MCHS Volunteer Services: The place to be
By Elizabeth Bolin
MARSHFIELD – If you’re having a bad day, Marshfield Clinic Health System (MCHS) Volunteer Services Coordinator Melissa Darr says that her department is the place to be.
Darr has held this position for two years and coordinates about 500 people.
Melissa was hired in September 2017; right around the time the Clinic bought the hospital and has gotten to witness the transition.
“I think there was nervousness in the community about that transition as there always is when things change,” recalled Darr. “About three or four months after that we started to see a blossom in incoming volunteers. I think the community realized the transition was positive and everyone relaxed.”
Darr says that many of her volunteers are even retirees from the clinic and hospital.
Melissa and her fellows deal with recruitment, training and scheduling of volunteers in Marshfield Clinic Health Systems. She adds that because of the healthcare aspect of the positions, new volunteers do have to go through HIPAA privacy training and infection control.
“This training is expensive and time consuming, so we do require our volunteers to be prepared to volunteer for a full calendar year,” she said.
Once volunteers are placed, Darr makes sure that they are comfortable.
“We always stress that if your position isn’t a good fit there is certainly another area that is,” Darr said, adding that she wants the whole program to feel like a giant family. “The only thing a volunteer gets paid is a thank you, so we try to do plenty of appreciation events.”
Darr says that there are multiple volunteer positions available. “We have positions like in our pediatric unit where (a volunteer) needs to be here at a specific time on a specific day of the week. We also have positions like in the emergency department where (a volunteer) can come in any time during the day because the task only needs to be done once. We have behind the scenes positions like wheelchair washing or up front positions like the front desk.”
Melissa is confident that she can accommodate anyone’s schedule and ability.
Who can be a volunteer? “Anybody!” exclaimed Darr. Well, almost anybody.
Teens must be going into their freshman year of high school, but that is the extent of limitations. The oldest volunteer is 91.
Darr’s biggest volunteer need right now is for the front information desk. “When you first walk into the hospital, we have people who are there to greet you and give out information and we want that to be manned by two volunteers every hour,” she explained.
She said that her job is often uplifting, and she often recommends visits to the department to see what happens there. “I get to be around 500 people who just want to give back. I think the greatest thing is on a daily basis I see people walk in here and ask how they can help,” stated Darr.
Marshfield had 67,000 volunteered hours last year.
If you are interested in volunteering, visit www.marshfieldclinic.org and navigate to the volunteer homepage.