Volunteers are a key part of the work that happens every day across Empath Health. From offering comfort to patients and families to providing behind-the-scenes assistance in administrative offices, our nearly 1,700 volunteers are able to give their time in ways as unique as they are.
What many people may not realize is there are even opportunities for volunteers with clinical backgrounds to use that specific skill set.
One such volunteer is pharmacist Brett Green. During the week, he helps with filling prescriptions for patients and other tasks at the Empath Health Pharmacy.
As a working professional, the chance to volunteer also offered the opportunity to explore the possibility of a career path change and expand his knowledge of hospice clinical pharmacy under the guidance of experts in the field.
“I’ve been a pharmacist for years and I wanted to see what was out there besides retail,” explains Green. “I went to school with people who work for Empath Health and this seemed like a great way to learn a new part of pharmacy while helping the community.”
On the other end of the spectrum is Gina Lucas, a retired nurse and former employee of Empath Health who wanted to keep serving in the hospice field.
“I worked in both admissions and on a home care team,” says Lucas. “I witnessed firsthand the many needs of our patients and their families. Without our volunteers, many of the day-to-day intricacies of Empath Health’s life-changing care would go unmet.”
Lucas began volunteering last year, once COVID precautions for volunteers were established. Initially she delivered medications to patient homes. Now, she spends her Sunday nights staffing the welcome desk of the Suncoast Hospice Mid-Pinellas Care Center. There Lucas screens visitors signing in and assists them with donning PPE, explaining the precautions to follow while visiting and describing how to remove PPE before leaving the patient’s room. Her knowledge and guidance in this role is a key part in protecting the health of patients, family members and staff.
In addition to their regular volunteer assignments, both Green and Lucas lent their talents to the COVID-19 vaccination clinics for eligible Empath Health employees.
“It’s so important to support our actively employed healthcare workers in any way we can,” adds Lucas.
To run a successful vaccination clinic, it takes the coordinated efforts of many people along every step of the process. Some, like Lucas, were tasked with overseeing screening questionnaires while others, like Green, prepared and administered the vaccine.
“Volunteering with the COVID-19 vaccine clinic was really important,” says Green. “It was another way I could do my part to help end the pandemic.”
Volunteer opportunities are available for teens and adults at locations across Pinellas County and in Tampa. Daytime, evening and weekend options are available – and you can even volunteer from home. Learn more by visiting EmpathHealth.org/volunteer.