Volunteering is Empathy in Action
by Donna Jeanpierre
From April 24 to 30, 2022, Volunteer Canada, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation (TBRHSF) celebrate Canada’s 24 million volunteers during National Volunteer Week.
This annual celebration is a time to thank and recognize volunteers from coast to coast to coast. This year’s theme, Volunteering is Empathy in Action, highlights how this profoundly human connection is at the heart of healthier individuals and stronger communities.
Empathy is a quality that can help people relate to others and build awareness around different experiences. It connects people in ideas and actions and helps create bonds forged in common goals and aspirations.
TBRHSC volunteers, like staff, have had to adapt to new ways of doing things, like wearing surgical masks and eye protection at all times while on-site, self-screening before each shift, and continuing to be extremely vigilant about hand hygiene.
They did adapt. Why? Because they wanted to be here for patients, families, and staff.
Volunteers contribute in countless ways to support patient and family centred care at TBRHSC and TBRHSF, as Hospital and Foundation volunteers and Patient Family Advisors (PFAs).
At this time of year, we make a special effort to recognize volunteer contributions who give so generously of their time in departments and services throughout the Hospital, including the Patient Clothing Cupboard, OR Family Waiting Area, Pacemaker Clinic, Rehabilitation Transport, Healthy Lifestyles Rehabilitation, Seasons Gift Shop (including the Jewellery Gallery), Volunteer Association, Regional Cancer Care Northwest, Surgical Day Care, Pre-Admission, Renal Services, Emergency Department, the Courtyard Gardens, Endo Charts, Wayfinding Service, and the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP), to name just a few.
During National Volunteer Week, we have asked staff to submit their messages of thanks for a specific volunteer or the whole team, and several senior leaders of our Hospital will be shadowing a few volunteers to get to know them better and to see how they help improve the experience of patients and families everyday.
Volunteers demonstrate that volunteering can “help us develop empathy, to see the world through the eyes of others. It can connect people from diverse backgrounds and life experiences, expanding our views. It can build our capacity to work collectively and contribute to a vibrant, inclusive society” (Volunteer Canada).
Visit www.tbrhsc.net and go to the section ‘Join our Team’ to find more information about volunteering at the Hospital or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 684-6266.
Patient Family Advisors volunteer to share their valuable insights and first-hand knowledge of how the Hospital’s services impact patients. Patient Family Advisors help us meet the needs and priorities of our patients, families and community. They have direct input and influence the policies, programs and practices that shape the care and services that people receive. Visit the website www.tbrhsc.net and go to the section ‘Join our Team’ to find more information or contact: (807) 684-7322 or e-mail: PFCC@tbh.net.
Volunteers are also critical to the success of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. They help make a healthier Northwestern Ontario by providing administrative assistance, assisting with special events, and selling raffle tickets at various locations throughout the region. At this time we currently do not have our volunteers on site since we have not been able to host in person events. We hope to have our volunteers back as we plan to begin hosting in person events in the near feature. We cannot wait to see everyone! Volunteers can help make a healthier Northwestern Ontario by assisting with one of our many special events or selling raffle tickets at various locations throughout the region, to name just a few opportunities.
To sign up as a volunteer with the Foundation, call (807) 345-4673 or email email@example.com.
Volunteers are the backbone of any organization, and they are an essential link to the community. We value what they do to make the patient experience better.
As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, we want to thank all of the Volunteers who help make a difference for patients and families.