part of it in any way I can,” she says.
Becoming the familiar face
While Witham hasn’t been part of Mark Cline’s life for very long, he pretty much walked his way into his volunteer position. For many months, Mark used Witham as his walking track, walking throughout the hospital to improve his health. Before long, he started seeing familiar faces and making friends with some of the volunteers working at the hospital.
And not long after, he decided to join their forces. Now, twice a week, he works as a volunteer in the OR waiting room where he checks in patients, keeps tabs on the patients for family members, answers questions, makes coffee and just serves as a comforting presence in the waiting room. Now, he’s become the familiar face to many, providing a smile or reassuring words.
Clearly, when it comes to volunteering at Witham, what goes around comes around—again and again.
Volunteering: Good for your health
Learn how you can become a volunteer at a Free Open House for the community on Wednesday, April 18 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the North Pavilion Community Room at 2705 N. Lebanon Street on the Witham Campus. Light refreshments and snacks provided.
Volunteering can improve your health. That’s what Donna Boyland, CAVS, Director, Volunteer, Pastoral Care and Waterfalls Edge at Witham, wants potential volunteers to know. After all, Witham is in the health business.
Donna says more and more studies have come out in recent years showing the time between volunteering and quality of life. In fact, research out of the Mayo Clinic found that volunteering lowers your risk of heart disease, may help you feel younger and even live longer because you feel mentally and physically better.
How to start volunteering at Witham
On any given day, Witham needs between 12-15 volunteers to assist the staff and provide the best possible patient experience.
To apply to be a volunteer:
1. Download a volunteer application at witham.org (Under the “Volunteering at Witham” link), or call Donna Boyland, CAVS, Director, Volunteer, Pastoral Care and Waterfalls Edge at Witham at (765) 485-8175
2. After your application has been reviewed, you will be invited to an interview to help identify the volunteer position best matched to your particular abilities and interests.
3. Once you have been accepted, you will be asked to take a TB test through Witham Employee Health Services.
4. You will also be required to attend a short general volunteer orientation which will help you prepare for your role as a Witham volunteer.
Teen Volunteers: There are also opportunities for teens interested in considering a career in the health care field. Students must be in high school and commit to a minimum of 30 hours over a six-month period.
Students with Disabilities: Witham also offers Lebanon High School ICE, a multi-occupational training program in health occupations, to give students with disabilities valuable work experience, training, career exploration and job shadowing opportunities. Every year, ICE prepares students with disabilities for paid community employment and increased independence.