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A prosthetics and orthotics hospital volunteer stands in portrait.
February 20, 2019

Introducing… a prosthetics and orthotics program volunteer

Penny Cormier is a hospital volunteer with Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) prosthetics and orthotics program. She has been with HHS since 2007.

Penny is also a convener for our volunteer knitting program and she volunteers for the Design Centre at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre.

What do you do?

I speak with as many prosthetics and orthotics patients and families as possible to see if they’d be willing to complete a patient experience survey. The data collected from these surveys provides improvement opportunities for the department so they can better meet patients’ needs. I also collect patient experience data at St. Peter’s Hospital.

Patient feedback is important. I also encourage and mentor others in this volunteer role.

The data collected from these surveys provides improvement opportunities for the department so they can better meet patients’ needs.

In addition, I am one of four knitting program conveners. We work with over 50 volunteers who knit and crochet items for sale at our Give Shops. The profits from this program are donated to enhance patient care. I also assist the Design Centre team, which creates individualized visual learning aids for young children.

Who inspires you?

A former patient in the prosthetics and orthotics program, who was also my colleague and friend, Joyce, inspires me the most. As a way to thank the doctors and staff for their dedication, care and support, she enthusiastically signed up to be a volunteer.

Joyce encouraged me to volunteer as well. I quickly understood the volunteer role allowed us to connect even more meaningfully with the wonderfully caring doctors, managers and staff. They continually excel professionally and personally in their interactions with each other, volunteers, and patients and their families.

Joyce was recognized by HHS for the amazing work she did to create volunteer roles, which included providing introductory tours and demonstrations for other rehabilitation patients.

There are also many other volunteers and staff on the volunteer resources team who inspire me. Their efforts and achievements significantly enhance the patient and family experience.

Volunteering gives me unique and rewarding experiences.

What keeps you motivated?

The people who inspire me are the people who keep me motivated. I am also motivated by my interactions with HHS staff, patients, families and visitors.

My work with patient experience surveys provides patients with an opportunity to be heard and to have their feelings, opinions and experiences validated. It is just as important for those who deliver care to receive and respond to all degrees of feedback. Assessment, evaluation, reflection and review of current and future organizational goals and plans are critical in achieving success.

Volunteering gives me unique and rewarding experiences.

Tell us your most gratifying experience.

My ability to connect patients and families with the prosthetics and orthotics team is my most gratifying experience.

I encourage patients, if they so desire, to include additional comments when completing the survey. They appreciate that we share their comments with staff as part of the decision-making process to make the patient and family experience better, including how to improve the registration process.

My most gratifying moments are times spent with patients and staff. It’s good to see the work I do with surveys will have a positive and meaningful impact on department programming across HHS.