Staff member in Cath Lab in scrubsStaff in scrubs in the Cath LabStaff in scrubs in the Cath Lab


International Volunteer Day: Meet Mary

5 December 2022

If you’ve visited Austin Health recently you would have likely spoken to our volunteers, from guide services and pet therapy, to ward support and even a friendly face to welcome you through the front doors. They are hard to miss.

You may have even spoken to one of our volunteers, Mary, who works in Austin Gifts.

On International Volunteer Day, we wanted to celebrate the integral part volunteers play.

Mary has been volunteering at Austin Health for more than five years and joined Volunteer Services in 2017 after she retired.

With a background in nursing, Mary worked at Austin Health for several years in Intensive Care and the neuro surgical ward before she left to teach new nurses who would soon walk through our doors.

After retiring, she missed the comradery of working in a team and volunteering at Austin Health is the closest she could get to her previous life.

“People are so grateful for your time. They want  someone to talk to and listen to them. Volunteering provides the opportunity to further develop and share knowledge with patients and staff.”

Since starting, Mary has worked in the Emergency Department and via telehealth during the pandemic. She says volunteering provides her the same kind of enjoyment and rewards as being a nurse.

Volunteers have been operating across our sites for almost 97 years and we currently have more than 260 volunteers working in a variety of roles.

“Volunteers are essential in helping provide a positive experience for patients. They are present because they want to be. They don't receive a wage for what they do, they show up because they want to help lighten the load, in whatever way they can. With that passion, and compassion, we can greatly influence the experience of our patients,” said Jodi Batchelor, Manager of Volunteer Engagement

Throughout the pandemic volunteer services were restricted, however there has been a huge focus this year on having them return while also conducting an audit on the roles to ensure they meet the need.

“We launched a number of successful short term support roles, such as the delivery of oximeters, gifting out coffee vouchers to staff, helping audit Austin staff on their covid vaccination status, to name a few.”