For Jeff Heck, a Door County Medical Center Auxiliary member, volunteering in the DCMC Outpatient Surgical Unit (OPSU) is like coming full circle. “I started my career as a paramedic, then worked in management consulting with pharmaceutical companies, so I’ve always been interested in medicine.” Now, Jeff is one of more than twenty volunteers who help surgical patients at DCMC to feel cared for.
Jeff’s volunteer duties are many, including stocking refrigerators with snacks and drinks, maintaining supplies and helping patients travel from the waiting room to the operating room to post-op. But above all, Jeff’s job is to welcome patients and provide a friendly face that stays with them and their family throughout their day.
“When we ride up in the elevator, you can tell which patients are anxious,” he says. “I always reassure them, letting them know they will be in great hands with the phenomenal staff and surgeons.” Then, throughout a patient’s time in OPSU, Jeff makes sure they have everything from a warm blanket, to a snack and cup of coffee while in recovery. “I tell them I’m part of their team, and I’m here for them. If they need anything or have any questions, I’ll get them what they need.”
The work is easy for Jeff, because he believes in the care patients are receiving. “The staff is just amazing: nurses, surgeons and anesthesiologists. They’re all so personable and their outcomes are outstanding.” Like all volunteers, Jeff is encouraged to offer feedback to DCMC staff. “Gwen Haight, manager of surgical services at DCMC, works closely with us and values our contributions and suggestions. Since my area of expertise was process engineering, I have ideas, and the staff is very open to them.”
Jeff and his wife, Gloria, moved full-time to Door County three years ago, after spending time seasonally in the country for a decade. “After getting settled, we began to look for a place where we could contribute.” They both found the Auxiliary to be a perfect fit. In addition to his weekly volunteer time in the OPSU, Jeff is vice president of the Auxiliary, while Gloria volunteers at the Dental Clinic and DCMC gift shop and serves as chair of this year’s House and Garden Walk.
While Jeff encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to consider membership in the Auxiliary, he is especially eager to welcome more men. “Of our membership of 200, there are about a dozen men. We want men to know they have a key role to play in our Auxiliary and there are many ways they can be involved, including those that don’t require direct patient contact. We welcome anyone who wants to serve.”