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Michigan HealthCare Volunteer Resource Professionals
September/October 2013
MHVRP Newsletter
In This Issue
Message From the President
Volunteer Programs That Humanize Healthcare
Update From the Education Committee
AHVRP Highlights and Take-A-Ways
"Like" MHVRP?


Message From the President

by Linda Smith, President


I am looking forward to seeing you at our upcoming Fall Education Day in Lansing on October 30. This informative day is a wonderful opportunity to network with your peers and learn new skills. For our dues-paid members, this is a free educational opportunity. Melissa Sherry, Education Chairperson, and Donna Martotano, Education Co-Chair, have been busy planning this one-day event for you. Please let them know right away if you will be able to join us for this fun and professional-development opportunity.


Our board had an opportunity to meet at the new MHA Headquarters Building in Okemos for our September meeting. The former building experienced a flood last year, which prompted the search for new space. Stacy Dowdy, Health PAC Coordinator of MHA, gave us a warm welcome and provided a legislative update at our meeting. Brian Pegouske joined our board as Bylaws Chairperson. Brian is the Voluntary Service Specialist at the Battle Creek VA Medical Center. With the addition of Brian, our 2013-2014 board is now complete.


Thank you for the opportunity to represent MHVRP at the AHVRP Conference in Indianapolis last month.  The conference ended with "The Buzz," where the participants shared what they had learned at the various sessions. Below are a few of the ideas that were shared by the participants. 


  • Make three display moves changes before you mark down gift shop merchandise.
  • Put month and year at end of barcode on merchandise.
  • Put together gift baskets of things that didn't sell for groups asking for a donation.
  • The promotion cycle is very different for employees and visitors.
  • Use a mystery shopper shoplifter to test gift shop security.
  • Keep no notes from the interviews that have protected class information. Use behavioral-based interview questions. Use the same set of questions for all interviews.
  • What technology do we not understand that would help us? Use Facebook for younger volunteers.
  • Leave recruitment materials at the library. People who go there have time! Give every volunteer a business card to give to people they meet.
  • Recognition idea - use construction theme. Use lunch bags to serve snacks. Put Tonka trucks on the tables with candy.
  • Need workshop for volunteers on manners, listening, and body language.
  • Listen to the motivation of prospective volunteers - don't accept volunteers that are not a fit.
  • Keep mission in forefront.
  • Ask hotels for phone chargers that have been left behind. Provide them to your patients.
  • Annual reports - start with a couple of services for metrics, do a video montage, use volunteer testimonials, and tell the story behind the stats.
  • Prioritize services and eliminate those that get in the way of the best stuff!




Volunteer Programs That Humanize Healthcare

by Rachel Rosas, Advisor




Those of you who were able to attend MHVRP's Spring Conference probably remember one of our speakers sharing a video dealing with empathy created from The Cleveland Clinic.  This video again crossed my path when a former co-worker sent it to me.  You can find it here:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDDWvj_q-o8.


It serves as a reminder that each of the people we interact with - whether it's patients, visitors, or co-workers - have a story that they have not shared with us.  And each of you have a story - one that influences how you see the world and how you interact with others.  Colleen Sweeney, who spoke at our 2012 Spring Conference, noted that when she met with staff she asked them, "If you knew your patients had a fear, if you knew that they were scared, would you treat them differently?"  Most of them agreed - they might speak slower and softer.  They might take time to hold their hand or to sit and listen to their story.  What most of them didn't realize was that most of the patients they were encountering indeed had a fear that they had not shared with them.


How can our volunteer programs make an impact?

"Volunteers contribute greatly to personalizing, humanizing, and demystifying hospitalization." - Patient-Centered Care Improvement Guide, Susan Frampton, PhD et al., Derby, CT and Camden, ME: Planetree, Inc. and Picker Institute, Inc., 2008.


Take some time to reflect on your volunteer program.  What types of things are your volunteers doing to personalize the healthcare experience?  How does your program help make a notoriously sterile and impersonal world into one that values the individual?  We would love to hear about it!  E-mail our board at mhvrp1@gmail.com and tell us your story!



Update from the Education Committee

by Melissa Sherry, Education Chair



My name is Melissa Sherry and I am serving as your chair of education along with Donna Martorano, who is our very capable co-chair of education.  My background has been in community volunteer management, serving as the leader for a Volunteer Center and as the Director of Volunteer Services at Sparrow Hospital.  Donna also comes to this role with a wealth of experience in volunteer management, and she was recently promoted to director level with the Michigan Blood Bank.  Our experiences bring together both the health care and community volunteer management resources to provide a well-rounded education experience for our members.


Donna has taken the lead with planning our 2013 Education Day, and I promise you that it will be an outstanding experience for our members.  As always, our Education Day is a FREE benefit of membership to MHVRP.  Again this year, Sparrow will host the event at our Clark Conference Center on the St. Lawrence Campus, and our feature speaker will be Judy Warmington, who will teach us the latest in time management skills and organizational skills to help us stay on top of our game in an ever-changing world of healthcare.


Our Education Day is set for October 30, 2013, starting at 8:00 am for registration. To RSVP, email lori.glencer@sparrow.org


We didn't stop there... May 14-16, 2014, at the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth, is the date and location for our MHVRP state conference, and we are incredibly excited to have well-known volunteer management expert Rick Lynch join us.  Mr. Lynch is a co-author of the book "Volunteer Management," aimed at helping volunteer resource professionals from all levels mobilize resources of our communities.  He'll spend some meaningful time with us during the conference on the subject of  going beyond the Human Resource Model for Volunteer Management. 


The 2014 conference is taking shape nicely, and we plan to deliver an outstanding educational opportunity for our members along with terrific networking possibilities with other professionals, vendors displays and important updates on legislative happenings impacting the hospital.


AHVRP Highlights and Take-A-Ways

by Rachel Selgo, President-Elect



I would like to thank MHVRP for sending me to the AHVRP Conference in August. It was my first time attending this conference and I received so much valuable information out of it! I wanted to give everyone some highlights and key take-a-ways. So I will spare you all of my notes and just give you the top three take-a-ways from each session that I chose.


Legal Issues - Interview & Volunteer Selection, by Julie Meyer:


1. Paper that you use to take interview notes on possible applicant - shred this file when denied or hired (do not use volunteer application to write notes on)


2. Use behavior-based interview structure - past performance is a good indicator for the future (adaptability/flexibility, accuracy/attention to detail, teamwork, communication skills, dependability, customer/patient-centered, compassion)


3. Do not ask questions addressing membership in a protected class (example: What is your religion?) Do not include anything on paperwork about national origin, race, color, religion, sex, age)


Layout, Display & Buying Tips for Growing Gift Shop Income, by Miriam Works:


1. Signage helps the customer find a reason to purchase/benefits of product - "Great Gift Ideas $30 and Under" / "Benefits of eating chocolate..."


2. Boost Awareness of Your Mission - Use pictures to show how money from the Gift Shop has helped patients of the hospital and community


3. Seasonal - You do not need to order so much. Customers want to buy gifts for their friends for Christmas, not just Christmas-themed items. When you do have leftover inventory, mark it down!


No Rubber Chicken - Volunteer Recognition Events, by Frank Hrabe:


1. Make your recognition events fun - Put together a theme and have everything stick to it (ex: Construction theme- everyone in hard hats and construction gear, gifts are lunch bags with lunch for the day, centerpieces are Tonka trucks with goodies inside)


2. Take your volunteers on a highlighted VIP tour of a new space in the hospital - let them be the ambassadors for what is new


3. Make things entertaining - bring in a magician, singer, comedian


Practical Consideration: People, Policies, Procedures & Problems, Panel/Networking:


1. Connect with local colleges to see if there are students in interior design or sales that would like to intern for the Gift Shop. Great experience for them and you - they can help with design layout, help train volunteers to sell, etc.


2. Volunteer Scheduling - give volunteers the tools if they cannot be there. They need to connect with three other volunteers to see if they can sub before calling you. Give the schedule out to everyone three months in advance so that they can let you know about vacations or if they need to switch a time. Keep the volunteers engaged and educated: What's new each time they come in.


3. Up-sell - Make suggestions to customers at the end of their transaction: "Would you like a balloon with that?"


Creating & Creative Annual Reports - Demonstrate Value, by Karen Kerr-Osman/Kaitee Doll: (This was my favorite session - it was great!! )


1. Annual Reports are a great tool for recruitment, so make sure that they are exciting. Do not just put in the total number of hours, how many volunteers. Include: all tracking of how many patients were helped and served by volunteers, what the volunteer mission is, lots of pictures, volunteer testimonials, etc.


2. Put together a video for the volunteers - everyone loves to see their face. See if a college student would like to do this as a project. This is also a great way to recruit and show in orientation.


3.  Track everything! Ex: chaplain visits, dog therapy, front desk assistance, how many interviews conducted and how many applications received.

"Like" MHVRP? 
Thank you to those who have already "liked" us on Facebook. Social Media is just one more opportunity to network with fellow volunteer professionals.  We encourage you to post links to articles or tools that you find useful in your position.
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Welcome, New Members

Diana Brookens

Manager, Volunteer Services

MidMichigan Health

4000 Wellness Dr.

Midland, MI  48670

Phone: 989.839.3340



Karen Shill

Coordinator, Volunteer Services

University of Michigan Health System

L2616 Women's;

1500 E. Medical Center Dr.

Ann Arbor, MI  48109-5237

Phone: 734.763.9567

Fax: 734.936.9423



Pamela Fogarty

Coordinator, Volunteer Services

University of Michigan Health System

L2616 Women's;

1500 E. Medical Center Dr.

Ann Arbor, MI  48109-5237

Phone: 734.936.7912

Fax: 734.936.9423



Lynn Freeman

Volunteer Coordinator

Memorial Healthcare

826 W. King

Owosso, MI  48167

Phone: (989) 729-4818

Fax: (989) 729-4919



Eric Wood

Volunteer Coordinator

Grace Hospice-Marysville

1985 Gratiot Suite 2A

Marysville, MI  48040      

Phone: (810) 689-4380



Susan Milanowski

Volunteer Coordinator

Spectrum Health Hospice

and Palliative Care
4500 Breton Rd. SE

Grand Rapids, MI  49508           

Phone: 616.391.4254

Fax: 616.3913.4293


Marcia Good

Volunteer Coordinator

Spectrum Health Hospice

and Palliative Care

4500 Breton Rd. SE

Grand Rapids, MI  49508           

Phone: 616.391.4253

Fax: 616.3913.4293



Yvonne Elliott

Volunteer Coordinator

Spectrum Health Hospice

and Palliative Care

4500 Breton Rd. SE

Grand Rapids, MI  49508           

Phone: 616.391.4240

Fax: 616.3913.4293



2013 - 2014





Education Chair


Education Co-Chair 

Membership Chair


Professional Development
Newsletter Chair


Penny Brown

Community Resources


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