The Meaning of Care Magazine
Volunteer Has Logged Over 10,000 Hours at Methodist Fremont HealthPublished: Dec. 12, 2022
After more than 10 years of volunteering at Methodist Fremont Health, Rose Gude has gained a bit of a reputation.
“She’s a huge asset,” said Alison Kumm, guest services and volunteer supervisor at the hospital.
Fellow volunteer Cade Rasmussen said he admires Gude for her “character and selflessness.”
But Kay Fitzke, BSN, RN, CAPA, who works alongside Gude in the surgery waiting area, may have summed it up best.
“She’s very humble,” said Fitzke, the hospital’s perianesthesia nurse manager. “But the work that she does is invaluable.”
Nothing illustrates that point quite like a statistic that Kumm uncovered recently – and Gude’s reaction to it. Since 2009, she has worked over 10,600 volunteer hours at the hospital, or about 16 hours a week.
“I’m amazed,” Gude said. “I never count my hours, but I guess they add up fast, don’t they? I am proud – you should be – but I don’t want to be big-headed about it.”
“Every Bit Helps”
Gude, 77, is one of dozens of volunteers at Methodist Fremont Health – and hundreds across Methodist Health System – who generously offer their time and talents to support patients, families and staff.
“Volunteers are crucial,” Kumm said. “They’re a huge part of our health system, especially in this day and age with patients that need additional support. Many times, just having their smiling faces there to greet visitors and patients makes a huge difference.”
While many volunteer roles at Methodist Fremont Health do involve public interaction – for example, greeting and escorting patients, working in the gift shop and spending time with Dunklau Gardens residents – there are plenty of options for those who prefer to contribute behind the scenes. Volunteers are needed for administrative and clerical duties, separating flowers into bouquets, and keeping various areas of the hospitals stocked with supplies. Wherever someone volunteers, Kumm asks that they try to work at least three hours per month.
“We have so many ways people can get involved,” said Kumm, who noted that the hospital’s volunteer force fell from over 130 people to about 50 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Every bit helps. Most volunteers aren’t able to give as much time as Rose, but every one of them is leaving a positive mark on our patients’ lives and supporting our staff.”
“Such a Presence”
Gude spent decades in the hospitality industry before coming to Methodist Fremont Health. Together with her late husband, she ran the Raintree Lounge in Fremont before managing the Eagles Club in town. But something was missing.
“I needed another sense of purpose in life,” the Fremont native said. “Because all I had been doing was working.”
That’s when a friend who volunteered at the hospital urged Gude to give it shot.
“I didn’t know what to expect other than being around a lot of people,” Gude said. “But that makes me feel good. I’ve always felt that I’ve tried to help. If people are sad or having a bad day, I try to give them a lift so they aren’t thinking about their problems.”
Gude started in the radiology department, assisting with patient registration, and she’s shifted to other parts of the hospital over the years. Today she spends time stocking supplies and preparing patient areas in the Emergency Department (ED) and physical therapy area. She also works in the surgery waiting area, assisting patients’ loved ones.
Fitzke said Gude shines in her role there, combining compassion with expert organizational skills.
“She always knows exactly what’s going on,” Fitzke said. “She’s just such a presence. To us, it’s knowing that Rose is here. It’s knowing that the room is going to be taken care of and family members will be met with kind, calming support. Asking if they need coffee, or showing them to the cafeteria. There can be a lot of anxiety and stress as you’re waiting for your loved one, but having someone who’s as knowledgeable as Rose is, that’s invaluable to have in the waiting room.”
The Volunteer Spirit
Thanks to Gude’s experience and dedication, Kumm considers her the hospital’s lead volunteer and leans on her when training others.
Among the recent volunteers to sign on at the hospital is Rasmussen, a senior at Fremont High School. Rasmussen, 18, learned about the hospital’s volunteer opportunities through his school’s career program and thought it could help with his future goals while satisfying his desire to help others.
“I want to go into medicine after I finish high school, and what better way to get into that right now than to volunteer at the hospital?” he said. “I’m also really active in my church. I feel like Jesus has changed my life, so I’m always trying to think, what’s a way that I can serve someone today? Doing that kind of service is a more fulfilling activity than almost anything else I can do.”
Rasmussen began volunteering in the ED in June and was paired with Gude for his training. In Rasmussen, Gude saw a quick learner with empathy for others and determination to chase his dreams.
“I have a lot of confidence in him,” she said. “He would have a good bedside manner if he were a doctor. In fact, if he were a doctor, I’d probably go to him.”
In Gude, Rasmussen found “a shining example of what to do.”
“She had a very clear and distinct vision for what needed to be done,” he said. “And I feel like that’s the kind of leadership you need to do your job with the whirlwind around you. Me not knowing anything and going into this environment, and her just having the confidence to know what to do and show me how to do it, that was really helpful.”
It's a story that perfectly exemplifies Gude and the spirit found in each of Methodist Fremont Health’s volunteers – offering countless hours and doing all they can to show everyone The Meaning of Care.
“Volunteers like Rose, I think they get so much out of this,” Fitzke said. “I think it’s the satisfaction of knowing that they’ve helped. You don’t always realize the impact you’ve had on a person until that moment is gone, and I think our volunteers truly make an impact on our patients and families.”
Photos by Daniel Johnson and Nick Bohan