Hospital volunteers serve as 'nice' bridge to medical care
Updated: 2014-05-03 12:05
By Wang Qingyun (China Daily)
A volunteer working at Gansu Provincial Hospital tells an elderly patient who cannot speak that she will visit again with words written on a board. [Photo by Zhang Meng / Xinhua News Agency]
By 10 am on April 17, Tan Zheng had already been standing for one and a half hours on the second floor of the packed outpatient department at Beijing Children's Hospital.
People approached Tan, 39, with all kinds of queries. A man asked her where he could find an ATM. Another asked her how to get a refund for a test that his son did not want to go through with. An elderly woman needed help when she got lost in the building as she tried to visit a relative in one of the wards.
Tan often found herself surrounded by parents holding prescriptions for their children. They also asked her where to make payments or appointments, as well as for directions on where to get a blood or sonography test.
For three hours, Tan answered these questions with an energetic and clear voice. She sometimes guided people who got lost on their way to complicated procedures.
Tan is a member of a team of volunteers who go to the hospital once or twice a week to help guide patients, taking pressure off the nurses at the reception desks.
"I used to take my children to hospitals a lot. I understand how much a parent is suffering when their children are visiting doctors," said Tan, a housewife and mother of two.
"Thus I would like to help relieve their mental stress by providing them detailed and patient guidance."
Li Ning, a hospital official who coordinates the volunteer work, said: "The hospital used to recruit its own medical workers as volunteer guides. However, they are already overburdened with their own work and can't be doing this for a long time. That's why we started cooperating with volunteers and getting their help."