For the past two years, Andy Norris, a "retired" pharmacist who works full-time, has spent every other Wednesday at Augusta Health's Joint Center. His joints are doing OK; he's there for another reason. Andy is a volunteer, working side-by-side with the therapy staff to help patients with the exercises that will get them back to living full lives as quickly as possible.
Andy works regularly with Judy Knick, PTA; Michelle Cupp, PTA; and Brad Gray, Physical Therapy Technician. He is considered part of the team, and the team is a well-oiled machine. In group therapy, as the patients progress through standard exercises, Andy knows the next step and supports the staff without even a verbal request. Cushions and pillows are provided and taken away exactly when needed, sliding trays magically appear under feet at the appropriate time, exercise bands materialize and then vanish, and ice bags and water are always on the ready for a patient request. It's a routine so coordinated that it's almost seems like a dance. Most importantly, Andy's support and attention to details allows the therapists to keep their attention where it needs to be—with the patients.
"I chose to volunteer in this department," says Andy. "I just took a guess that it would be a good fit for me, and it is. I like working with the same people all the time, and I really like working with Judy, Michelle and Brad. I learned their routine, and now I'm just able to anticipate their needs."
Andy is one of 280 volunteers at Augusta Health who volunteer throughout the hospital, providing help and support in many ways. From April 23 through 29, hospital volunteers throughout the United States will be celebrated and recognized during National Volunteer Week. Augusta Health's staff is grateful to its volunteers not only for the role they play in providing quality care to patients, but for the culture of service they foster in our community.
"I enjoy volunteering here, believe me," adds Andy. "The people here are just so good to work with. You can see why I love coming here to volunteer."