By Helena Tavares Kennedy
The strength of Sentara’s volunteers abounds, but one volunteer stands out for her smile and helpfulness at the Information Desk for many years. Sally Baldwin, a Sentara volunteer for 45 years who also served as historian for a while, said that she started volunteering at Sentara because “I feel that any time you can help other people it is a good feeling. You see people come in all stressed out over a family member or friend or a procedure they are having – they don’t know where they are going and if you can relieve them by showing them where to go and have a little chat along the way, it helps.”
It not only helps the visitors and patients, but Baldwin as well. “I have gained much confidence and self-esteem while working here and it has just been a wonderful experience,” said Baldwin. “My spirits lift as soon as I arrive at the hospital with greetings from the valet gentlemen. We are family. We care about each other and that transfers to our patients. I just love the people. We care about the people who come through our doors and hope they leave with a good feeling about our hospital.”
Baldwin is just one example of the nearly 250 adult and junior volunteers that are committed and dedicated to serve at Sentara currently. The jobs are wide-ranging, from assisting with coverage at the Main Information Desk, like Baldwin, or assisting in the Emergency Room to restock the rooms with linens and to check if the patients need anything that is non-clinical. Volunteers can also be found cleaning the beds and making sure a room is ready for the next patient, assisting with filing at the Nurses Stations, or helping to run the Gift Shop, which is completely run by volunteers.
Beverly Brevard, Sentara’s Team Coordinator of Volunteer Services, has many volunteers to thank during National Volunteers Week, but there are some she wanted to highlight this week. Brevard said, “I give kudos to the volunteer Steve Lee, who assisted in coverage at the main desk for three days without being asked to do so. I was short on volunteer coverage at the desk and he gave of his time to assist. Another volunteer, Becky Hout, went above and beyond recently when a patient in the Surgical Services Department needed someone to walk with her. Ms. Hout came in that day to be a Patient Rep, but once she was told the need of this patient, she did not hesitate to assist and she delayed her Patient Rep rounding for at least two hours to be with the patient in the Surgical Services area. These are just two of the many stories that I have witnessed and it truly shows the compassion of the volunteers.”
Brevard said, “The best part is the time that the volunteers give to the hospital so willingly, which contributes to the comfort and happiness of the patients and their families. Our volunteers assist the paid staff, and this allows staff to focus on the patients in need of services. The volunteers are a vital part of the Sentara family, and I am thrilled to be a part of the Volunteer Team as the coordinator because I am inspired so much by all they do.”
National Volunteer Week is a time to honor and thank the volunteers. Sentara’s appreciation of its volunteers will take place the entire week and will culminate with a dinner on April 20, 2018 at the Old Hickory Golf Club.
Sentara is always accepting new volunteers and applications are accepted year-round for adults and juniors. If you are interested in volunteering, the applications and guidelines are on sentara.com, and any questions may be directed to Beverly Brevard, the Team Coordinator of Volunteer Services at 703-523-1345.
Helena Tavares Kennedy ([email protected]) is a contributing writer for Prince William Living.
Sentara is a progressive and integrated healthcare organization with various locations in Prince William County. They are dedicated to providing leading medical experts, advanced technology and continuous innovation to improve health every day. For more information, visit www.sentara.com.