Nonprofit Highlight: Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital

Below is Barrington Area Volunteer Connection’s first installment of their new profile program, highlighting featured non-profits using BAVC. Keep reading for the profile of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital.

Interview with Magda Scanlan, CAVS – Manager, Volunteer Services – Advocate Lutheran General Hospital | Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital

What advice or tips do you have for Volunteers?

Do your research to find an organization that you feel connected to and are passionate about. When you make a commitment, stick to it. Volunteers help make great things happen and organizations need you and count on you.

What are the benefits of volunteering as it relates to your organization?

Volunteers who volunteer with us at Good Shepherd Hospital say that volunteering gives them a sense of purpose and fulfillment. They have the opportunity to make an immediate impact on the community. Their kindness and warm smiles brighten the day for many patients, visitors as well as staff. They touch the hearts of many individuals in so many ways! By walking patients and visitors to their destination, providing with conversation or making comfort items that the patients enjoy.
But volunteers not only put their hearts into volunteering but also their feet! Volunteering helps them stay active. Many volunteers who provide wayfinding assistance have a friendly competition going to see how many steps they each put during a volunteer shift. The top score was 17,000 steps so far!
Volunteers also get to interact with staff and support them in their daily tasks. Our volunteers immediately see how their presence positively impacts our hospital workers. Our volunteers also hear the words of thanks daily! We truly love and appreciate our volunteers!

What advice or tips would you give to other nonprofits that need to utilize volunteers?

Create meaningful assignments with clear requirements. This helps you connect volunteers to opportunities that match their passions and skills, and it helps volunteers know the expectations and feel successful when they fulfill them.

Have a training program. This allows you to share information about your organization, teach volunteers their roles, and helps prepare them for success.

Have a person designated to overseeing volunteers. Volunteers need a go-to person to answer their questions, provide training, keep schedules and communication up to date.

Make volunteers feel welcome and recognized. Volunteers feel welcome when there is someone greeting them when they come in and acknowledging their presence. They feel appreciated when they receive sincere expressions of thanks (simple thank you at the end of their shift, a note left on their desk or sent to their home, coffee/tea or a piece of chocolate, etc.) when they feel part of your organization by receiving updates and communication about the organization happenings (be transparent with your volunteers and keep them in the loop), when you share with them the impact of their service (forward notes you get from customers or share numbers that volunteers impacted) or when you solicit their feedback about their feelings about volunteering for you and improvement suggestions they may have for the program or your organization.

What do you feel is the most important benefit your organization provides to the community?

Our purpose is to help people live well so everything we do is focused on the well-being of our community both outside and inside of the hospital. We extend excellent and compassionate care to those seeking medical attention, and we care for our team members to make sure they have felt engaged and safe when at work.

How has your organization handled the challenges during Covid, as far as your services, programs, staffing, etc?

Being a hospital, our focus is on the safety of our patients as well as those who work and volunteer with us. We have implemented the Safe Care Promise that is a set of five safety measures to ensure a safe environment for everyone coming through our doors. When it comes to volunteering, we had our first volunteers return in May 2020 and since then we haven’t had any volunteers contract the virus while volunteering at the hospital. I’m proud to say that our safety protocols are working!

Can you share your favorite volunteer moment or story?

We are very fortunate to have many wonderful volunteers giving of their time and talents at Good Shepherd. We have folks from different backgrounds and at different stages of their lives helping us, and each volunteer brings their own unique gifts that we are fortunate to be the recipients of. My favorite moment is every day I’m at work and get to see the joy and spark in their eyes when they are volunteering. It’s touching and heartwarming to see how engaged, enthusiastic, and ready to serve our volunteers are. When you interact with our volunteers, you just feel their positive energy, see the kindness in their eyes, hear the caring in their voices and this just makes your day!


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