Each April, we celebrate National Hospital Volunteer Week and give thanks for the generosity of our volunteers
One thing has remained constant at Lompoc Valley Medical Center hospital since its founding more than 70 years ago – volunteers have readily stepped up to help our community hospital in a myriad of ways.
But as with hospitals nationwide, in March 2020, the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus meant LVMC had to send its loyal and trusted “Blue Coat” volunteers home for the foreseeable future. Overnight, we went from having more than two dozen Blue Coats at the hospital and about a dozen at the Comprehensive Care Center – to none.
For months, our hallways and waiting rooms were empty of this amazing corps of volunteers, who staffed our patient reception desk weekdays from dawn to dusk and took on so many other roles throughout the hospital and CCC.
It was a heartbreaking time for many – unsure whether the pandemic would mean the end of our valuable volunteer program. But after 12 months, we have slowly started integrating our Blue Coats back into volunteer roles at our COVID-19 vaccine clinic.
This week during National Healthcare Volunteer Week, we celebrate all of them, whether they are back on duty or remain at home awaiting the return to a new normal.
The theme this year for National Volunteer Week is “The Value of One, the Power of Many.” It is meant to reflect the awe-inspiring acts of kindness by millions of volunteers nationwide, while also recognizing the “magic” that happens when we work together toward a common purpose.
In a typical year, our more than two dozen volunteers provide thousands of hours of service to the hospital and Comprehensive Care Center. But that’s not all – as an organization we also benefit greatly from the work of the friendly Lompoc Hospital Ladies Auxiliary gift shop volunteers, who are now back staffing their delightful hospital gift shop. And there are the countless volunteers of the Lompoc Hospital District Foundation, who make sure our events, lectures and fundraising efforts are successful. In more recent years, LVMC added the Patient and Family Advisory Council, whose members collaborate with hospital executives and staff to help improve patient experience, safety and regulatory readiness.
National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 as a way to recognize volunteers who donate time, share skills or provide vital support to causes. What a wonderful idea.
“In what has been an unprecedented year for all hospitals and health care systems, volunteers remain strong, and continue to adapt to the endless changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” a statement from the California Hospital Association noted. “Whether in the hospital setting or safely from home, the impact volunteers continue to have is instrumental to the health and safety of their hospitals and communities.”
The CHA encourages people to share stories of volunteerism on social media with the tag #VolunteerstheHeartofHealthcare.
We appreciate and value our Blue Coat and other volunteers 365 days a year. But during National Hospital Volunteer Week, we want to ensure that our community also knows about these incredibly dedicated people, who do so much for us all.