our muslim staff and volunteering

Last year* I wrote about our muslim staff, my push for their active volunteering within our hospital’s patient population, and my utter despair at their obtuseness and narrow-minded vision.

What a difference a ‘day’ makes…

We now have a standing list of volunteers that speak Arabic, Bengali, English, French, Hindi, Spanish, Urdu; scheduled 24/7/365 to provide services to all muslim patients including Washing of the Dead (a few went and got certified)- for Sunni and Shia.

The group has prepared packages of a trio of books that include a Qur’an in the patient’s language; ready for delivery from three locations -at a moments call, text, or email- the Chaplains’ office, the Medical Director’s office, and our Masjid.

Collections for causes such as the Haiti Relief fund created by our Hospital’s Corporation; collections for our homeless, etc., have become a norm.

Rotating Imams are now ready and able to lead Friday Jummah prayers in all three hospitals within walking distance- we are a group of private, public, and Veteran’s teaching Hospital complex.

In my office a Patient Safety Volunteers’ Initiatives program was created out of a grant received for the creation of a culture of safety, and now that has birthed a Medical Director’s Mentorship Program- I asked for our Muslim staff to volunteer their sons and daughters, and friends- they responded and now we have among the ever growing groups: one doctor about to start Residency, one medical student, one research pre-med student; one surgical tech and one CNA who belong to the programs- all Muslim; and all Mentored directly by our Medical Director.

It has helped us, tremendously, in providing the tools for our medical staff to deliver better patient-centered care. They have, through conversations with our patients at informal visits, provided updated data on our patient population and the shift that has occurred with the socio-economic changes of this millennium’s first decade; informing us which diseases are now more critical in addressing, zeroing in on new social factors that need our attention, and replacing long-established beliefs and practices -making us hunt the International scene for Best Practices. The program has also become the spring board for other departments to activate initiatives, programs, and grant writing; therefore requesting more of our volunteers!

The students (and volunteering medical professionals) have been able to use their time with us to further their writing, studies, and school-based research projects by having unlimited access to our Medical Libraries; research computer programs; and online survey taking software. Their professors angling for more students to join the programs. And having the Medical Director of a large, teaching hospital complex as a Mentor- well that’s icing on the cake!

I smile so widely at this progress I could literally tell myself a secret!!!

And the Muslim brothers’ most fondest wish, today, was actually put on the drawing boards- the expansion of our Masjid!

Volunteering! Pay it Forward!



3 Responses to “our muslim staff and volunteering”

  1. February 24, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Mabrook!!!! Such wonderful news, and a great model for other settings, including the reverse, ie hospitals in Muslim majority countries with a non-Muslim minority population.

    Mabrook again!

  2. February 24, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    The volunteer staff of WNMC represents a broad & varied slice of our northern Michigan community. Vision Care

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