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St. John's Angels of the ER Gain National Recognition  

By Lookout Staff

April 21, 2011 -- No one wants to go to the emergency room, but Saint John's Health Center's Angels of the ER go a long way toward making it a better experience.

And now the Angels have been awarded the American Hospital Association's 2011 Hospital Awards for Volunteer Excellence – just one of four programs in the nation to be so honored.

"All volunteers are a gift, but the Angels of the ER are an exceptional group of people who make time in their busy lives to volunteer in a high-energy, stressful and action-packed area," said Grenda Pearlman, Director of Volunteer Services at Saint John's Health Center.

"They ensure that our patients are heard, and provide extra TLC,” Pearlman said.

“Just yesterday, one of the ER nurses stopped me in the hall to tell me how much the Angels are needed and appreciated,” said Pearlman. “She told me that the ER simply couldn't run without them."

The Angels have been ministering to patients for nearly ten years, after ER Medical Director Russ Kino, MD noticed that long wait times and other issues were making the ER experience less than satisfactory.

Formed by the hospital's Irene Dunne Guild, the Angels were charged with providing comfort and support, while acting as liaison with the nurses and doctors in the ER.

“The Angels offer a friendly smile, a sympathetic touch and a listening ear,” Saint John's spokeperson Sarah Phelan said.

The Angels of the ER receive rigorous training and are supervised by Pearlman, Kino, ER Nursing Director CandiceParras and Mary Jane Crane, a volunteer coordinator.

In addition to their sensitive and reassuring presence, the Angels stock clothing for homeless and needy patients and toys for the ER's younger patients.

It's such a popular program – 50 strong at this point – that there's a waiting list to volunteer.

In addition to Saint John's, recipients of this year's 2011 American Hospital Association awards included Hope Clinic and Pharmacy (Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, Danville, Ky.), "Cards and Cocoa" (OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, Bloomington, Ill.), and Women's Board of Montgomery General Hospital (Montgomery General Hospital, Olney, Md.).


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