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In the discussion thread: a revelation about being retired. [View all]

Response to llmart (Reply #15)

Mon Oct 15, 2018, 12:15 PM

16. Turns out my church group is still doing volunteer work at the shelter.

They just do a half week now, not a full week. So yesterday, today, and tomorrow I'm helping out there. The downside is that I'm on my feet for about five hours, and at the end of it my back really hurts.

And yes, it's the being committed to a schedule that I don't like.

Another issue to me is that some volunteer works are gigs that really ought to be paid. An example: a friend who lives in the Pittsburgh area is an "ambassador" at the airport. He mainly works with inbound international flights, helping people negotiate going through customs and immigration. He speaks several languages, which is quite useful. But back when he used to be an actual airline employee at that same airport, it was airline staff who did that. My friend says that back then they always knew if anyone arriving needed a wheelchair, what connections were being made, and so on. The volunteers are given no information, and at least a couple of the flights each week are with Wow airlines, which has no staff of their own at that airport, meaning if the flight is late and passengers miss a connection, there is absolutely no one responsible for them.

That is not a job that should be foisted on volunteers, most of whom have never worked for an airline (my friend is rare in that group in that he has) and simply don't know or have the resources to help out the passengers in a meaningful way if things go awry.

Another typical volunteer job that long since should have been turned over to paid staff is hospital information desks. My last job before I retired was working, paid work, at the information desk at my local hospital for several years. It was part time, 4pm to 8pm, and the only reason it wasn't staffed by volunteers, as it was from 8am to 4pm, was they couldn't get enough volunteers to cover it in the evenings. Oh, and weekends were paid staff. Prior to that job I'd worked at the same hospital doing outpatient registration, so I knew a reasonable amount about the hospital, where things were located, and so on. In the first months I was working the info desk, almost every single day during the brief changeover from volunteer to me (and every day of the week there were different volunteers on duty) I'd catch them giving out bad information. Now, don't get me wrong. Volunteers are almost motivated by very good intentions, and it is good of them to spend their time on whatever volunteer work they are doing. But, as I once told the CEO of the hospital, having volunteers on the information desk made sense in the 19th century, and through the first half of the 20th. But as medicine changed, became more technical, with HIPPA, with computers, the job had changed significantly and should be done by paid staff.

The two big problems with the information desk volunteers is that most of them were very uneasy with the computer, even though the look-up of patients is remarkably easy, and they tended to violate HIPPA in a big way. I'm in Santa Fe, which is a small city, population just under 85,000, and a lot of the people here are related to each other. Which means the volunteers, despite being trained (supposedly) on HIPPA, would regularly blurt out information they had no business blurting out.

Enough of a rant. I do enjoy the very limited amount of volunteering I do, and love my vast amounts of free time.

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Arrow 20 replies Author Time Post
ellenrr Sep 2018 OP
mgardener Sep 2018 #1
ellenrr Sep 2018 #5
Native Sep 2018 #8
True Dough Sep 2018 #2
ellenrr Sep 2018 #6
True Dough Sep 2018 #9
TexasProgresive Sep 2018 #3
ellenrr Sep 2018 #7
Sherman A1 Sep 2018 #4
HipChick Sep 2018 #10
Cryptoad Sep 2018 #13
greymattermom Sep 2018 #11
empedocles Sep 2018 #12
PoindexterOglethorpe Sep 2018 #14
llmart Oct 2018 #15
LineLineLineNew Reply Turns out my church group is still doing volunteer work at the shelter.
PoindexterOglethorpe Oct 2018 #16
llmart Oct 2018 #17
PoindexterOglethorpe Oct 2018 #18
llmart Oct 2018 #19
PoindexterOglethorpe Oct 2018 #20
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