As President of the Jefferson Regional Auxiliary, Nedra White is hopeful that she and the other hospital volunteers will be able get back to work soon. After all, Jefferson Regional has been a big part of her life for a long time.
“I have been volunteering at the hospital more than 20 years now,” she said. “I got started through my church. We had a pastor at the time who really wanted us to become more involved in the community, so the mission group started looking for opportunities. About seven of us ended up at Jefferson Regional. The others have moved on over the years, but I am still here!”
It may not have been her idea originally, but Nedra quickly found herself at home in the hospital. “I like the fact that we’re actually giving back,” she said. “That’s something I was taught to do at a young age, always try to give back to your community. As a result, I taught my kids that. When you are in a position in life where you can, always try to give back for what’s been put into you. That, along with knowing I’m supporting the hospital and I’m having the chance to meet some really, really interesting people, has kept me volunteering over the years.”
Nedra has also learned a lot about the hospital’s operations. “My first volunteer location was the ICU. At that time, we were given our choice of areas to work in and I selected ICU. I thought maybe I could be a comfort to people in situations where they needed someone to hear what’s going on with them. Since that time, I’ve also volunteered in CCU, Same Day Surgery and the Information Desk.”
In addition to volunteering their time, volunteers hold fundraisers to financially benefit Jefferson Regional. Which projects are Nedra most proud of? “The automatic, sliding front doors are a big one,” Nedra said. “We had a hand in purchasing and getting those doors installed, to make it easier to access the hospital, especially people in wheel chairs. Working at the front desk, we saw many people struggle getting into the hospital with the old doors, so I’m very proud of that. We also paid for inpatient rehabilitation to be redecorated – there is a small “apartment” where inpatient rehab patients can stay right before being dismissed to go home, giving them a chance to try out the skills they have learned. We redid that room which was very rewarding, and we also helped with supplies for the rehab unit.” The Auxiliary has funded many other projects within the hospital, most recently including televisions in rooms and monitors in waiting areas.
At last count, there were between 35 and 40 active volunteers at Jefferson Regional, and if COVID-19 numbers continue to decline locally, active volunteering should rebound quickly. “There are 15 members on the Auxiliary board,” Nedra said, “and 13 of them have already said they are ready to come back. We all have a soft spot for this hospital, and are anxious to get back to work.”