Drawing Energy From Volunteering

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Anderson_Net_volunteer.jpgby Mary Donnelly Jackson, Volunteer Services

When I started volunteering at M. D. Anderson, I would often wonder at the end of a busy work day if I had enough energy to fight the Houston traffic and make my rounds visiting inpatients as a volunteer floor host. What I discovered was that I often left the hospital with more energy than when I had arrived. It was something about the patients that I met and their positive attitudes that gave me that energy. And it wasn't just me. Since I joined the M. D. Anderson Volunteer Services staff 10 years ago, I have often heard volunteers share the same sentiments.

I've heard perspective volunteers ask, "You have so many volunteers at M. D. Anderson, do you really need more?" And the answer is definitely "yes." Our Alkek Hospital will be expanding soon with several additional inpatient floors. With this expansion, we will need more volunteer floor hosts. Floor host volunteers are assigned a hospital floor and visit with patients and their families. Volunteers also may pick up and distribute patient mail, newspapers, TV guides and magazines. Depending on the patient's needs, each visit is different and may involve only an introduction to the hospital's services and amenities or may require a longer visitation.

Volunteers are also needed in our two Anderson Network Hospitality Centers, one in our Main Building and the other located in Mays Clinic. Volunteers staff the Hospitality Room, providing an informal and relaxed environment where patients and caregivers can rest and visit between appointments. The volunteers in this position provide hospitality, empathy and information about resources to patients and their family members.

To work in the Hospitality Center, you must have been a patient or caregiver to a patient at M. D. Anderson and must have good communication skills, and enjoy interacting with people.

If you, a friend or neighbor would like to volunteer at M. D. Anderson in the Hospitality Center or floor host positions, contact me, Mary Donnelly Jackson, at 713-792-3792,


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