Volunteer Orientation

PrimaryOur June Volunteer Orientation will be offered on Friday, June 3 at 10:00am. This is for ALL volunteers (nurses, pharmacy, lab techs, front desk, clerical, etc.). If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, or have recently joined our team and not attended orientation yet, this day is for you! Please complete the online application form PRIOR to coming to the orientation so we have the necessary information.

Friday, August 5 at 10:00am
Friday, October 7 at 10:00am
Friday, December 2 at 10:00am

April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month

April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month. At MERCI Clinic, there are over 225 active volunteers that need to be recognized and “appreciated.” These people give of their time and talent and we, the staff and patients, value each and every one of them. While the clinic wants to publicly acknowledge and thank the many volunteers during this special month, there will be an official dinner honoring the volunteers on June 13th at the Harrison Center of Christ Episcopal Church.

On any given Clinic day, one will find volunteers –
In the front office: patient check in, medication refill window, eligibility intake, referrals and translators

In the pharmacy: pharmacists, pharmacy techs, pill counters and intake volunteers for Pharmacy Assistance Program application completion

In the Medical clinic: doctors, dentists, certified nurse midwives, physicians assistants, nurse practitioners, psychologist, nurses, certified diabetes educators, LPN’s, medical assistants, lab techs, dental hygienists, dental assistants and student nurses

On Non Clinic days –
Data entry, administrative assistants, volunteer coordinator, telephone receptionists, special project volunteers, medical records request clerk, administrators who pull and ready charts for the next clinics, another administrative volunteer who sorts all incoming reports and gets them ready for each doctor to review, still another who takes the recycles to the recycle center, a lawn service that mows the lawn and trims the bushes, students who come to do assigned projects and/or tidy the outside of the clinic, IT people, board members, Mr. Honey Do who performs building maintenance including changing the light bulbs and HVAC filters

MERCI Clinic has always been a volunteer based non-profit organization. This clinic would cease to exist if there were not volunteers at every level of service delivery. When community members have visited MERCI for a tour and information, more than once, they have commented on their amazement at the number of volunteers staffing the clinic.

The clinic is always in need of more volunteers, especially pill counters in the pharmacy, front office help and lab workers. Do you have at least four hours twice a month that you can give of your time? MERCI Clinic could certainly use you. Apply online at www.merciclinic.org by filling out a volunteer application. You’ll be glad that you did.
P.S. Join MERCI Clinic staff and volunteers at Zaxby’s on Friday, May 6th from 5-8pm when 10% of all profits received during that time period will go to MERCI Clinic.

March is time for MERCI Clinic to give thanks

Usually, November is the time when we focus on giving thanks. For MERCI Clinic, it falls in March when so many in our community deserve recognition.

Thank you, Dr. Ralph Redding and those included in that fledgling, yet tenacious group who, in 1996, made a vision become a reality.

Thank you to all of the physicians and dentists who regularly treat MERCI patients, whether at the clinic, in your offices or at the hospital.

Thank you to those in our community who have responded so rapidly to our call for funding help. Your generosity has been humbling. We look forward to hearing from still others.

Thank you to the many volunteers through the last 20 years for your caring, compassion and dedication even in the midst of myriad changes.

Thank you to the MERCI Staff. You work long hours with the minimum of compensation because your hearts are dedicated to the mission of MERCI Clinic – providing quality medical care to the uninsured.

Thank you to our many sponsors and grant funders who continue to support MERCI Clinic through their understanding of the mission as well.

Thank you to the patients of MERCI Clinic who have embraced the new donation policy by investing in their healthcare and the clinic.

Thank you, everyone, because you are all a part of “many hands providing compassionate care.”

M: Matthew 25 Ltd
E:  ECU School of Nursing
R:  Religious Community Services
C:  Community
I:   Individuals

By Priscilla Miller, Executive Director of MERCI Clinic

Sometimes a Pill is not Needed

The Importance of Conversation

As a volunteer physician in Merci Clinic, I am allowed to spend as much time as needed with each patient. Unlike general private practice which requires 16 to 20 patients a day to reach my quota with insurance premiums, in this clinic setting there is usually ample time to work through a problem. The following is an illustration.

A middle aged lady allowed me into her examining room and displayed a worried and grim face. When I asked for her troubles, she revealed that over the past few months she has had a heavy chest and difficulty in breathing. “Some days it is pretty good, but on other days my chest feels very heavy.”

So we spent some time finding out her history. She had coronary artery disease about 18 months ago, and at catheterization, received a stent into the one partially obstructed coronary artery. She was given the appropriate medication for this and has faithfully kept up with her medicines. The heavy chest and difficult breathing seemed to be in some days all day, but not on others. It was not related to exercise or sudden changes in emotion.

After sifting through several ways of checking out her symptoms, I determined that the likely cause was not organic or structural. So my next question was for her a really important and illuminating one! “So what is on your mind a lot these days?” She burst into tears and I reached for the tissue box. It turns out that her youngest 21 year old daughter is pregnant and Mrs. Jones, who has raised all three children as a single parent, was very concerned that she “might not be able to see her granddaughter grow up.”

And then the conversation began to flow. She talked and talked. I was able to remember some advice from my days as a hospice doctor. I told her that right now I did not feel her symptoms were life-threatening. And I gave her three longer term options to provide important feelings for her granddaughter.

1) A hand written letter to her granddaughter telling her all about herself and her dreams for this new baby.
2) Snip a small amount of hair to be placed in a locket for her granddaughter to wear whenever needed. 
3) purchase a Raggedy Ann as a gift to remind her granddaughter who would be with her for the rest of her life.

At the end of the interview, Mrs. Jones got up and said “Now my chest is no longer so heavy and I can breathe much easier.”

Anonymous MD

December Volunteer of the Month

Every time a volunteer donates hours at the clinic, he/she is encouraged to place his/her name on a paper and put it into the “Star Jar” located near the volunteer log in book. At the first staff meeting of each month, a member of the staff draws a name from the jar, determining the VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH. (Once a name has been chosen, the jar is emptied, and a new month of possible winners begins.) This person’s name is featured on the white board near the back door, and the recipient is honored with a token of thanks that could be any of a variety of items from whimsical to practical to beautiful. One honoree received her gifts in a beach pail along with beach toys, flip flops and a gift card to her favorite, Starbucks. Another, because she had recently suffered an accident, was given gifts that would occupy her down time – an adult coloring book, a jigsaw puzzle, a book and a gift certificate to a local jewelers. The gifts are a small, but special way for the staff to say “thank you for your time. “

Recent beneficiaries have been Deb Krukowski (front check-in desk); Marge DeSantis (med window); Karen Gower (front check-in desk and now also in referral); Jane Schmidt (med window) and Sharon Thompson, better known as “Sharon T,” (a nurse who also has learned the technique of scanning records into the Electronic Health Record system).

The month of December honors Beth Gosnell, at the front check in window. Beth is a recent addition to the volunteer staff, but quickly learned the myriad “rules” of the front desk. Beth also helped out at the MERCI Clinic booth at the recent Health Fair for the Choice Neighborhood Initiative. Beth is a Master’s student in Art Therapy, hails from the Pittsburgh area, but has lived in many areas of the U.S., including Texas, so of course her favorite teams are from Pittsburgh (Steelers, Penguins) and Texas (Astros, Spurs). She lives with and cares for her father, loves to read, loves animals, especially Alaskan Malamutes and horses. Welcome and congratulations to Beth!