- Know what you want to get out of volunteering. You can volunteer in order to make a contribution, advance your career, meet new friends, gain recognition, or simply enjoy the personal satisfaction that comes from helping others.
- Check the time it takes to do a particular volunteer job. How does the time commitment fit your schedule and lifestyle?
- Think about your skills, interests, and life experiences and how they could be useful in a volunteer setting.
- Be open and honest about your desire for meaningful and satisfying work and the need to have acceptance and respect of the staff.
- Be willing to give and take honest feedback in your volunteer job, and, when necessary, to be an advocate for change.
- Respect confidentiality related to your volunteer placement in all settings in your life.
- Most important of all, bring your heart and your sense of humor to your volunteer service, along with the enthusiastic spirit which is, in itself, a priceless gift.
What to Do If…
Even the most seasoned volunteers have questions. This list is comprised of questions and situations that many volunteers have or have found themselves in. Hopefully, it will help you in making decisions that are beneficial to you as well as the hospital.
- What do I do if I will be unable to work my scheduled shift? If you are unable to work on a particular day, it is helpful to give the Volunteer Department as much notice as possible.
- As soon as you know that you will be unable to complete a shift, please sign out on the clipboard in the Volunteer Office, or call 913-676-2330 and report that you will not be in.
- For evening/weekend positions, please call 913-676-2334 to leave a message, as well as your scheduled department so they can take your absence into consideration and make staffing changes if necessary.
- If you are in a position where you have been asked to find your own substitute, you should contact someone on the list of substitutes provided to you. You should call the Volunteer Office to notify us that you will not be coming to your shift but who your substitute will be. This will help us keep track of who is responsible for the duties of the position for that day and time.
- What do I do if I want to change my shift time, day, or location? If you need to change your shift time, day, or location, for any reason, please contact the Volunteer Department to schedule an appointment to speak with someone regarding the issue. We are happy to discuss options with you and hopefully come to a mutually beneficial decision.
- What do I do if I am having problems with my supervisor or my coworker? If you are having problems with a supervisor, coworker, or any other individual while you are volunteering in the hospital, please alert the Volunteer Department staff to the matter immediately. If you feel threatened or feel as if your safety is in jeopardy, contact Security at ext. 72114.
Dealing with burnout
Burnout can happen to just about anyone in any setting but is more common in high-stress, high-energy settings such as hospitals. Here are some tips to help prevent burnout. Try to use at least one suggestion each day.
- Recognize that burnout is an ongoing process. It doesn’t happen overnight, and you can’t always pinpoint the exact cause.
- Be aware of signals that your body sends. Consider the physical, emotional, and social parts of life in respect to your task-oriented burnout.
- Have realistic goals. Try to develop goals that are reasonable. Changing goals doesn’t always mean lowering standards; it’s an adjustment. Think about what’s really important to you. It’s easy to be vague on this, but rethinking goals should be a regular event in your life.
- Reduce long work hours. There is definite link between the amount of overtime you work and your stress level. The more hours you work, the more likely you are to burn out.
- Exercise. Noncompetitive physical activity is a healthy release for an overworked person. Check with your primary care provider before beginning any new exercise program. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to reduce the effects of stress.
- Give yourself a special treat. It doesn’t have to be costly, but it should be special and be a break from your routine.
- Start your day slowly. Early morning activities can set the mood for the whole day. It’s also planning time and can help you prepare or rehearse for the rest of the day.
- Use relaxation skills. Sit in a comfortable chair and think about relaxing the muscles in your face, neck, and shoulders. Take off your shoes and close your eyes. Take a deep breath, hold for two seconds, and then blow it out. Repeat several times. Relaxing can renew energy levels for the rest of the day.
- Mentally remove yourself from your job. Step back and try to look at your job from an outsider’s point of view. Imagine how others might handle your responsibilities.
- If you feel yourself burning out or believe that you are heading in that direction, please talk this over with the Volunteer Department Staff. Your health and well-being are most important to us.