Short-staffed hospitals relish teen volunteer hours

Aug 30, 2012, 5:36 PM | Updated: 5:36 pm

Many people who are out of a job and looking for something to do are turning to volunteer work, something short-staffed hospitals are using to their advantage.

Unfortunately, when older people enter the job market again, the hospitals are stuck.

“When they do get a job, they tend to stop volunteering and go back to work,” said Director of Volunteer Services at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Kairin Whiteside. “So we have invested quite of bit of time and resources into a person that we may not have for a long time.”

But there is a silver lining. Of the Mayo Clinic’s 618 volunteers, only 100 are over the age of 35.

“It’s a little bit different than our traditional volunteer who is older and coming in more from the perspective of just providing a service and it’s something that you just do when you retire,” said Whiteside.

As the face of volunteerism changes, the hospital is looking forward to the demographic change and what it means for their patients.

“They bring ideas with them, they force you to rethink what you are doing and how we can take our traditional service areas and change them up,” said Whiteside.

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Short-staffed hospitals relish teen volunteer hours