Mid Coast–Parkview Health Celebrates Volunteers

Vaccination Clinic Volunteers
Volunteers Ashleigh (left) and Arthur (right) at the Mid Coast Hospital COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic.

During National Volunteer Week, April 18–24, Mid Coast–Parkview Health recognizes the contributions of the more than 500 volunteers who support the healthcare system throughout the year, as well as the additional 1,200 community members who have stepped up to assist with the operations at Mid Coast Hospital’s COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic this year.

While Mid Coast Hospital temporarily paused volunteering opportunities at its facilities when the pandemic started, hospital administrators are currently working on plans to bring volunteers back to select key areas in a phased, thoughtful approach.

"The volunteer program at Mid Coast Hospital has a longstanding history of offering essential support of our mission to deliver exceptional care in our community. We are thrilled to welcome back our dedicated volunteers in the coming weeks,” said Lois Skillings, President of Mid Coast–Parkview Health. "This year, we are also astounded by the outpouring of interest from our community, local businesses, and partners who have generously offered their time to assist with our large-scale COVID-19 vaccination efforts.”

Located at Brunswick Landing, the Mid Coast Hospital COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic is primarily staffed by volunteers. Since the clinic’s opening, volunteers have contributed more than 10,000 hours of dedicated service. On any given day, the clinic staff ratio may be as high as 80 percent volunteers who work diligently to ensure a professional, pleasant experience for individuals receiving their vaccines. To date, these volunteers have helped Mid Coast Hospital administer more than 40,000 vaccines to eligible community members.

"As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, we would like to take this special time to recognize the importance of our dedicated long-time volunteers as well as those who are temporarily helping at the Vaccination Clinic,” said Skillings. "During this week and every week, we thank each volunteer for their unwavering service. These individuals are part of our team and help us provide a better patient experience while delivering more affordable healthcare.”

Since the Mid Coast Hospital COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic opened in January, more than 1,200 individuals have expressed interest in serving as volunteers. Organizations such as Bath Savings Institution, Bowdoin College, CEI, People Plus, the Bath Area Family YMCA, Bath Senior Center, Harpswell Aging at Home, and Freeport Community Services, as well as local Rotary clubs, have helped to coordinate groups of volunteers or assisted with outreach efforts.

Many volunteers offer their time because they want to give back to their community, but there are additional physical and mental rewards. Research indicates that when you focus on someone other than yourself, it reduces stress by interrupting tension-producing patterns. Senior volunteers spend less time at home and more time in their communities, which helps them increase their social and support networks. Many of the volunteers at the Vaccination Clinic acknowledge the importance of the effort and have expressed their desire to be involved in this historic public health initiative.

A retired school administrator, Arthur Pierce jumped at the opportunity to take part in public service once again and give back to his community through signing up to volunteer at the Mid Coast Hospital COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic. "I was so pleased that Mid Coast was providing these services to those of us in Brunswick, and I wanted to give back,” said Pierce. He added his positive experiences with community members receiving their vaccinations, noting, "You can see the relief roll off the shoulders of people with each step when they go out the door.”

Ashleigh Nadeau said, "[Volunteering at the clinic] has really shown me what an amazing community we have, and how we are all in this together. It is something I’m going to take away and appreciate for a really long time.”

In addition to volunteers like Pierce and Nadeau, several groups of volunteers have been covering shifts at the clinic, including Bowdoin College students who are volunteering as greeters on Saturdays for a five-week stretch. Others have assisted by helping to coordinate and transport large groups of community members to get vaccinated, an effort that supports Mid Coast’s goal of vaccinating the greatest number of people as quickly as possible.

"This entire experience exemplifies the generous spirit of our community,” said Skillings. "We are truly blessed to be a part of it.

Both the Mid Coast Hospital Vaccination Clinic and the Mid Coast Hospital Volunteer program are looking for individuals interested in volunteering. For more information about volunteering at Mid Coast Hospital, or to submit an application, please go to http://www.midcoasthealth.com/volunteer or call (207) 373-6015. If you are interested in volunteering at the Vaccination Clinic, please email your information to mcph_vaccinevolunteers@midcoasthealth.com.