At Conway Medical Center, the first face most patients see is a volunteer. These welcoming individuals greet visitors and patients and provide instructions for where to go. “When people come to the hospital, they usually have a lot on their minds,” explains Carol Biagini, Director of Volunteer Services at Conway Medical Center. “ Our volunteers offer up a friendly welcome and help them navigate their way through the facility, sometimes providing wheelchair transport.”
CMC’s volunteer group has donated countless hours of their time for over the last 50 years. “After Conway Hospital opened its doors, the formal organization of the Auxiliary was established,” recounted Biagini. “There were 50 individuals at the first meeting held on March 5, 1982. Early on, our volunteers ran the Gift Shop and held assignments transporting patients, hosting patients and families in the waiting rooms, operating the patient sundry cart, and assisting with mail deliveries and clerical duties.”
In March 2003, as a result of expansion and addition of new services, Conway Hospital was renamed Conway Medical Center. That growth has continued with the hospital system now boasting over 47 outlying physician offices across Horry County, including a large multi-service facility in Socastee and plans to open another in west Conway in 2023. The system recently added a hospice house to its list of services.
As CMC has grown, so has the need for volunteers. CMC now has over 160 volunteers interacting with patients and helping out in a variety of departments. The hours served this year alone by volunteers total over 33,700 with a value of over $920,000.
Biagini says that the most rewarding thing to most of the volunteers is the connections they get to make with patients, their families, and the employees at CMC. “The interactions they have with people are so meaningful. Our patients love them. Our employees love them. They are a part of our family and it’s because of the care they take with those they come in contact with and the compassion they provide.”
Some volunteers who are retirees appreciate the structure and routine that volunteering at CMC offers. “I work with our volunteers to find a good match for their interests and skills,” explains Biagini. “Some of them have backgrounds in the corporate world and a variety of professions, and some come from medical backgrounds. Others are inspired to give back because of personal experiences with their own care or that of a family member. All of that taken into consideration, I try to place them in a volunteer role that could potentially be the most rewarding for them.”
CMC Volunteer Services is always recruiting new volunteers. As the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, Biagini hopes to see a new wave of volunteers join. “It’s a great program and a wonderful way to help your community. Your gift of time will truly make a difference in the lives of others.”