From LPN to Lifelong Volunteer: Pat's Journey of Caring at the QEH

"After I retired, I really needed something to do. I wanted meaning and purpose in my day," said Patricia (Pat) Atkin.  "I had no idea how much pleasure I would get by volunteering until I started. I’ve always enjoyed people, so I wasn’t surprised how well I fit in the role."

In 1972, Pat began her career s a licensed practical nurse (LPN) at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. She was an on-call LPN for most of that time, so she was always working in different departments of the hospital. 

“When I made the decision to volunteer, I knew I wanted it to be in an area where I would interact with people. I am a people person and diagnostic imaging is the perfect department to be in when that’s what you’re looking for. I have the opportunity to meet and engage with people every shift.” 

“I greet people and take them to whatever area of the department they need to be. If they’re going for a mammogram, I take them down and show them where to change and where the waiting room is.” said Pat. “I usually check the blanket warmer and fill it if that’s not already been done. In the breast screening area, I ensure the dressing rooms are all stocked and ready for the next round of patients. I even check the laundry bins. It may not be part my job description but it’s no big deal, I just do what I can to help the staff.”

Pat has been a dedicated volunteer for over 13 years and has given almost 2000 hours to date.

“Pat is a gem of a volunteer. She has such a calm, caring, and comforting manner with patients coming to diagnostic imaging,” said Janice Morrison, QEH Volunteer Services Manager. “She genuinely cares about others and is such an amazing support to patients and staff." 

Due to Pat’s wealth of volunteer experience and history of working at the QEH, she is often asked to mentor new volunteers.

 “I provide a lot of shadowing with the youth volunteers. Some of them are so great and some are scared to death, but it’s a wonderful experience to be there to provide guidance and support. They’re always a great bunch.”

Pat feels that the appreciation of the patients she deals with has been the most rewarding.  “I’ve had a few women who were in for biopsies, along with their partners, that really thanked me for being there for them during the process. It can be a scary and nerve-wracking time so having a calm presence there can make all the difference.”

Pat suggests that if you’re interested in giving of your time, to think about what areas you want to volunteer. 
“If you like people and meeting people, you will love it.” Pat said, “The staff are so good to me, I love the staff. They know and appreciate the work that you do to make their day go more smoothly.”


Published date: 
June 7, 2024
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