by Jenny Read, Communications Officer, KDH
As it rebuilds its volunteer program after a two year COVID-driven hiatus, the Kemptville District Hospital (KDH) Auxiliary has put out a call for student volunteers.
“Volunteering at a hospital is a great way for high school students to get in the volunteer hours they need to graduate,” said Connie Parsons, the KDH Auxiliary’s Volunteer Coordinator. “More importantly,” she added, “it can be an introduction to a career in healthcare and change the course of their lives.”
Charbel El Samra is one of a number of student volunteers who entered the healthcare field after volunteering at KDH; he is going into his final year of medical school in Ireland and is currently studying for his Canadian licensing exams to practice medicine back home after graduation.
“I always enjoyed volunteering at KDH,” Charbel wrote in a recent letter to Connie. “I hope you get good volunteers after the reinstatement of the program, and I hope the experience inspires them to pursue medicine as it inspired me.”
Connie has happily acted as a reference for several student volunteers who have found their KDH volunteer experience very valuable, not only personally, but also as an aid in getting accepted to medical school.
Currently, the Auxiliary has a specific need for volunteers to help serve residents in KDH’s Interim LongTerm Care Unit their meals in the evenings and on weekends. Hand hygiene auditors are also sought to ensure that staff are cleaning their hands at the required ‘four moments of hand hygiene’ before and after contact with patients.
Connie explained that helping in KDH’s Interim Long-Term Care Unit provides an opportunity to see the patient/resident experience firsthand and to have meaningful interactions with people in the Unit. “Most healthcare professionals are so challenged, especially these days, to have time to socialize with patients, and it is so important,” she stated.
Hand hygiene auditors have the unique opportunity to observe all KDH staff as they go about their duties. “It’s a great way to see how a hospital works and how important every individual and their position is,” said Connie.
The volunteer program at KDH was reinstated in May 2022, with the re-opening of the volunteer-run Gift Shop and Coffee Bar. “I can’t tell you how happy we are to see volunteers back in the building,” said Lana LeClair, KDH’s Vice President of Corporate Services. “We’ve missed each one personally, and we’ve missed the invaluable help they are accustomed to providing in every department of the hospital. We are bringing them back carefully to specific areas, always keeping their safety as our top priority.”
Lana noted that all volunteers receive training in the correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection prevention and control measures before their first shift.
Interested students should note that the volunteer application process takes a few weeks. Prospective volunteers are asked to complete a Volunteer Application Form and have two references submit our Volunteer Reference Form. Both forms are available on the KDH web site. In addition, hospital volunteers 18 years of age and older must submit the results of a criminal reference check, and provide the results of a tuberculosis test as well as proof of immunization for COVID-19 and certain other communicable diseases. To apply, please email [email protected].