Volunteer Spotlight: Joanne Konick-McMahan
Please explain your role as a volunteer nurse at Bethesda Mission.
I welcome individuals to the clinic and gather written information about what brought them there, their health history, and physical information, including temperature and blood pressure. This information is used by the physician staff, as they evaluate and treat individuals.
Why do you choose to volunteer at the medical clinic? How did you first get connected?
I choose to volunteer at the medical clinic because it is a way to use the skills that God has given me as a nurse and as a Christian. One of my favorite parts of nursing is supporting individuals in behavior change and providing information so they can make informed decisions. I am able to do that at the clinic.
I got involved with the clinic because I teach senior nursing students at Messiah College who volunteer there as part of their education. When I heard about their experiences, I felt God nudging me to volunteer, and He was right. I also work at Pinnacle Health System on a hospital unit that cares for those with substance use disorders and mental health issues. I have cared for men who were coming from or going to Bethesda in my nursing practice there, so it was not a hard transition.
What’s your favorite part of volunteering here?
My favorite part of volunteering is the interactions with the individuals who come to the clinic. I always learn something new from talking to the men and women I work with. Another favorite part is the nursing staff and medical staff who provide care. They provide compassionate, respectful, and quality care at the medical clinic for the right reasons.
How has volunteering impacted you personally?
I am much more aware of a patient’s life outside of the walls of the hospital. My care is much more thoughtful as I consider the environment patients come from and are going to after leaving the hospital. I am so very thankful for organizations like the Mission that are there when folks are in need. I have learned about many community resources that I now share with people I work with and in my community.
Do you have a story of a specific patient that impacted you?
There is not one specific story, but I am amazed and humbled by some of the individuals I have talked with coming from prison. They used their time in prison to learn and plan for a better life. I pray for them as I drive home from clinic that they do well and walk with God for the long haul.
How do you spend your time when you’re not volunteering? Do you work full-time?
I do work full-time for the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. I telecommute for them helping to develop certification exams for critical care and advanced practice nurses.
I love to garden, read, travel, walk the dog, and cuddle with my cats. I sing in the choir and teach Bible studies at my church.
What advice would you give to someone else who was considering volunteering?
Volunteering is an opportunity to learn and share God’s hope through a smile, a kind word, or deed. You will not regret it. I see “God moments” every time I come to clinic. I am so grateful for the Mission and the work of the medical clinic.
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