Twenty years ago when Concord resident Alice Van Deusen first started to volunteer at Emerson Hospital, she, "fell in love with the people and the place." Recently, she was honored with the 8,000 Hours Service Award at Emerson Hospital's annual Volunteer Awards and Appreciation Luncheon held at the Holiday Inn in Boxborough.
"One of the hallmarks of Emerson is our focus on giving patients premium care with a personal touch. Our volunteers provide the personal touch to patients and visitors that truly makes a difference," said Christine Schuster, president and CEO of Emerson. “Alice goes out of her way to provide an exceptionally warm experience for each of the patients and family members she sees and we are extremely grateful to have her on our team.”
Ms. Van Deusen began volunteering at Emerson in 1994 when she was on sabbatical from her career as an education and human services professor at Simmons College. She explains, "I needed something to anchor my days. There was always a piece of me that wanted to go to medical school and volunteering at Emerson was a good opportunity to help people and get to know my community hospital."
Through the years, she has volunteered 12-15 hours every week at the welcome desk in Emerson’s main lobby, warmly greeting patients and families, giving directions so they know how to get to their appointments, hosting tours, and providing general information about Emerson to the community. She also volunteers in the post anesthesia care unit (PACU) where patients are cared for immediately after they have surgery. There she provides information to loved ones to keep them informed about how their relative is doing in recovery and what to expect when patients are ready for visitors.
"My favorite part of volunteering at Emerson is getting to know so many fascinating people in our community. I thoroughly enjoy meeting people here," Ms. Van Deusen says. Some of her most memorable days volunteering were when she held and rocked a baby in the special care nursery until he was well enough to go home, and when she helped a mother who was anxious about a medical test get to her appointment on the coldest day of winter. Ms. Van Deusen was at the hospital during each of the blizzards this past winter, providing much-needed support to patients, visitors and staff who were impacted by the weather.
"Emerson has more volunteers per patient bed than any other hospital in Massachusetts," explains Janet Davis, director of community services at Emerson. "However it is not simply how many volunteers we have, but the caliber of volunteers we have. Our community can't help but feel welcome and confident when they meet Alice. She is truly a gift to Emerson and to every patient and visitor who has the privilege of meeting her."
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Emerson Hospital is a multi-site health system headquartered in Concord, Mass., with additional facilities in Sudbury, Groton and Westford. The 179-bed hospital provides advanced medical services to more than 300,000 individuals in 25 towns. To learn more, visit www.emersonhospital.org.