Volunteers important part of CMC-Lincoln staff
LINCOLNTON – For the past two years, Harry Gardner volunteered in the emergency department at Carolinas Medical Center-Lincoln.
The Denver resident loves volunteering at the hospital. He can often be seen comforting family and friends in the waiting rooms, giving directions to dazed visitors looking for a specific department, heating up bed sheets and putting together supply kits.
But volunteering in the emergency department can be challenging, Gardner said.
“Everything can be going along slow, and then, all of the sudden, there’s an ambulance and sometimes there’s a second ambulance,” he said. “When the patient comes in, sometimes it’s obvious to me that he or she is in a bad place. I rush out there with a wheelchair, and if it’s a possible stroke or heart attack, it’s all hands on deck.”
Gardner is one of dozens of volunteers who donated 5,781.85 hours in 2010-11 at CMC-Lincoln in Lincolnton. Volunteers are involved in many tasks, including preparing a patient’s room for meals, assisting families with religious needs in times of crisis, helping nurses change bedding and sitting with patients needing some company.
“There are a lot of things that need to be done that you can’t get a full-time or part-time person for because the money is not in the budget,” Pam Null, director of community relations for the hospital, she said.
“It takes a special volunteer to work in the emergency room because you can’t be afraid to be out of your comfort zone and ask questions or help somebody.”
Mercedes Camprubi-Soms is another volunteer who recently began working in the emergency department. She requested that department because she’s studying to become a physician’s assistant. Volunteering at the hospital has helped with her education, she said.
“I’ve learned a lot about how the registration and billing works, which I had no idea about,” Camprubi-Soms said. “The girls working there are phenomenal. They are so helpful in teaching me, and I’ve learned a lot about patient care.”
A Denver resident, Camprubi-Soms is also trying to pass the hospital’s Spanish test to become an interpreter. In the meantime, she stays busy helping at the registration desk, taking visitors to see patients and rushing to get stretchers when needed.
The volunteers not only participate in physical work directly with the staff and patients, but they also raise money for CMC-Lincoln through sales at Miss Evy’s Shop, the hospital’s gift shop named after volunteer Evelyn “Miss Evy” Mullen. The volunteers buy wheelchairs, coloring book and crayons and equipment for various departments and donate funds to the American Cancer Society and United Way of Lincoln County.
The hospital also needs volunteers for “No One Dies Alone,” a new program for terminal patients without any family. Nurses try to stay with those ill patients as long as they can but often have to care for other patients, too. Volunteers interested in the program must undergo special training.
“I feel like I am familiar with some of the things it is going to take to do it,” said Null, who has signed up to volunteer for the program. “I know how important it is. I wouldn’t have wanted my mom to be alone when she died. I wanted to be there through the whole process, and I was.”
Camprubi-Soms also volunteers with Orphans to Ambassadors, a nonprofit working with orphans and sustainable technology to create a cleaner future, and has helped raise at least $6,000 for the organization through bake sales.
“The world is crazy, but if you want to help the world become a better place and be an active member of your community, I think volunteering is the way to go,” she said. “I think everything you give out comes back ten-fold.”
For more information about volunteer opportunities at CMC-Lincoln, contact Pam Null at 980-212-6041 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.cmc-lincoln.org.