Reaping the Rewards of Volunteering at The University of Kansas Health System

Diane Klenke serves as a PathFinder at The University of Kansas Health System and loves her volunteering shiftsAsk Diane Klenke why she volunteers at The University of Kansas Health System and she offers an array of interesting answers.

"It feels like family here … I love my teammates … the caring attitude (husband) Ken and I received from the nephrology team during his fatal illness … the exercise – I walk 7,000 steps each shift."

Klenke volunteers as a valued "PathFinder" at the Information Desk in the main campus from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every Wednesday. She cherishes escorting patients and visitors to their destinations throughout the hospital.

"I've always found it rewarding to chat with and help comfort visitors to the hospital," Klenke said. "They're often worried and lost inside this big building and they know within minutes they might hear bad news on a loved one."

The health system currently needs to ramp up its volunteer numbers due to the opening of the new Cambridge Tower A in early November. The stand-alone 12-story building will have 92 beds upon opening, 11 surgical suites and a state-of-the-art intraoperative MRI suite. As a result, the hospital will serve roughly 6,000 more patients annually.

Today, there are about 150 participating volunteers and PathFinders. By early 2018, 60 more will be needed.

Why should you volunteer?

As a volunteer with The University of Kansas Health System, you will work alongside highly trained healthcare professionals and have the opportunity to:

  • Perform clerical duties
  • Deliver patient mail, packages and flowers
  • Support a patient's spiritual needs
  • Serve as a PathFinder to visitors and patients
  • Read to patients

Volunteering has many perks, such as free garage parking near the hospital entrance, a $5 cafeteria credit upon completing a four-hour shift, a free annual flu shot and admittance to our volunteer appreciation luncheon.

"Our volunteers feel good pitching in to the mission of the hospital," said Volunteer Services director Paula Gangel. "I observe how volunteering enriches one's personal life. Four hours a week, surrounded by other caring and dedicated people, it can be an incredible lift."