Susan E. Mazer, Ph.D. Blog

Thoughts and ideas on healthcare

Hi, and welcome to my blog! I'm Susan E. Mazer -- a knowledge expert and thought leader on how the environment of care impacts the patient experience. Topics I write about include safety, satisfaction, hospital noise, nursing, care at the bedside, and much more.

Just Because: Volunteerism at its Best

April 12, 2013

Volunteerism is authentic altruism in action, doing good work to improve the human condition — “just because.” The “just because” is often what parents say to their kids when they ask why they want them to do something that kids don’t want to do, but should do.

As adults, we may forget that we are capable of doing things  “just because,” rather than for personal gain, obligation, responsibility.

The healthcare system as we know it, OUR healthcare system, depends on volunteers — including family members and visitors–  to fill the gaps in care that only another lay person can provide, the kind of caring that is heart to heart. Since April is National Volunteer Month, it’s a good time to reflect and recognize those who give freely of their time to help make a difference.

And, I’d like to add to this discussion by saying that every person who elects to care for the ill, volunteers, whether they are a nurse, physician, therapist, or emergency medical technician.  We each make choices in our lives about what we are willing and not willing to do.  And, we are each volunteers in our own lives.

The “volunteer” I am talking about now is the one who mindfully elects to give of their time and energy in ways that are additional to everything else going on for them.  For patients, volunteers are the face of humanity, peers who choose to help them, talk to them, be with them — just because.