Speaking from the heart
Volunteer Voice - Fall 2012
Volunteer patient advocates and floor hosts enjoy their roles
A toast to the hosts
Don Lehman is a new floor host this year. After retiring from a corporate job that took him all over the world, he played a lot of golf and also became heavily involved with the United Way.
“I kept feeling a tapping on my shoulder to do more,” Lehman explained. “When I walked in the doors of MD Anderson to volunteer, I knew this was my calling.
“My job as a floor host is so rewarding. I’m on P5 working with gastro patients. This is my first experience with direct patient care, but I think my corporate background helps. I can find a commonality with almost anyone and when I look at the patient census, I’m thinking about how to make a connection with those I will visit.
“Some days are more difficult than others, but friendly conversation and a smile always go a long way.”
Lana Hadlock, a former caregiver for her husband, has been a patient advocate on P7 since 2011.
“What I love about being a patient advocate is that I feel like I’m getting something done,” she says. “I’m doing something positive and the people are so great to work with.
“Whether it’s a simple problem like a television that isn’t working correctly, or a thermostat or bed that needs adjustment, it’s an add-on pleasure to accomplish a task and solve an issue for a patient.”
Joan Cox has been a dedicated volunteer, working her way to a patient advocate position since 2000.
“Many people are from out of town and don’t know anyone at
MD Anderson,” she says. “You’re a friendly face with time to listen. Clinical staff members are on a schedule, but my volunteer position allows me to spend an entire morning with one person.
“The nurses on the floor where I work know me and will often request that I visit a particular patient. They might ask if I can go to a specific room where a patient has just been diagnosed. ‘They’re having a hard time – they have no one.’ My answer is always yes.”
Dottie Campbell, one of the original patient advocate volunteers, is still volunteering after 20 years. On a weekly basis, she enjoys visiting lymphoma patients on G11 and G15.
When asked about her dedication to her volunteer position, she explains, “Being a patient advocate lets the patient have someone to talk to who can smooth things out. This makes all the difference to the patient and I love it. I’ve been able to make a difference to patients from all over the world. It’s given me an outlook on life that I
didn’t have before.
“This institution has changed so much since I became a patient advocate 20 years ago, but the patients won’t see any difference in the friendliness, caring and personal attention they receive from volunteers. If anything, it’s even better!”
Voice Fall 2012
- Voice home
- A toast to the hosts
- Unexpected reunion rekindles friendship
- VEPS funds benefit patients and families
- Volunteers honored at TMC event
- Patient/Family Center debuts in new location
- Celebrating survivorship
- Volunteer questionnaire
- Moon Shots Program
- Volunteers touted during special week
- Clinic aide volunteers honored
- Calendar of events
- Page-turning PDF
- Standard PDF