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'volunteer' posts

Special team of volunteers at Swedish MS Center

 
On Thursday, April 10, 2014, Swedish hosted a Volunteer Appreciation Celebration dinner and awards ceremony at the Seattle Tennis Club.  The event was to acknowledge and give thanks to all the volunteers who generously donate their time, and energy, to making Swedish a people friendly place.  The event was attended by more than 220 Swedish volunteers.
 
Our very own Swedish MS Center registered nurse Kim Lozano, and Certified Pet Therapy Volunteer Kathy Knox, and her Certified Therapy Dog Ocho (yellow Labrador retriever) were honored as Swedish’s “Featured Volunteer Program: The Leo Project.”  Kim created The Leo Project, better known as the Leo Pet Therapy Program to enhance the services we offer our MS Center patients and their families.  The name “Leo” was selected to pay tribute to Kim’s beloved dog Leo who passed away at the age of 13. 
 
Kathy Knox and therapy dog Ocho deliver comfort and care to all people who pass through our MS Center’s walls.  Ocho ...

Resolve to give the gift of comfort and warmth all year long

The holiday season is the perfect time to give back to the ones we love, our community, and those who have yet to enter our lives. For many of us, small, simple acts of kindness are easiest to introduce in our efforts to give back, especially when we are busy getting back to work or school in the new year. Thankfully, giving back doesn’t mean you have to give up a huge amount of your time!

One unique way to make a huge impact in our community is by using your hands, heart, and brain, together—to knit! The Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) has been lucky enough to have the support of community members near and far who have donated thousands of knitted hats for patients undergoing cancer treatment. These donations come at prime time during the holiday season but act as gifts all year long!

During chemotherapy, many patients experience hair loss. With the loss of hair, many patients experience low self-confidence, heightened sensitivity to fabric and weather conditions, and limited flexible income to purchase headwear.

With the support from our patients, caregivers and community, the SCI has been able to provide free knitted hats to patients undergoing treatment for over nine years. Knitting hats is fast, and provides both literal and figurative warmth directly to patients at a time when they may feel most vulnerable during their treatment. If you’re an experienced knitter, or someone who wishes to learn how to knit, or would love to knit for a cause, join a Knit for Life group at either the SCI First Hill or Issaquah campus.

This network of volunteers uses knitting as a healing experience to enhance the lives of cancer patients, their family members and caregivers during treatment and recovery. The group provides a supportive environment for beginners and experienced knitters. All knitting materials are provided ...

Inspiration in medical missions in Vietnam

I recently returned to volunteer in Vietnam for the first time in 13 years. On my first mission with One World Pediatric Care, I was still in nursing school, so I had limited clinical expertise, but being a native of Vietnam I was able to provide language skills and cultural knowledge to the team. I have fond memories of our team intro-ducing the Vietnamese doctors to Laparoscopy equipment and training them on its use. When we deprted, we left behind the Laparoscopy equipment. It was gratifying to return to Vietnam and find that Laparoscopy equipment is now readily available and in common use at Vietnamese hospitals and clinics.

This year, I joined a mission trip with Vietnam Health Clinic (VHC) from August 23-September 6. VHC is a student-led organization at the University of Washington dedicated to improving access to healthcare for underprivileged people in Vietnam, and recruits medical professionals to volunteer their services.  I joined ten medical physicians, two doctors of dentistry, one ophthalmologist and two optometrists to accompany the approximately 40 student organizers visiting small villages in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam.

In Vietnam, we traveled 2-3 hours by bus from Can Tho city to remote villages to provide care. Once in the villages, the student volunteers from VHC set up the mobile clinics; our mobile clinic was usually up and functioning an hour after we arrived.  We set up different stations such as vital signs area, triage area, vision check, pharmacy, public health area and doctors’ offices.

We often served well over 300 poor and uneducated villagers in some six-plus hours of clinic work. To qualify for care at our clinics, a person’s income had to be below 400.000 dong, or about $18 a month. Many took the day off to access free health care but worried that without pay that day their family would not be able to buy food.

Upon ...

Ted Ormbrek – An Extraordinary Volunteer and Gentleman

Mr. Ted Ormbrek doesn’t require much to be happy. “All I need is my church and my work,” he claims, smiling. Spend any time with him, and you’ll have no doubt that it’s true.

Mr. Ormbrek is the rare kind of gentleman whose work and life achievements immediately humble you.

Born in 1925 in Woodinville, WA, Mr. Ormbrek and his siblings were raised by their widowed Norwegian grandmother in Ballard. He attended Ballard High School, fought in WWII from ’43-’46 and, under the GI Bill, received a free education at University of WA School of Engineering. He married his sweetheart in 1951, raised three children, retired at the age of 60 as a senior engineer for the city, and all the while shared his passion and talent with the community by singing in the choir of his Presbyterian Church.

But he nearly lost everything he’d worked for in life, due to one devastating secret.

Thank you to a wonderful group of volunteers

Throughout Swedish’s history, volunteers have played a major role in building and nurturing the atmosphere at Swedish that has made it a place where patients who come for advanced medical care also know they are among people who feel a compassionate concern for them and their families. For more than half a century, one very special group of volunteers has been instrumental in creating this patient-friendly environment: the Swedish Medical Center Auxiliary at First Hill.

This small group of volunteers is made up of eight dedicated board members and Swedish supporters, each of whom also donates an impressive amount of time and energy participating in voluntary activities at the First Hill campus. These activities range from patient reception, assistance, caring and support roles in the hospital to event participation and work in the gift shop.

From its beginnings--dating all the way back to the founding of Swedish Hospital--the Auxiliary has ...

The Art of Nursing Complements the Science of Medicine

I first had the opportunity to speak with Sue Averill, one of Swedish's many incredible nurses, last year. As you may have read in her prior post, she's doing incredible work to serve in communities around the world, and shared a story from her recent work in Haiti that illustrates the art of nursing:

Last month I traveled with other nurses and doctors to Port Au Prince, Haiti, with Project Medishare, working at Bernard Mevs, the only neuro-surgical and trauma facility in the region. Project Medishare’s goal is to train Haitian doctors and nurses and to establish sustainable programs so the facility can function independently beyond the departure of expats. Among my role as ER and Triage nurse, I was anointed “The Hysteric Whisperer."

Many teenage girls and young women came to the hospital via ambulance or private vehicle presenting in catatonic states, hyperventilating or as “post-ictal seizure” patients. We soon learned that these were anxiety/panic attacks. One teenage girl was brought with ambulance lights blazing and sirens blaring for "seizures" – but made eye contact and was purposefully moving around in the gurney - not in a post-ictal state. The doctor approached the patient and shouted, "Prepare to intubate!"

Intubation was certainly not necessary. Three minutes later, I held the girl’s hands and helped her off the gurney and onto a chair.

With an astounded look on his face, the doctor asked “How did you do that? That was magic!” I ...

Making a difference, one nurse at a time

I recently had the opportunity to 'meet' one of the many great nurses at Swedish, Sue Averill. I say 'meet' because while I'm currently blogging from Seattle, she's volunteering her time in Guatemala and serving as a medical coordinator for a Doctors Without Borders project. Sue and another great nurse, Staci Kelley, are both ER nurses at Swedish Cherry Hill, Ballard, and Mill Creek. They started a non-profit organization three years ago to help nurses become involved in volunteer work at home and abroad. They offer a free directory of organizations using nurse volunteers that can be sorted to match nursing interests and skills to the needs. They also offer scholarships to help offset trip costs for nurses volunteering on international missions. 

I had the opportunity to chat online with Sue while she was in Guatemala to learn more about "One Nurse At A Time" and her passion for volunteer nursing:

You work as a nurse in Seattle, caring for patients in Swedish's emergency departments. What made you think about volunteering your extra time as a nurse?

Sue:
In 1999 a friend of mine was volunteering for Healing the Children and needed a Spanish speaking nurse to work recovery on a facial surgery team in Guatemala. I went and in one week, was hooked! I loved the work, the people, the process, the culture, the kids. I learned so much and gained far more than I gave. It was the hardest thing I’d ever done and by far, the most rewarding.



Sue Averill in Manila.

What sparked your interest in volunteering abroad? How did you find out about opportunities for nurses?

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