A friendly face in hospital corridors
A FRIENDLY smile and a kind word can truly make all the difference to a person's stay in hospital.
A dedicated group of volunteers at Noosa Hospital are continuing to show that a touch of kindness can go a long way as they dedicate their time to bringing some light to patients' days.
One of those is Noosa Hospital Volunteers' Association secretary and a member of the Noosa Hospital Community Advisory Committee Anne Smith.
Having moved to the area from Victoria, Anne saw an advertisement in the newspaper looking for volunteers at the hospital and, nearly 17 years later, she shows no sign of stopping.
Chat with Anne and you can hear the joy that being a volunteer brings to her as she speaks of the staff and patients, her fellow volunteers and even the relaxed bush surrounds of the hospital that she looks out on.
She has a genuine love of the Noosa area - a place where she and her family regularly holidayed before moving to the area.
Hospitals are not new to Anne who was a nurse herself, beginning her training in 1960 at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne followed by a midwifery course at the Royal Women's Hospital. She didn't retire until 1997 when she was director of nursing at Numurkah Hospital in Victoria.
Anne said having that background had helped her appreciate the support the nurses needed, especially in organising paperwork.
"I loved every single day of my nursing career, but it is nice when I hear the buzzers go off to know that I now don't have to answer them," she joked.
"I can appreciate how important it is for volunteers such as myself to help with areas like paperwork to allow the nurses more time with the patients which is always valuable.
"I like that because the volunteers association began when the hospital was first built, we have gelled well with staff and they are always happy to see us and supportive of what we are doing."
There is obviously something to be said about being a volunteer at Noosa Hospital considering more than 60 volunteers are on the team, the oldest of whom is 87, and there is a waiting list for those wanting to share their time.
An extra group of volunteers man the patient buggy transport: a courtesy buggy to take patients to and from the main entrance and their cars.
For volunteers like Anne, the work is so much more than simply organising rosters, ordering uniforms, bringing around the library trolley, delivering newspapers and flowers.
"We understand that sometimes being in hospital, especially the oncology or renal treatment sections, can be rather daunting, so we take pleasure in being able to sit with patients and have a chat or provide them with a comforting hand massage," she said.
"We often get to know the patients quite well and it ends up that sometimes we laugh with them and sometimes we cry with them, but we are always there.
"I can definitely say a lot of good things about the culture of the Noosa Hospital and its staff and also the good rapport that we share both with the staff and also the CEO."
Noosa Hospital CEO Jude Emmer said it was impossible to quantify the value that volunteers brought to Noosa Hospital.
"We are enormously grateful for the time that our volunteers give to the hospital community," she said.
"The gesture is generous and the impact is huge."