August 25, 2006

More volunteers sought to help keep pace with VUMC’s growth

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Richard Breyer, Ph.D.

More volunteers sought to help keep pace with VUMC’s growth

Andy Peterson, manager of Volunteer Services, needs help.

Since joining Vanderbilt in last year, Peterson has worked to expand the volunteer program at the Vanderbilt University Hospital and The Vanderbilt Clinic.

In an effort to meet the growing needs of the hospital and clinics, Peterson is looking for a few good men, women and teenagers.

Actually, make that a couple of hundred.

“The need for volunteers is continually growing,” said Peterson. “As the Medical Center expands, so will the need for volunteers who can help our visitors and patients. There are many opportunities and great flexibility for volunteers.”

Peterson said when he first started at Vanderbilt he had around 40 volunteers to spread throughout the hospital and clinic. He has since added an additional 100 people, but still it's not enough.

He has a goal of raising that number to 250 by next summer, with a long-term goal of 500 volunteers. His top priority right now is filling the needs of the Ambassador Program.

“This has been a great success,” he said. “Our Ambassadors greet and welcome patients and visitors to check if they need assistance with getting to their appointments or finding certain areas in the hospital and clinic.

“If we find someone who is lost, we actually take them to their appointment instead of giving directions. You can see the look of relief when someone says, 'Let me walk you there.'”

Volunteer Services is holding several information sessions about the opportunities available in the VUH and TVC.

Each of the two remaining scheduled meetings will be held at 6 p.m. in the Waddlington Conference Room in the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Meeting dates are Thursday, Sept. 7, and Monday, Sept. 11. Call 936-3078 for reservations.

Those interested can also access volunteer information via the Volunteer Services Web site at

There are volunteer positions for people 15 and older with weekly and every other week shifts available.

An interview and training session are required for applicants.

“We have volunteers helping in various areas including the Emergency Department and Recovery Rooms,” Peterson said. “We have volunteers coming in as early as 5 a.m. and as late as midnight.

“There are patients and visitors who can always use additional support, whether it's a cup of coffee, an extra pillow or blanket or just someone to talk to.”