The Heart of a Volunteer

Celebrating National Volunteer Week at Parkwest Medical Center

At Parkwest Medical Center, volunteers are an essential component of keeping the hospital running smoothly. Working in a number of areas throughout the hospital, over 60 sets of helpful hands do everything from serving as support staff in waiting rooms to being the first friendly face you see when you enter the building. National Volunteer Week is celebrated this year from April 16 – 22. In 2022, volunteers contributed over 15,000 hours of their time to help make patients’ and visitors’ experiences at the hospital smoother. “Our volunteers work side-by-side with our employees and physicians to make sure our patients receive the best and safest care possible,” said Amanda Paletz, volunteer services manager for Parkwest. “They help us staff areas throughout our facilities and provide support to family members of patients who are receiving care at Parkwest.”

People First

Headshot of Andy Weaver smiling, wearing blue volunteer jacket.
Andy Weaver

Multiple studies have shown that volunteering can increase life expectancy and decrease the risk of depression and anxiety. It’s also a great way to make friends, something active volunteer Andy Weaver has enjoyed about his experience. “The people at Parkwest are great people to work with,” says Weaver. “In my 15 years of volunteering, I’ve always looked for- ward to it and enjoy seeing the great friends
I’ve made over the years.” Weaver currently volunteers once a week in the procedural care waiting area, where he brings patients back for their procedures like colonoscopies or endoscopies. He also waits
with the families and ensures he has all the information need- ed from the patient, such as who will be driving the person home.

“Many years ago, my wife had a procedure done at Parkwest. During that time, we met a volunteerand I realized that was something I would like to do, too,” says Weaver. “You’re doing something the staff rely on you to do, so showing up is important because the patients are important.”

Paletz agrees. “Our team of volunteers is made up of amazing men and women who give their time every week to help us put our patients first at Parkwest Medical Center and Peninsula.”

Being There for Others

Headshot of Susan Brown smiling, wearing blue volunteer jacket.
Susan Brown

Long- time volunteer Susan Brown has enjoyed volunteering weekly at Parkwest for almost 20 years. She has worked at the information desk and in the outpatient waiting room, but currently volunteers in the surgery waiting room. There, she aids the families of patients by letting them know the surgery process, taking them to other places in the hospital and bringing them back  to see their loved one after the surgery is over. “I want the families to know that we’re there for them, too,” says Brown. “I try to make them as comfortable as possible and answer any questions they may have. I’m a people person and  enjoy these interactions with families.”

“We receive many compliments about our volunteers and how friendly and compassionate they are, especially in stressful situations for patients and their families,” adds Paletz.

Love What You Do

“I couldn’t love my job any more if I was an employee,” says Brown. “I love being at Parkwest. I want everyone to be a part of the team and I try to recruit volunteers everywhere I can. You will not find a more satisfying, heartfelt place to volunteer.” Brown elaborates on the benefits of volunteering and doing something because you want to, not because you have to. “Volunteering is giving yourself for someone else. You don’t get paid for it, but you are just as essential as an employee. You can work as much as you want, and it’s easy to do. If you’re able to, volunteer in something.”

Weaver echoes Brown’s enthusiasm for volunteering, saying he intends to volunteer at Parkwest as long as he can. “If you think you may be interested in volunteering, try it out,” says Weaver. “There’s a
lot of different volunteer roles to choose from, and the volunteer coordinator works with you to find an area you like.”

Paletz notes that there are many opportunities to volunteer at the hospital for a variety of  tasks. Many volunteers work in support areas in various waiting rooms, as greeters at the main entrances or at registration kiosks. There are even opportunities in areas like materials management or food services. There are also volunteer opportunities at Peninsula Hospital and its outpatient clinics. If you’re interested in volunteering at Parkwest or Peninsula and can contribute at least four hours of service per week, visit to apply or call 865-373-1064 for more information.

Volunteer Opportunities at Parkwest Medical Center

At Parkwest Medical Center, we have opportunities throughout the hospital. Whatever your interests, we have something for you!

  • Surgery Waiting: Welcome patients and families to the surgery waiting process. Update families on patients’ progress during pre-op, surgery, recovery and post-op. Assist with cleanliness of waiting room and coffee area. This position requires computer skills and multi-tasking with frequent walking.
  • Lobby Greeter: Greet and welcome patients and guests. Provide directions and general information.  Answer phones. Escort patients and guests to various areas of the hospital. Assist with wheelchair  transport when necessary.
  • Procedural Care Unit (PCU) Waiting: Welcome and coordinate check-in and updates for heart cath and endoscopy patients. Assist with cleanliness of waiting room and coffee area. This position requires computer use multi-tasking skills, and some walking.
  • Critical Care Waiting: Caring and compassionate volunteers coordinate visitation times for family members and serve as communication liaisons between families and critical care clinical staff. Assist with cleanliness of waiting room and kitchen areas.
  • Admitting/Registration: Assist patients with kiosk check-in and escort patients to various areas of hospital for tests and procedures.
  • Fort Sanders West: Assist with clerical and non-clinical duties at physical therapy and cardiac rehab.
  • H.A.B.I.T.: Volunteers and their animals certified by University of Tennessee H.A.B.I.T. program provide animal-assisted therapy to staff throughout the facility, and to patients in the Senior Behavioral Health unit.
  • Lost and Found: Assist with picking up, organizing and contacting patients/ visitors regarding lost and found items.
  • Materials Management: Assist with warehouse stock, labeling products or pulling orders for hospital units.
  • Meal Tray: Assist staff on units with non-medical tasks (passing out patient meal trays).

For more information about volunteering at Parkwest or Peninsula visit or call 865-373-1064.

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