Volunteers recount positive experiences
The NIH Clinical Center's Volunteer Program, with 114 volunteers currently participating, enriches the patient care experience. Volunteers work at various locations and perform many functions throughout the Clinical Center and The Edmond J. Safra Family Lodge.
"Volunteers are unique individuals who have the ability to enhance the patient-care experience for the people we serve by being able to spend a little more time and perhaps energy on the things that employees aren't able to get to during their hectic day," said Nicole Pascua, Clinical Center volunteer coordinator who recently took over managing the program.
"Volunteers lend that extra helping hand or additional customer service to our patients and allow staff a little more flexibility to perform the essential duties that are required of them at the hospital," said Pascua.
Yasmin Rheubottom-Morch, who manages the lodge, said her volunteer contributes immensely by helping with supplies as well as providing administrative support.
Everyone should find time to volunteer at least once a week to give back to the community, said Yogesh Kalotra who has been volunteering here since October of 2015.
He believes that volunteering at NIH "comes from the heart."
One of the newer volunteers at the Clinical Center is also one of the most active.
Deborah Crawford's husband works at NIH, and she started making the trip with him to ease his commute.
In November 2016, she began volunteering one day a week to help the staff at the front desk in Outpatient Phlebotomy. She said she found the experience so rewarding that she now also volunteers in the Operating Room (OR) family waiting room.
OR family waiting room volunteers provide a vital communications link between staff and families who are waiting for loved ones to return from surgery. Crawford said she enjoys volunteering there, greeting patients and family members and providing them with refreshments.
Crawford remembered once when she sat with the husband of a patient while he was waiting for his wife to come out of surgery. When the surgery was over, he was so relieved that he hugged her, she said.
Volunteers here are passionate, motivated and dedicated individuals who care about the Clinical Center's patients and the mission of NIH, said Pascua.
For more information about volunteer opportunities at the Clinical Center, please contact Pascua at 301-451-9868 or email: ClinicalCenterVolunteerProgram@mail.nih.gov.