Dale Snead spent most of her life working in health care. Even after retiring , her passion for serving others continues, now as a hospital volunteer.
She loves volunteering at Novant Health’s Presbyterian Medical Center for several reasons. First, she draws a lot of energy from helping people. "I must have the face that says ‘I’m here to help,’” she said. “People seem to gravitate to me to ask for directions.”
Snead also finds that, as a retired nurse, she feels at home in every nook and cranny of the hospital. ”Volunteering keeps me close to my passion for health care as well as for serving others,” she said. And finally, she said that volunteering helps her get her “steps in” each week, keeping her healthy and active.
Most Monday mornings, you’ll find her serving as a surgical waiting room ambassador, escorting family members to and from surgery pre-op and recovery. On an average shift, she’ll log 7,000 to 8,000 steps going back and forth from the first floor waiting area to the second floor operating room unit.
“ I love helping people – and getting my steps in,” she said. “I often ask them if they would like to take the stairs. You'd be surprised how many people like taking stairs instead of elevators. I think it helps them get rid of some of their stress, too.”
There’s another reason Snead gets a kick out of taking the stairs. It reconnects her to the music she grew up with. “They have great music in the stairwell and people really like that too. They've got the oldies and some of the new stuff, but most of it is from when I was a young teenager,” she said. “And sometimes, when no one is looking, I dance in the stairway.”
Missing the hospital
Volunteers play an important role in American civil life. About 25 percent of the public volunteers in the U.S. each year, providing services valued at $184 billion in 2015 . At Novant Health, they do everything from serving as patient ambassadors to delivering flowers and mail. They knit caps for babies, help patients find their way through the hospital, work with pet therapy dogs and serve in gift shops. One special program connects veterans with patients who have served in the military.
“Volunteering – helping people – makes me feel useful,” Snead said. And it maintains her lifelong connection to health care.
Snead said when she retired she tried out various activities and volunteer roles – everything from pickle ball to helping with the homeless, but she realized her first love was still health care. “I love my volunteer role with Presbyterian Medical Center. As a volunteer ambassador, I get to help patients and their families, and I still have contact with former colleagues – just from a different perspective. And I stay healthy by getting my steps in, with the occasional dance in the stairwell!”
Want to make a difference? Novant Health Volunteer Services is currently recruiting Volunteer Ambassadors to serve in various areas throughout its facilities. Click here for volunteer services and then look on the right side of the page for the hospital nearest you.