Volunteering at Ohio State offers mom a new sense of purpose
Krista Korte has mastered recognizing bewilderment in people. Positioned near an information desk at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, she spots an older woman standing frozen while surveying the bevy of doors, hallways and elevators.
Korte – sporting a big smile, an Ohio State volunteer polo shirt and a button that reads “May I help you?” – asks the woman just that.
“Oh, yes you can,” the woman replies. “I’m looking for Doan Hall, and I’m late for an appointment.”
Korte personally walks with the woman – rather than just giving verbal directions – to her appointment, on the second floor of Doan, just as she’s done for the past five years as a community volunteer for the hospital.
Community adult volunteers contribute their time, empathy and compassion to make what is often a difficult experience a little bit better. Volunteers serve in all areas throughout the medical center, including main lobbies, emergency departments, surgery waiting areas and patient care units on the main campus and at other locations, including University Hospital East and the Eye and Ear Institute.
There are many ways volunteers assist at the Wexner Medical Center. Here are just a few examples:
- Welcoming patients and visitors.
- Helping people find their way around the medical complex.
- Answering questions and providing helpful information.
- Assisting staff with non-clinical tasks.
Korte worked for more than a decade at an insurance company and later managed the accounting for her husband’s business. She then stayed home to raise their two small children. As her kids became young adults, she looked for volunteer opportunities.
“I was looking for something to give me a little more purpose in my life and to put me out around people versus just being at home by myself.”
Korte particularly enjoys helping first-timers to the Wexner Medical Center.
“It can be intimidating to drive to Columbus, find the hospital, park and walk into the front door – and still not know where you need to go,” she said. “Patients and visitors appreciate someone helping them maneuver through this very large medical center.”
What is the time commitment for being a volunteer?
Most volunteers commit to one three- or four-hour shift per week. Variable hours are offered including day, evening and weekend shifts. Community volunteers are asked to make a minimum commitment of about 50 hours over six months.
“It’s very flexible,” says Korte, who volunteers two days a week. “I can work in couple-hour blocks. It’s very easy to do without giving a huge commitment.”
What are the requirements to be a volunteer at Ohio State?
We’re seeking volunteers with a sincere desire to help others and provide service to patients, visitors and staff. Most activities require standing and walking throughout the facility and being able to physically assist patients and visitors. Volunteers must be able to communicate clearly and be at least 18 years of age.
Volunteers also are required to complete a volunteer orientation, pass a criminal background check, submit documentation of seasonal flu vaccine and purchase a volunteer uniform for $22.
What kinds of things can volunteers help do?
In addition to the Ambassador role that Korte does, we’re also recruiting volunteers for the following high impact roles:
- Emergency Department – support arriving patients and their family members with information, comfort items and conversation.
- Patient Care Units – visit with patients while stocking supplies in their room or when taking them to meet their ride upon discharge.
- Surgery Center – greet family members, explain the tracking system and offer information on facility amenities.