Volunteer Spotlight: Ginny ElamApr 11, 2016
Volunteer Spotlight - Princeton: Ginny Elam
Volunteers are vital to helping our staff and nurses provide you with the service and devotion that you need. April 10 – 16 is Volunteer Week, and we couldn’t think of a better way to highlight some of the most special people in our facilities, than by recognizing them this week.
Ginny Elam worked at Princeton Baptist for 20 years before she retired in 1996 and has been a volunteer there ever since. She is determined to use her gift of compassion to help serve and give back for all the help she received as a nurse.
Why did you start volunteering at our hospital?
I worked at Princeton for 20 years, and when I retired I didn’t want to lose my skills. Plus, I enjoy people. They had been paying me to do my job, and I wanted to give back to the hospital and community. I also didn’t want to sit and do nothing! I got to see people I worked with, kept friendships and contacts, all while developing myself more.
I was a nurse at Princeton, and when I retired I was a charge nurse on 5 West, the oncology unit. I’ve worked all over the hospital during my 20 years here. I had worked other places before Princeton, but I loved working here. I loved the people there more than anything. I just love nursing. Although when I retired and decided to be a volunteer, I decided to do other things to help out nurses. I just couldn’t bring myself to leave.
How long have you been volunteering at our hospital?
I’ve been a volunteer since 1996.
I volunteered before I retired by doing Tot Shot, which is where nurses would volunteer to go give school kids their shots as community service.
How often do you volunteer with us?
I volunteer every Tuesday. My husband volunteers at Red Cross every Tuesday, so I go when he goes. He drops me off at Princeton on his way.
What is your favorite thing about volunteering?
I love the contact with people and feeling like I’m doing something for patients. It’s not direct, but indirectly, I‘m helping. I’m giving back what I have been given over my lifetime by the volunteers that helped me while I was a nurse. I’ve been on the volunteer board for several years and on the special funds committee. We buy things for departments that aren’t in the budget if we can. We try to give back to the hospital.
What do you normally do when you volunteer?
I volunteer in the cardiac pulmonary rehab by doing mostly clerical work. I file a lot of things and type up letters to send to hospital patients to tell them about the program. I clean and organize the unit. It seems like such little things, but what I do helps the nurses because they’d have to do it if I wasn’t there, so it frees them up to do other things for the patients.
Are there any stories from your time as a volunteer that have stuck with you?
Many unexpected things stick with you when you volunteer. I can be walking the hall, and people are lost. But they feel free to come up to people with the pink jacket. I love to take them where they need to go and talk with them. We are here for them.
What advice do you have to someone who is or has a loved one in the hospital?
They should feel free to ask questions or approach somebody for help. Everybody at Princeton would be very willing to help anybody because that’s what we’re here for: to help people.
Why should someone volunteer at a hospital?
Because it’s such a wonderful place to help people. A lot of my friends are volunteers here because I’ve asked them to come and volunteer. Once they’re here, they don’t leave! It’s a great way to stay active and talk with people. Helping people is satisfying.
I remember when I retired, I said to myself “God gave me a gift of compassion, use it.” And I hope I’ve done that.