Volunteers give back at LMH Health in a variety of ways

photo by: LMH Health

LMH Health, 325 Maine St., is pictured in May 2021.

When you first enter the Main Campus at LMH Health, one of the first faces you’ll often see is that of a volunteer.

“Our volunteers provide a special touch that eases the stress of our patients and families,” said Lauren Cobb, LMH Health volunteer services manager. “Volunteers want to make someone’s day better or just take the load off. They want to serve in whatever way they can.”

Though many volunteers are adults, people as young as 14 can volunteer at LMH Health. Just ask Johanna Smith, a sophomore at the Lawrence Virtual School, who has been volunteering at the hospital for a little less than a year.

“Volunteering at LMH provides me with an opportunity to get out and meet new people,” she said. “It gives me the chance to do something good and give back to the community.”

Smith spends two mornings a week at the Main Campus. You can find her volunteering at the LMH Health Cancer Center on Monday and down the hall in the Endoscopy Center on Friday. She performs a variety of tasks, from bringing oncology patients snacks and drinks during a treatment session to preparing beds and transporting patients in the Endoscopy Center. For her, volunteering has been an important learning experience.

“I’ve learned so much through volunteering at LMH Health,” Smith said. “I’m able to communicate better with people, including nurses and patients. You can’t be in your own head. It’s important to be kind and be helpful when you’re needed.”

Volunteering has also allowed Smith to hone in on her career aspirations as she looks forward to a career in pediatrics. She knows the communication skills she’s learning and relationships she’s building through her volunteer service will help her to follow that path.

“Improving my communication skills now will allow me to better communicate and advocate for the children I’ll be treating in the future,” she said. “I can imagine seeing the joy on parents’ faces and feeling like you healed a family by taking care of their child. Volunteering is giving me these skills and I plan to keep on doing that at LMH Health.”

Stepping stone

Since he was young, Remy Tee has been interested in working in medicine, but isn’t set on the path he wants to forge in medical school. One of the reasons he chose to volunteer at LMH Health was to explore the variety of careers available.

“There’s such a wide range of departments and disciplines in a hospital setting,” Tee said. “You can look at the website, read about each unit and discover where you might want to volunteer. I’ve never worked in a hospital and I wanted to get the full LMH experience.”

Tee graduated from the University of Kansas in 2023 with a degree in biochemistry and is taking a gap year before attending medical school. He spends one day each week volunteering at the LMH Health Cancer Center. He knows that spending time in the clinic is vital.

“The nurses at the Cancer Center are extremely busy, and volunteers help the clinic run smoothly. It takes all of us to help,” he said. “The time it takes me to clean a treatment room is time that a nurse can spend providing hands-on care with a patient. What I’m doing is needed and it matters.”

Volunteering also steered Tee toward an additional opportunity. It led to hands-on, paid experience as a scribe at OrthoKansas working alongside Dr. Adam Goodyear and Dr. Stephan Prô. He works in the orthopedic clinic Tuesday through Friday, documenting information from each visit in the patient’s electronic medical record.

“Drs. Goodyear and Prô work in the same clinic, but the patients they see each day are quite varied. Exposure to that is important and helps provide me with different ideas of the focus I could see myself taking,” Tee said.

Opportunity awaits

LMH Health volunteers work in areas throughout the health system, learning new skills, meeting new people and making a difference for patients and families.

“There are opportunities for people from age 14 to 114 to be of service,” Cobb said. “We are always looking for volunteers to help people find their way around the Main and West campuses. We also have gaps to fill in our surgery waiting room, neurology, the Cancer Center and the Gift Shop. We have the right spot for you.”

In addition to being at least 14 years of age, volunteers must agree to a few additional requirements:

• A long-term commitment of at least three months, helping at least three to four hours each week

• Tuberculosis screening

• Proof of flu vaccine (October through April)

• Documentation of immunizations (including hepatitis B, MMR, Tdap, varicella and COVID)

• Background check for volunteers age 18 and older (costs $15)

Both Smith and Tee say that volunteering builds their resumes for college and post-graduate applications, but it’s about more than that. It provides them with the opportunity to give back to the community they call home.

“Any amount of time you can give to the health system in your community is beneficial. You don’t have to be in the medical field to want to help,” Tee said. “Volunteering helps everyone and can impact the people who’ve made an impact on you. It’s a great feeling to give back in that way.”

— Autumn Bishop is the marketing manager and content strategist at LMH Health.


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