By Cathleen Rineer-Garber, HSC Communications and Marketing
If you’re interested in
volunteering at UNMH, call (505)272-2356 to get
your information packet. UNMH prefers that volunteers commit to
at least three months of service.
All new volunteers must:
• Attend a volunteer orientation.
• Have a mandatory criminal
background check and
• Have a TB test.
It takes many people to keep a large, busy hospital like
running smoothly. In addition to the hundreds of physicians, nurses,
allied health professionals, technical, and administrative staff, there’s
another group of hardworking, dedicated people that can be seen in the hospital
every single day-volunteers
UNMH has more than 800 volunteers come through their system every
year, with an average of 300 active at any given time and about 162
active in any given week. “From March 2007 to March 2008, our volunteers
contributed more than 37,000 hours,” says Barbara Temer, Assistant
Volunteer Services/Information Desk. According to Temer, those same
volunteers have racked up more than 200,000 hours during their tenure as
volunteers. This, she says, equates to about $3 million in service.
Currently, UNMH volunteers range in age from 14 to 91 years and
volunteer in various roles throughout the hospital. Volunteers called
“Cuddlers” rock the babies in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, while
others help out in the Children’s Hospital Child Life program. “Some of
our volunteers make homemade baby blankets, quilts, hats, booties,
pillows, and teddy bears for our pediatric patients,” says Temer.
One of the more high profile volunteer services offered at UNMH is
the HaHaHa cart - an acronym for Hospitals and Humor are Healthy Allies.
The cart uses humor and the human touch to help brighten the day of
adult patients. “The cart is filled with magazines, back scratchers,
playing cards, and other fun gifts,” explains Temer. “The volunteers who
run this cart dress in fun attire and deliver the goodies to patients.”
Volunteers can also be found in the emergency room, gift shop, the Basic
Advanced Trauma Computer-Assisted Virtual Experience (BATCAVE), and
Ronald McDonald Room. “They help stock shelves, enter data, play with
kids, file, and give lots and lots of warm smiles.”
Temer says volunteers come from all walks of life and make the
decision to volunteer for different reasons. “Some of our volunteers
want to give back to the hospital that gave to them. Others have extra
time and want to make a difference in someone’s life,” she says.
Teenager Michael Lott, who volunteers in the BATCAVE, does it in order
to gain experience that will help him choose a career path. Students who
are interested in this experience can apply for the summer teen program which begins in June.
Bernice Young decided to volunteer in order to become involved in the
community and meet people after moving to Albuquerque from St. Louis in
1991. With about 12,000 hours of volunteer credit at UNMH, Young says
she has gained so much more than she ever expected. “I have received so
much more than I have been able to give,” she says. “Being able to help
people is so worthwhile. It is really a remarkable experience.”
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