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Sun City volunteers help hospital run smoothly

By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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Almost 30 Sun City Lincoln Hills residents spend four hours weekly doing tasks that allow Sutter Roseville Medical Center?s nurses and doctors to focus more on patients. The seniors volunteer as part of the Sutter Roseville Auxiliary, an organization that provides various services to 16 areas of the hospital, according to the auxiliary?s floor services chairman, Bob Bryans. Those areas include the emergency department, outpatient recovery, the gift shop, labor and delivery, and physical rehabilitation. ?They?re a wonderful group of people that bring so much to our medical center,? said Pat Brady, Sutter Roseville Medical Center?s chief executive officer. ?I say to them a lot, I can?t imagine how we?d get done what we do around here (without them). As difficult a place a hospital can be, they make it a better place.? Diane Vincent started volunteering at Sutter Roseville Medical Center in 2009 after hearing about it from one of the auxiliary?s board members. She chose to work in the hospital?s emergency room. ?I had been in an ER before and had brought my mother to the Sutter Roseville ER. I saw how things worked and thought this might be an interesting place where I could do some good,? Vincent said. ?A lot of people think of volunteering (at a hospital) as you are sitting at a desk and taking questions. This is so far from that.? Words Vincent used to describe her weekly four-hour shift include ?never a dull-moment? and ?very rewarding.? ?You are going nonstop for four full hours on your feet, doing just about everything imaginable,? Vincent said. ?One of the top priorities is the patients and visitors. We try to make them as comfortable as possible, giving them warm blankets, pillows and their drinks of choice.? Keeping children occupied by giving them stuffed animals or toys to play with is another focus in the ER, as well as keeping patients updated, Vincent said. ?We check in on patients who obviously are uncomfortable and wondering when they can get out or moved to another room,? Vincent said. ?We do try hard to keep them up to date on their progress and what to expect.? Like in other areas, Vincent said other duties include stocking IV carts and medical supplies, as well as cleaning and putting clean sheets on gurneys. ?It takes away a lot of time if a nurse (has to do these duties). Whatever they ask us to do within our capabilities, we do,? Vincent said. ?For instance, on one shift, one of the nurses asked me to get clothes for a patient who had their clothes cut off because of injuries so they didn?t have anything to wear home. We have a receptacle where we keep used clothes for situations like that.? Volunteering since January 2005, Ardis Sheridan works in the hospital?s main building, on the surgical floor. ?My husband and I moved from Portland, Ore., in 2004 in order to live closer to family,? Sheridan said. ?With a need to make new friends, find new doctors and find a worthwhile activity outside the home, I contacted Sutter to inquire about the need for volunteers. It has been a good fit from the beginning.? During her shifts on the surgical floor, Sheridan said she greets families as they arrive with patients and provide ?general information? to the families during and after their loved ones? surgery. ?My service works to keep families in the ?waiting? process informed, sort of a liaison service between the hospital and public,? Sheridan said. ?General information usually includes what to do during the patient?s prep time, suggestions of what to do and where to wait while waiting to talk to the doctor following surgery, what room is designated and when the patient will move to the room.? Sheridan said she and other volunteers on the surgical floor ?keep nurses aware that family are waiting and may escort family and visitors to rooms.? ?I enjoy working with a good group of volunteers, meeting new people and finding each shift at the hospital to be entirely different. While the responsibilities of the service are constant, the problems, needs and concerns very as do the patients and families,? Sheridan said. ?The service requires a volunteer to be caring, willing to listen, patient and able to do a lot of walking. It can be challenging and never dull.? More than 250 men, women and high school students 16 or older volunteer with the auxiliary each year, according to Sutter Roseville?s website. Bryans said 10 percent of the auxiliary?s volunteers reside in Lincoln Hills. ?I think, because you have to be 55 or older to live here, most of the people who live in Sun City are retired or semi-retired and have time on their hands,? Bryans said. ?They like to volunteer and the reason is just the satisfaction of volunteering.? Brady said the Auxiliary?s ?success and growth is from word of mouth,? and Lincoln Hills residents ?talk about all of the good things about helping with the hospital.? ?People that live out there are just people who are very involved in the community and it?s pretty consistent with the character of Lincoln Hills,? Brady said. ?They?re involved in making the place they live better.? Bryans volunteers in outpatient recovery and is also co-chairman, or supervisor for outpatient recovery. That means he is in charge of making the schedule for volunteers in his area of the hospital and fills shifts of volunteers if they call in sick. Auxiliary members do not have to have a medical background to volunteer at the hospital, according to Bryans, who worked in engineering prior to retirement. ?It?s very interesting and very rewarding,? Bryans said. ?The patients and their families come in and are very nervous and concerned, as well they should be. It?s up to us to keep a smile on our face and hopefully put a smile on their face.?