Looking for an opportunity to volunteer? Saint Michael’s Medical Center in Newark has relaunched its volunteer program, giving members of the community an opportunity to serve in a hospital setting.
The volunteer program was suspended in 2011 while the hospital was struggling financially under its old owners. Since it was purchased by Prime Healthcare in May 2016, the hospital is undergoing a rebirth with more than $20 million invested in upgrades to systems and medical equipment, according to a release.
In the first month of operation, volunteers have already logged more than 130 hours of service, said Maria Barbosa, who is helping to coordinate the program.
“Under the new ownership of Prime, the hospital is thriving again, so it’s the perfect time to restart our volunteer program,” said Saint Michael’s CEO Robert Iannaccone said in a statement. “The volunteer program is a great way for Saint Michael’s to further extend its reach into the wonderful community that we serve.”
The hospital is already seeing interest from neighboring institutions, including the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Nichole Cheney, a sophomore at NJIT, is majoring in biology with a pre-med concentration. She is hoping to one day become a doctor and said she is volunteering to get more experience in a hospital.
“I never had any type of clinical experience before so I figured it would be a good opportunity to start learning about the environment, the way things work in a hospital and start interacting with people,” said Cheney, who lives on campus but was raised in Rockaway. “I’d like to get experience communicating with the staff so I learn how to conduct myself in a situation like this.”
The program is not just open to college students. Maryann Galindo, who lives in the Ironbound section of Newark, is a junior at Science Park High School in the city. She hopes to attend New Jersey City University, where she plans to study to become a nurse.
“I previously volunteered at a nursing home, but I wanted the experience of being in a hospital,” Galindo said.
In addition to students, Saint Michael’s is also hoping to attract senior citizens and others who want to give back.
Among the jobs volunteers will be asked to do are working at the front information desk to greet visitors and working the outpatient registration desk.
In addition, volunteers will have the opportunity to work directly with patients as ambassadors on nursing units, where they visit with patients, families and visitors, obtain comfort care items such as pillows, blankets, and tissues, help patients with phone calls and offer magazines, books or light conversation.
Those interested in volunteering can call Claudia Alves at 973-877-5477 or Kim Rossomando at 973-877-5295.