Many opportunities are available at North Valley Hospital to donate your time, learn new skills, meet great people and give to the community. We greatly value our volunteers, and we offer orientation and training sessions for each position. The time you volunteer can be varied, such as one or two hours a month or a few hours a week. Read on for some of the opportunities.
Volunteer Services Application
There is nothing more inviting than the smell of freshly baked cookies or bread. We began our baking program to bring “home” to our patients and guests. Volunteers truly make this program possible, and anyone in the hospital able to eat these goodies is invited to indulge in a treat. You can imagine how many people’s days are uplifted by this simple, yet pleasurable, enjoyment.
Dog Visitation Program
Our dog visitation program has brought thousands of smiles to our patients and staff since 2004. For many of our patients, there is nothing more satisfying than having a special moment during a hospital stay with a friendly and fun-loving dog to brighten up their day. Dog handlers and their dogs complete a certification program by the Pet Partners before being able to visit patients in the hospital. A volunteer escort accompanies the dog handlers and their dogs through the hospital.
One of our volunteer escorts has said, “It is so wonderful to see the look on the patients’ faces when the dog comes in their room.” North Valley Hospital has one to two dog visitations a week, allowing for multiple escort opportunities.
Various medical and nonmedical departments welcome volunteer assistance. The Birth Center, Foundation, information systems, patient relations and clerical are just some examples where you can gain experience for a career path or special interest while making a difference in your community. If you wish to work in certain areas of the hospital, please ask us about these opportunities.
When entering a new establishment, you may find yourself confused and full of questions. A hospital is no different. That’s why North Valley Hospital created wayfinding desks at the north and south entrances of the hospital. Having a volunteer in the lobby provides a warm and cheerful presence at our hospital. Volunteers assist the public and patients with questions, walk guests to their desired location and help with mail delivery.
The Gift Shop
The Gift Shop at North Valley Hospital is staffed by volunteers from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the Gift Shop go to the North Valley Hospital Foundation to help support funding for new medical equipment and scholarships. The volunteers help visitors select just the right gift for a family enjoying the birth of a new baby or a get-well wish.
North Valley Hospital’s Community Health Library is the first library in the area that primarily offers health care information to the public. Since 2004, it has provided movies, fictional reading, children’s books and educational information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These items can be taken out of the library to patient rooms and patient waiting areas and can be used by patients, families and visitors. Volunteering in the library could involve cataloging books and magazines, helping guests with the computer and providing resources.
Music is notable for lifting one's spirits and providing a spirited environment. The Planetree philosophy also recognizes music as a healing aspect for patients. North Valley Hospital welcomes volunteer musicians to share their talents for the enjoyment of patients, visitors and staff. All musicians are welcome, and we would be happy to provide a room for you to tune prior to visiting patients or playing in our main patient corridor or common areas.
Being in the hospital can be a lonely experience. Even family may have other obligations that limit their presence by our patients’ sides. We welcome our volunteers to come and talk to our patients, read them books, stay with them for a while and share stories. It’s important that our patients have a fulfilling experience, and our volunteers help us meet that goal.
Planetree is a model of health care that focuses on providing patient-centered care and offers a healing environment. It empowers patients and families through information and education, and encourages “healing partnerships” with caregivers. North Valley Hospital became a Planetree affiliate in September 2002, joining a group of 64 other affiliates. Today, there are more than 100 Planetree hospitals in the country.
Since embracing the philosophy, North Valley Hospital has identified six areas of focus in creating a patient-centered facility here in the north valley. They include: healing design and arts, communication, customer service, health resources, complementary therapies and spirituality. Each of these areas is steered by a committee comprised of staff, physicians and community members. Our progress has taken the efforts and ideas of many individuals, including those who are in the most direct daily contact with patients and families and who have been the eyes and ears to direct our efforts toward true patient-centered care.
Several of the projects completed and/or are in progress are made possible with the support and education of staff to bring the patient-centered ideals of Planetree into daily reality. These include: a community library, which gives patients, family members and staff access to health-related resources; a harpist who plays weekly for patients in their rooms; and a quilt gifting program with quilts handmade by the Klothes Kloset in Columbia Falls. To participate as a community member in our Planetree projects, become a North Valley Hospital volunteer.
Planetree is a journey, not a destination; our evolution in the direction of its ideals will continue for the coming years. For more information on the Planetree philosophy, visit www.planetree.org