Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center
VA Augusta creates volunteer 'concierge' service for waiting room
September 19, 2018
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Bridgette McClarty, primary care nurse manager, contacted Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center Voluntary Service a couple of months ago with an idea on using volunteers in the Primary care Team D waiting area.
She worked with Donna Ingram in voluntary service to create a position description. On Sept. 18, 2018, the ‘Volunteer Concierge’ program was launched. Cynthia “CJ” James volunteered to be on duty three days a week. The duties of this position include greeting Veterans/family members, assisting with kiosk check-in as needed, engaging in conversation, offering water and snacks, and be the go-between communicator between providers and Veterans.
“The volunteer can communicate information such as “your provider is running about 15 minutes behind,” which is better than Veterans sitting and hoping they haven’t been forgotten,’ said Bob Frasier, voluntary services chief.
Through this relationship, voluntary service will also be providing some scripting for the volunteers to help discover possible “irritants” Veterans may have. “Our hope is to be able to resolve those irritants prior to the Veteran leaving. We have two other volunteers that will soon add to the staffing,” Frasier said. “This is a work in progress and the PCT D team is on board. The Veterans in the waiting room sure think it’s a good idea.”
“CJ has a contagious smile that Veterans love,” Ingram said. “As she greets each patient with a heartfelt ‘hello’, she offers them snacks and water. She keeps a mindful watch of how long each have waited while ensuring their immediate needs are met. I think she is a perfect fit for this position and the Veterans are very fortunate to have someone with her compassion and drive,” said Ingram.