Using volunteers gives organizations the capacity to both increase meaningful engagement with community members and discover creative ways to meet expanding needs of services with limited resources. The successful implementation of volunteer programs can accomplish these dual goals, with three strong work elements; management, planning, and structure.
Samantha Mestan serves as the Volunteer Maryland Coordinator with Shepherd’s Clinic and Joy Wellness Center, which provides quality integrative health care to those who are medically uninsured in Baltimore City, is a solely volunteer based entity. Samantha has recognized the importance of this and is using her past knowledge and experiences, as a social worker to grow the volunteer program. Samantha is looking to impact the work of Shepherds Clinic in numerous ways. “Our patient census is growing, and with growth we need more providers. I am hoping that during my service year, I can get more doctors and nurses to help meet the ongoing expansion of the program.”
She has taken a close look at the current volunteer management system and identified the need for enhancing the performance of the clinic, starting with the restructuring of the nursing scheduling system database. The previous system proved to be very time consuming and inefficient. “Implementing a new self-scheduling process within Volgistics has proven to be successful. Before, our volunteer nurses did not have access to this but now, they are able to set an effective schedule that meets their needs as well as those of the clinic,” Samantha states.
The new system has vastly improved shift coverage on any given day. The nurses are also able to drop and add shifts and track their volunteer hours. This recent change increased the productivity of the volunteer program and positively impacted the flow of volunteers with the intention of better serving the clinics clients.
Dedicating time, understanding the mission of Shepherds Clinic, and formalizing a cohesive structure for volunteer management are an essential part of Samantha’s planning and sustainability. “Our clients view the clinic as a safe haven, and I overhear positive feedback with regards to the recent changes from our patients every single day. They are amazed and thankful for our service,” Samantha mentioned. Her continued efforts will fortify the growth of the volunteer program for seasons to come.