I was watching Face the Nation this weekend. It isn’t my favorite show to watch, I must admit, but I was laid up over Memorial weekend with a very painful broken rib. During the show, one of the commentators came on and stated we always need to remember the phrase, “United We Stand”. It really hit a note with me. Our profession is changing rapidly due to the changing health care arena. Many of our roles as volunteer directors/managers have been diluted with added responsibilities of guest services, retail, patient experience, spiritual care, just to name a few. Volunteers demand a different level of satisfaction to achieve continued retention and the pie of available volunteers keeps shrinking. How do we combat so much change, but retain the very core of our profession as volunteer leaders?
I think the first step is we stand together. United as volunteer professionals leading the way for the future. What does the future hold for us and how do volunteers fit into that picture? Volunteers and volunteering are the backbone of this country. That will not change. But how we lead and manage volunteers and meet a growing and changing health care landscape has to change.
I think we should highlight our wonderful programs from around the country. But how? A great first step would be to submit a concurrent session at conference or nominating for an AHVRP award in several categories. Pave the way for others to follow and see what you have done in your changing environment. If you’re like me, I remember the very old days when AHVRP only had an extraordinary awards luncheon. Those announced winners would make me cry at my seat and be so immensely proud of my colleagues. Now, AHVRP hands out several awards in several categories. This should inspire all of us for our great work. We learn from each other.
Hopefully, we can all unite at the conference. I want to see you, meet you, hear what you are doing in your hospitals. Networking is our true gift to each other. We continually grow from each other. Volunteer leaders are friendly, compassionate, caring; it is so easy to meet new people at the conference. I love the quote “We have fire in our souls, but grace in our hearts”. It is the similarity of individuals that share our passion and lead our volunteers each and every day that is unique to our profession. United we stand.
J.K. Rowling said: “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided”. I know we won’t be divided. This is our profession. We stand by it, we will grow it into the future, we will enhance it for our volunteers, but one thing holds true. We will be the light that keeps shining for all to follow in our footsteps.
2019 AHVRP President