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Journal of Nursing

Let Volunteers Answer The Call

Irene Brennick [email protected]


Did you know 70% of call light requests are for “comfort items”? Patients need their blinds closed and their water is empty, they don’t have their reading glasses or a pen, they are bored and would like a newspaper, or they can’t find their iPhone charger. Waiting for a nurse to come back seems like forever to a patient just lying in bed all day.

With all the new mandates, nurses have more to do than ever, and it’s not easy to take good care of patients, while making sure they are happy and comfortable. Nurse “burnout” is a big problem, and stress is now just considered part of the job.

At the same time, there are young, excited nursing students just itching to get into a hospital where theycan see firsthand what the job entails. Why not take advantage of their energy and enthusiasm? Truly,it’s a “Win-Win” situation for everyone, but especially for the patient.

Also, there are newly retired people in every community who would love to share their time and talent
to help those who are sick. Is there any higher calling? There’s no reason why a hospital volunteer
program can’t literally “Answer the Call” and help take some of the pressure off nurses by making
rounds and answering call lights? Also, many volunteer programs have money and can purchase
comfort items for patients.

Trends are showing that both profit and non-profit hospitals are benefiting greatly in the area of patient satisfaction by increasing the number of volunteers they have. Today with more demand on nurses and less resources, hospitals would be wise to let their own community come to the rescue.

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