|Thursday, April 25, 2019 (321 reads)|
The Novant Health Auxiliary has deep roots. In 1962, a group of prominent women saw the need for a hospital in Manassas to better serve our community’s healthcare needs. With their vision and the financial backing of the Manassas business community, Prince William Hospital opened in 1964. These roots are deeply connected to the community and the spirit of volunteering is alive and well. Volunteering engages community members who donate their time, talents and resources for what has evolved into Novant Health UVA Health System. The Auxiliary and its members are from the community, provide for the community. Their presence has been constant, and they bring not only monetary value, but more importantly, their life experience, compassion and a sense of community to Novant Health UVA Health System. We can easily identify volunteers by their Aubergine jackets. But who are these volunteers, many of whom are an integral force in the hospital?
In 2018, we had 651 volunteers. These community members comprise an army of volunteers that serve patients and team members in 48 departments at Prince William Medical Center, Haymarket Medical Center, Caton Merchant House, The Cancer Center and our very own Aubergine Thrift Shop. Volunteers help meet various needs and represent a competitive advantage for the hospital.
Whether wayfinding patients and guests, rounding on patients with the Comfort Cart, giving books to newborn babies, restocking supplies, rocking babies, helping in the emergency department and surgical services, staffing our Thrift and Gift Shops and many other services, volunteers are here to help our patients, guests and team members. Our pet therapy dogs are also a friendly force on Waggin’ Wednesdays.
One particularly impactful story is when pet handler Stephanie Dagata noticed a woman on the phone, sobbing. She learned the woman was waiting for her family to arrive, as her husband was having a life-saving procedure. The pet therapy group gathered around the patient’s wife, having her take turns petting all the dogs giving her momentary relief. When it was Butch’s turn to be petted, unprompted, he walked up to her and placed his head in her lap. He wagged his tail and she smiled. She stopped crying and talked to Butch. When her family arrived, she began sobbing again. Butch pulled on his leash to get back to her. He then laid down on her feet and did not move. That was his way of telling her, “I’ve got you.” Butch laid there until the surgeon came out with an update on her husband. This story is heartwarming, but it is not unique. There are countless stories of the compassion and helpfulness our volunteers have to share. Just ask them sometime.