Another lesson that was further instilled in me from this successive week of service... always make everyone feel equally cared for and respected. This doesn't mean that there aren't moments when one has to be firm, but things always go more smoothly when the situation is approached in a pleasant and respectful manner.
I mention these lessons as things that I have noticed throughout my learning process, that is life, as well as during my service at IRMC. These are qualities that I have seen in other volunteers whom I serve beside and qualities that I have grown to strengthen in myself.
In the hospital, we often see patients who are, assumably, not financially stable, do not have their own transportation, have mental and/or emotional instabilities, and/or are not capable of fully caring for themselves, as they once were. These unfortunate factors are mainly due to age, financial status, or a combination of both. Nonetheless, these individuals are human beings who need extra care, rather than diminished care, and that is where the volunteers, in excess of the staff, come into play.
Other volunteers and I have spent much extra time and energy with patients and visitors, making sure that they get the answers that they are looking for and get where they need to be on time. I greatly commend these individuals for fighting through whatever circumstances in which they may be, extending responsibility and emotional strength in order to carry on. The tasks to service these individuals are rarely ever too great - all it takes is a warm greeting to each person who walks in and out of the front entrance, an extra couple of phone calls to get the right information that will convenience and reassure the visitors from further stress, a respectful addressing to each individual so that they may feel equal as a human being, or an optimistic note to a disheartened perspective to give them an extra boost of care and encouragement. I have seen the impact that these simple actions have on the individuals around us. It gives people a sense of hope and love. And nothing is stronger than those.