Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror Nancy Allingham is one of the many volunteers who will be making the transition into the new hospital facility in September, and she’s looking forward to welcoming the community as they come through the front doors.

New, larger hospital in Campbell River means new and larger volunteer needs

Hospital looks to fill positions specifically at front desk, medical imaging and wellness centre

As of this September, Campbell River will have itself a brand new, 95-bed, 32,316-square-metre, $274.5-million hospital.

And that new hospital will, like the current one, rely heavily on the dedication of its loyal volunteers.

Carmen Christiansen, manager of volunteer resources at the hospital, says they have been working hard to get everyone ready for the move.

“Volunteers have been getting tours of the new site, taking training on emergency codes, violence prevention, volunteering in healthcare, hand hygiene, all those things need refreshing and some new things need to be learned, as well, in order for everyone to be prepared to move into the new site.”

But they need more volunteers, she says, in order to expand their programming to fit the new facility when they move in.

The current recruitment is focused on three volunteer programs: information desk, medical imaging and the Wellness Centre.

In the current hospital, there are two volunteers on each shift at the information desk. But in the new facility, Christiansen hopes they will be able to have three on shift at any given time.

“The information desk is the first point of contact that you make – it’s the first person you see when you walk through the front door of the hospital,” Christiansen says.

And that friendly face and pleasant experience entering the hospital can make all the difference in someone’s overall experience.

“That alone can start a patient journey off on the right foot. Typically, people are coming to the hospital with a worry of some kind – whether that’s an illness or an injury or a friend or family member with an illness or injury – so just having that first person there to smile at them, greet them and take them where they need to go is critical.”

Anyone interested in helping out in the new hospital is asked to go online to viha.ca and start by filling out an application. Christiansen then meets prospective volunteers to ensure they are the right fit – and where they will be the right fit – before they begin online training in things like violence prevention and emergency codes.

“And if people aren’t that computer savvy or need some extra support through that process, I do have a volunteer here at my office who can assist them with completing that process.”

What kind of people is she looking for?

“I’m just looking for people with a positive attitude. I want volunteers who are excited about our new hospital and are ready to embrace this new place and the learning-on-the-spot things we’re going to have to react to. I mean, we’re doing our best to prepare and forecast what those volunteer roles will be like, but there are going to be some things that come up. It’s new for everybody, after all.”

Nancy Allingham is one such person.

She’s been volunteering in the hospital “for years.”

“I volunteered years ago, and when I retired in 2011, I started again and have been here since then,” she says.

She, like Christiansen, is also excited to make the move over to the new facility in September. Even moreso now that she can tell what is where.

“When we first came over with the auxiliary, and it was just, like, this big huge building with tall hallways and there was no signage so I couldn’t really tell too much what it would be like,” Allingham says, but things have come a long way since then.

Allingham says she doesn’t expect her role will change much after the move. She’ll still work one day per week at the information desk and spend the rest of her volunteer time in the Wellness Centre.

“It’s going to be a bit of a learning curve, for sure, but it’ll come together just fine,” she says. “I just hope we can get some more volunteers.”

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