Volunteers vital to the success of St. Martin's

Published: January 17, 2022

As reported By KPC Media Group -"Volunteers vital to the success of St. Martin's"

(By KATHRYN BASSETT kbassett@kpcmedia.com)

St. Martin’s Healthcare executive director Tammy Stafford describes them as “invaluable” and the services they provide as “priceless” — the numerous volunteers who devote their time and talents to the clinic that serves the uninsured and under-insured residents of DeKalb and Noble counties.

The non-profit, located at 1359 S. Randolph St., Garrett, provides medical, dental, vision, mental health, and medication assistance.

In addition to Stafford, whose position is full-time, the clinic has 15 part-time staff. The rest of the roles are filled by about 50-60 medical health care volunteers and 30-plus volunteers who help with clerical tasks, fundraising, and events, Stafford said.

St. Martin’s is looking for others who are interested in volunteering.

“It takes an invaluable support staff to serve the communities of DeKalb and Noble counties. Please consider sharing your time, talent, and treasure with us!” St. Martin’s says on its website.

Stafford said doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, and dentists are among the volunteer practitioners who serve the clinic. She said the clinic doesn’t have any volunteer physician’s assistants, “but we could entertain a P.A. if there was one that wanted to come,” she added.

“We do get some of the P.A. students from Trine. We also get nurse practitioner students and we also get nursing students.”

Stafford said volunteer practitioners usually cover a four-hour shift, typically once a month.

“The nice part of being a volunteer is you can kind of set your own schedule,” she said.

“It’s kind of what fits with their schedule.”

Volunteer dentists, dental hygienists, and eye doctors also are positions of which St. Martin’s is in need, Stafford added.

“On the medical side, in addition to the doctors and nurse practitioners, we can always use nurses, L.P.N.s, medical assistants, because they can help room patients, take vital signs, things like that. The nurses are great in the med room to help count meds, double-check ... everything is double-checked to make sure we have the five rights: the right dose, the right med, the right strength, the right time, and the right patient. We double-check all of that as we go along. It’s nice to have those with medical backgrounds … for patient teaching,” Stafford added.

St. Martin’s director of development Grace Caswell noted there are plenty of volunteer opportunities for those who do not have a background in health care.

“There’s a lot of things that people who don’t necessarily have a medical background can assist with. Something that is seemingly ordinary, but makes a huge impact, is actually some of the clerical support. When we have a mailer going out … or we have a new giving opportunity, or we’re creating a new program, and we need someone to help organize and get a mailer ready to go out, it takes a lot of hands,” Caswell said.

Stafford said volunteers also are needed to help at special events.

“They can pick an event and say, ‘I really like this event. I’d like to help.’ We’re getting ready for our tea. If they have a baking skill or a decorating skill, or some talent they’d like to bring to help with that, that would be great,” Stafford added.

Looking at the value of service St. Martin’s is providing, Stafford said, its volunteers probably contribute $1 million in service a year. Last year St. Martin’s accommodated 4,840 patient visits.

“You could not do that if you had to pay … so the volunteers fill that huge void,” Stafford added.

“It’s a very unique opportunity,” Caswell said of volunteering at St. Martin’s.

“We’re helping neighbors in need and to find volunteers that have a passion for what we do, if they are passionate about patient care, if they’re looking forward to making an impact in the health of the community, we will find a way to help them volunteer and give back in a way that’s meaningful to them and meaningful to our patients,” Caswell said.

“It’s just finding the right thing for them,” Stafford added.

“Our volunteers are very high quality. They’re exceptional in their field, and we really treasure them. We do annual training for our volunteers. We celebrate their birthday. They become part of the St. Martin’s family when they become a volunteer and for me, interviewing volunteers and interacting with them is a highlight of what I do. Being in development, I don’t have the nurse skill that my boss has or the dental skill that this volunteer has. And so, me being able to work with them and support what they’re doing helps me make an impact on patients that I can’t otherwise,” Caswell said.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities at St. Martin’s, visit smhcin.org/volunteer. To read this kpc news article online visit- www.kpcnews.com/thestar/article_f699d9c7-6f96-5552-95e4-909ba3d82fbd.html