If I were president of the hospital, I would send every patient a volunteer. — patient sibling
Meet Ingrid Arnold, volunteer coordinator at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.
What is your day in Volunteer Services like at Children’s? Though there are some daily tasks (providing volunteers with assignments, managing our department’s social media channels, planning our next recognition event or training new volunteers), each day brings its own variety–which I love. During volunteer interviews, I always ask the applicants why they chose Children’s. Some come in with a definite reason–for example, brother was a patient here–while others find their reason during their volunteer journey. I know that I’ve done my job when volunteers take pride in having chosen Children’s as the recipient of their time and talents, and when they truly live and understand our mission of providing the best care to our patients and families. We have unit coordinators, nurses, child life specialists, doctors, and volunteer coordinators (smile) who were all once Children’s volunteers. That speaks volumes!
What drew you to Children’s? Children’s is such an incredible place. To nurture my love of kids and healthcare, I volunteered on the Children’s Minneapolis campus throughout high school. I knew after my first shift that I wanted to work here when I finished college. The staff at Children’s share a common goal: to get kids better. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? We all have a role and work together to provide kids with the best medical care, emotional support, and developmental experiences possible. At Children’s we don’t just repair a cut or perform an appendectomy… we blow bubbles during an exam, provide healing through massage and music therapy, and have skilled volunteers to offer families a break!
What do you love most about working here? I have the pleasure of talking about Children’s and the incredible work that we do on a daily basis, whether in a volunteer interview, while training on the inpatient units, or at an orientation session. Giving back to the community is so important, and not only do I believe this, but Children’s does, too; I take great pride in that. I experience the act of volunteerism on a daily basis, and take pleasure in practicing it in my daily life. I enjoy helping at Children’s events, whether it be teaching kids about endurance at the Cystic Fibrosis Relay for Life Walk, serving lunch in the Ronald McDonald House, or talking about the services that we provide at the Baby Steps 3K. The opportunity to be a part of a kid getting well and leaving Children’s with a smile is the icing on the cake.
Do you have a favorite Children’s memory? As cheesy as it sounds, I make a rewarding memory every day–though there are a few that I will always remember. On one occasion, I spoke with a nurse who requested a volunteer for a baby whose parents needed to return to work; they were devastated to have to leave their baby. I introduced Mom to a wonderful volunteer, and watched Mom transition the baby from her arms to the volunteer’s. Mom left, wiped her eyes, put her hand on my shoulders and said, “Thank you.” She knew that her daughter was not only receiving the best medical care, but that she would be in the arms of a volunteer until Mom returned to the hospital after work.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? When I was little, I wanted to be a pediatrician. I have always had a passion for working with kids and have been intrigued by healthcare. I remember watching ER weekly with my dad, and being glued to the TV for Rescue 911 and other emergency medicine type shows. As I grew up, the fevers, sutures and needles became less appealing (much easier when pretending on dolls as a little girl), but my passion for helping others and interacting with kids remained. I am thrilled that these passions led me to Children’s!