Giving Back with Holland Hospital volunteers

Urban Street spoke to Jessica Meldrum, the lead communications and public relations coordinator at Holland Hospital regarding the logistical needs addressed by its 200+ volunteers.

A patient and his caretaker smile during conversation.
A patient and his caretaker smile during conversation.
Photos from Adobe Stock

Q: What needs do hospital volunteers address?

A: Volunteers play a crucial role in supporting the smooth operation of the hospital and alleviating some of the workload on paid staff, contributing to a more positive patient experience.

Q: What can a shift look like for a volunteer at Holland Hospital?

A: Volunteer shifts may involve guiding patients and visitors by assisting with directions, answering questions, helping navigate the hospital, escorting patients by helping patients reach appointments, tests, or other destinations within the hospital, and supporting staff by assisting with clerical tasks or retail operations.

Q: Besides interest, what qualities do you look for in a volunteer?

A: Whether being a listening ear or doing hands-on tasks, all our volunteers make a genuine impact on our patients. We seek compassionate, reliable team players with positive attitudes who are open to learning. These qualities, alongside a strong work ethic, are key for making a difference with us.

Providing companionship, a volunteer reads to a patient.
Providing companionship, a volunteer reads to a patient.

Q: Are all volunteers working on-site at the main campus?

A: [Other] opportunities include assisting patients and staff in specialized care settings and contributing to initiatives at the main campus such as opportunities in the emergency department, Coffee Cove, gift shop, patient transport, information desk, same-day surgery, and security assistance.

Q: In your experience, how long does the average volunteer contribute to Holland Hospital?

A: Volunteers typically dedicate an average of 4.5 years to their service, which indicates a strong commitment from volunteers and the value they place on their experience at the hospital. During 2023, volunteers ranging from 16 to 94 years old volunteered a total of 19,000 hours at the hospital, saving the organization $470,455.

Q: Do you have a story of a long-time returner?

A: Long-time volunteer Brian Bosch has clocked more than 7,500 hours of service to Holland Hospital since beginning in his teens. He currently volunteers in our lobby, assisting the information desk, and in the hospital’s errand and escort service. His unwavering commitment is a true testament to the power of long-term volunteerism. He embodies the spirit of selflessness and compassion that continues to enrich the lives of countless individuals within Holland Hospital.

A patient is receptive as a volunteer assists her.
A patient is receptive as a volunteer assists her.

Q: What would you say to a prospective volunteer who is thinking about applying? 

A: Holland Hospital encourages any interested individuals to reach out! To learn more, visit hollandhospital.org/volunteer-resources.

Q: Are any areas in the hospital in need of more volunteer help than others?

A: All departments at Holland Hospital benefit from volunteers. The hospital’s current focus is on finding individuals who are the right fit for various roles rather than prioritizing specific areas.

During the orientation and training process, the volunteer coordinator works to understand the volunteer’s interests and skills. This allows them to match the volunteer with the most suitable opportunity — aligning both the individual’s preferences and the hospital’s needs.

Q: Can you share any acts of compassion that you’ve witnessed done by volunteers, outside of assigned work?

A: From serving as a listening ear for patients and their families to holding someone’s hand during a difficult moment, these small gestures make a huge difference in our patients’ experience.

A volunteer improves quality of life by dedicating the time to play cards with a patient.
A volunteer improves quality of life by dedicating the time to play cards with a patient.

Q: Lastly, is there anything regarding Holland Hospital’s volunteer program you would like to touch on?

A: Holland Hospital also has a dedicated Volunteer Council that manages the Coffee Cove and Gift Shop, with proceeds funding special projects throughout the hospital. In 2023 alone, the Council distributed $88,000 to support these initiatives, highlighting the significant contributions of volunteers beyond their direct service roles.

For more information, contact: 
Megan Cadle, Lead Volunteer Coordinator
(616) 394-3140
volunteers@hollandhospital.org

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