CEO Blog: The “hidden” benefits of volunteering

CEO Blog: The “hidden” benefits of volunteering

July 2018 –

In October 2000, I published an article about volunteering in the Canadian College of Health Leaders journal Healthcare Management Forum. Much of  the advice I shared with emerging health leaders 18 years ago in “Volunteering a rung on the career ladder?” remains pertinent today:

Have you ever been in a job competition where you thought that you had similar skills to that of the other applicants and wondered what the deciding factor would be? “There could be a number of factors,” according to Fran Brunelle, Health Care Practice Leader with the Caldwell Partners, an international executive search firm. One of the deciding factors could be comprehensive leadership traits displayed in settings other than your core place of employment or your volunteer efforts. Volunteering in a community setting and/or supporting a professional organization can provide an excellent opportunity for individuals to develop a number of transportable skills to other full-time employment opportunities. In addition, volunteer activities have been identified by some as an excellent opportunity to create networks and perhaps even secure a full-time position

Today, I am very proud of the wide range of volunteer opportunities that Arnprior Regional Health offers. Volunteers can choose to contribute in the hospital or nursing home setting, on the Board of Directors, on health system planning committees, on patient and resident committees, and of course as a member of our ARH Auxiliary. Volunteering at ARH can include job shadowing, leadership positions such as being a chair of a committee, or being a team member of a department.

“As a long-time resident of the Arnprior area, I am keen to serve on the Board to help ensure that Arnprior Regional Heath continues to be responsive to the needs of the community, with high-quality health care.”

- Don Carmichael, one of our newest Board members, from his recent application

I believe the most gratifying volunteer positons ARH has to offer is to become a member of a committee whose purpose is improving the patient or resident experience. It is vitally important for me as CEO to ensure we engage our community in defining what we mean by “compassionate, quality care,” as stated in our mission: “As your partner in health we deliver compassionate quality care each day.”  One of the best ways to do this is through our Patient and Family Advisory Council and the Family Council of the Grove Nursing Home. The volunteer leaders (the chairs) of both committees play a critical, and I believe personally rewarding, role.

 I believe in the common saying, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”  Volunteership is a natural phase of one’s life and I’m retiring at a time when I can continue to contribute to society.  As the Chair of Family Council, I have an opportunity to provide leadership to families as we collectively strive to improve the quality of life of our residents, support each other and support the Grove staff who work diligently on our behalf.

- Marilyn Colton, Chair of the Grove Family Council

These are not the only volunteer leadership opportunities we offer. We’re embarking on the largest-ever community construction project, the new and expanded Grove Nursing Home, for which the ARH Foundation is tasked with securing local financial support. Well-known community members such as Glenn Arthur have stepped up to volunteer their leadership.

I decided to volunteer because I think this is something we’ve needed for a long time. The Grove is one of the smallest senior’s places in the county and we need to expand. It was an honour to be asked to be part of this campaign

Glenn Arthur, “Come Home to Great Care” Campaign Co-Chair

Volunteering certainly benefits the organization, the volunteer themselves and ARH staff. One of our most recent volunteers is a university student currently completing his Commerce degree, who’s volunteering under the direction of Chief Financial Officer Brad Hilker.

“It’s a great way for the volunteer to take things learned in the classroom and see how those learnings can be applied in a work environment, while at the same time helping the hospital achieve our mission. The Finance department benefits from the extra set of hands but also benefits from learning from the student, as they share the knowledge that they’ve acquired at university. It’s a win/win situation for all of us.”

Brad Hilker, CFO, VP, Finance & Support Services

So whether you’re hoping to give back to the community, expand your skills to improve your career prospects, or both, I encourage you to consider volunteering for one of the many opportunities available at ARH. If you’re interested, please visit the Volunteering section of our website for available opportunities.

Eric Hanna, President & CEO