The volunteer program at Mayo Clinic is one that has been around for many, many years. At any given time, we have about 500 active volunteers which is 10% of Mayo Clinic's employment rate. It's a very big group so Mayo Clinic volunteers make a big impact because they are the ones that are giving that extra special touch to someone's care.
A lot of times, a volunteer is the first person and or last person that a patient or family member may see. Many of our volunteers or patients or have been with family members that are patients. They know what Mayo Clinic stands for and they want to represent Mayo the same way that they have seen it done for them.
At least for people my age, there are many things that you can do here in north Florida and Jacksonville to keep yourself busy. But I think one of the things volunteers are looking for is a way to give back some way to the community; An opportunity to do something that, at least in a small way, makes a difference someplace and I think here at Mayo you can find that.
We are a very diverse group: different ages, different skill sets, different options for people.
It is not just a situation where you come in one day and are sent off to do a task. You receive training, you receive support, you feel good about working here because the support that you receive as a volunteer is extraordinary.
We do have a new program called Caring Canines and it is an animal assisted activity program so we have dogs that are specially trained and certified to provide assistance for patients. They come to waiting areas specifically to waiting rooms that we have set up and they are available to visit with patients, family members, caregivers as a way to relieve anxiety, relief stress and make their wait time a little bit more comfortable.
People from all walks of life that never would have come across each other, other than Mayo Clinic are our friends and it's remarkable because when you see a volunteer walking down the hall, I would say nine times out of ten they're gonna have another volunteer walking with them. They're chatting, they're laughing, they're sharing with each other — we see it every day with people developing relationships. And what we have found is after volunteers have been here for a while, they have told us that something within them changes — that they see people that are different than them. They see people that are in need and they are able to help them and that in turn has caused them to change internally.
Good to see you today.
You, too. How's school going for you?
It's going really good.
I think I'm a better person because of my volunteering experience. You meet some great people. You can make some good friends with the people that you do actually volunteer with.
Everyone is here for the same reason — because they believe in Mayo, they believe in its values and they want to serve our patients. The volunteers just add a very special touch to Mayo Clinic.
Volunteering at the Mayo Clinic is a real privilege. You will get more out of it than you ever imagined.
The concept of Mayo is to put the patient first and that concept is part of our training and part of the program and you feel good about it at the end of the day because you have the opportunity to see a person that you that you assisted, feel better. I think it adds to the quality of the volunteers life tremendously to take the time to volunteer here.