Volunteer Reflections

Each month, “At Your Service” volunteers submit a 300-word reflection on their time at TCC.

They are given the following prompts to help guide their responses:
1) What TCC activities have you participated in during your time as a volunteer?
2) What have you learned or discovered from your experiences on the sub-acute unit?
3) What you have you learned or discovered from your time with your 1:1 assignment?
4) How has your time at TCC changed or informed your views of medicine, healthcare, social justice, bioethics, the elderly/aging, illness, etc.?
5) What have you enjoyed most about your time at TCC?
6) What has challenged you most during your time at TCC?

Read on for excerpts from volunteers’ reflections during the 2012-2013 academic year!
‘Have you ever suffered before?’ was by far the hardest question in my life that I ever had to answer. It was April 12th and I was on 7H playing dominoes with three dementia patients and interacting with everyone in the dining hall in general. At first I didn’t know how to respond but I heard myself saying: “No, why do you ask?” By that time the patient had forgotten what our conversation was about, but she left me thinking what caused her to ask this question and how could I help her from ‘suffering’. She reminded me of my purpose at TCCHCC. I wanted to help the staff to make the patients feel more at home and comfortable, to build long-lasting relationships and to learn from their experiences. I truly enjoy volunteering; from helping in the kitchen to playing dominoes every week on 7H and still have time to tune in on 5H to help with family feud. My time at TCCHCC has removed my shell, I found myself claiming my own one-on-one assignments with persons I met along the way from various floors that I can’t help but visit every time I volunteer. Over the summer, I will continue to volunteer every Saturday and hope to participate in more fun activities with the residents, to be a friend in time of need or gladly fetch some water. I have grown as a person by working on the dementia floor as it has allowed me to improve on certain important characteristics like being patient and understanding. The nurses have also taught me some tricks that help the patients to remember. Can’t wait to see what the summer will offer.”
Deandrea Ellis CC’14, May 2013
“So far my time at TCC has been very rewarding. I have enjoyed being able to help the staff and attend to needs of residents. It has been great to help make their care experience more comfortable and let them know they are being heard. I remember talking to a resident’s family member about ‘At Your Service’ volunteers at TCC and they commented “It’s nice that they do this”.  I’m also happy that the staff has been positive and receptive.  I feel that my duties help save them time and allows faster answering of requests by informing them of patient needs. I’m also glad that the staff has been taking advantage of having us volunteers present by asking me to help with paperwork and help organize information at the desk, tasks that I am more than happy to do as it can save them time, allow them to focus on other aspects of their duties, and improve the efficiency of the care environment.  I remember talking to Zain Mahmood, TCC Director of Clinical Business Operations, about extending our duties to participating in welcoming new residents as well. The long-term companion part of the program has been rewarding too. I speak with two very sweet older ladies, and it has been great to get to know them so far. Our conversations seem to cheer all of us up and I am glad that I can contribute to another part of the care process. I look forward to spending more time with them, and hope the program keeps expanding so that most residents will have a friend to visit them at least once a week.”
Kerstin Nolan CC’14, March 2013
“My time at TCC so far, has been rewarding to say the least. I decided to become a volunteer in this program mainly to get experience in a health care setting. During my time on the sub-acute rehabilitation unit, I have had the opportunity to interact with a number of staff members and patients. I have appreciated the opportunity to help the residents when answering call bells and have been touched by their gratefulness when I performed simple tasks for them. I believe that compassion, patience and understanding are some of the most important qualities one can have as a physician. I have been able to practice these at TCC, and have begun to better understand the role that a health-care provider should play. The best part of this program for me has been interacting with my long-term companion. I have already forged a bond with her, and the relationship is by no means one-sided; I enjoy the visits just as much as she does. We have had various discussions about our lives and opinions. She has shared with me some of the wisdom she has gleaned throughout her life and some of the memories of events that I have only experienced through history books. I have shared with her the wonders of the Internet and computers. Often we have talked about the contrast between her life when she was younger and mine now. We have shared our common love for mysteries by watching Sherlock Holmes episodes during some of my visits.”

Elizabeth Shay CC’14, December 2012

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