Volunteers become part of the team at Ascension St. Elizabeth

Volunteers at Ascension NE Wisconsin – St. Elizabeth Campus keep engaged and feel part of the organization, according to Renee Trzebiatowski, the manager of volunteer services. Staff members at the hospital not only train their volunteers and work with them, but they make them feel part of their department by inviting them to activities and potlucks.

Renee Trzebiatowski, manager of volunteer services at Ascension St. Elizabeth (from left) and Trisha Hummel, volunteer services specialist, stand behind Katie Weber, who has been volunteering at the hospital for more than 40 years.

“During Christmas, it was really cool to see the number of volunteers who walked out with little gifts that they received from their departments,” she said.
“People say, ‘I’m just a volunteer,’ but that’s not the case here. All volunteers are important – they are part of the team.”

Trzebiatowski, who has been in her position for 23 years, said the hospital focuses on patients and families. Two volunteers are on the Patients Experience Team, a program that was started last year. They attend monthly meetings with hospital associates and later collaborate with Trzebiatowski and other volunteers on what was presented at the meetings.

“It’s all about the patients’ experience and family members’ experience and how we can improve that,” she said. “And it starts with the first person they see when they come in the door, all the way to the last person they see. And nine times out of 10, that person is a volunteer.”

Volunteers also are involved in reviewing the signage and wayfinding in the hospital.

“The volunteers have great eyes for us,” she said, “so they can help us identify things that our average patient and visitor sees.”

Volunteers also staff the information desks at the three main entrances of the hospital. They provide information and transportation and escort patients and visitors to their destination. While interacting with patients and visitors, volunteers help them get oriented with the hallways so they know how to find their way back and are more familiar with the layout if they return.

There are three shifts available every day for volunteers on patient floors. While volunteers do not provide patient care, they serve as ambassadors and engage in hospitality. They greet visitors and family members and provide newspapers and other amenities that are funded by volunteer-sponsored fundraising events at the hospital.

Volunteers also operate the courtesy cart from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. It transports visitors and patients in the hospital. In the first year of operation, volunteers provided rides for more than 4,000 people.

Ascension St. Elizabeth is looking for volunteers who are willing to commit to volunteering once a week for four hours for at least six months to one year. All volunteers must be willing to get a flu shot as well. The application process includes state and national background checks, drug screening, and blood work that screens for measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox and TB.

Trzebiatowski said volunteers come from all walks of life.

“They are valuable people who come here to do something good for our associates, our patients and our physicians,” she said. “They are helping everyone. We are the one department that could really touch every department in the hospital in some way.”

For more information on volunteering at Ascension St. Elizabeth, contact:

Volunteer Services Department
1506 S. Oneida Street, Appleton, WI 54915
Phone: (920) 738-2425
Email: sehvolsvs@ascension.org