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Volunteers in Medicine:
A Culture of Caring

By Kristine Dwyer, Staff Writer

(Page 3 of 3)  
 

Not all clinic volunteers are retired medical personnel. Some are still in the workforce fulltime, yet find it rewarding to share their skills in a VIM clinic after hours. Volunteers find many benefits of serving in a relaxed and respectful environment where they can spend time on their own terms. The clinics are patient-focused; thus there is an absence of the fast-paced schedule seen in primary care clinics that have to rely on paid services and daily quotas. Volunteers are able to schedule their own time; however, a minimum of one half day per week is recommended and current medical licensure and continuing education credits are required of all professional volunteers. Some patients themselves become clinic volunteers in non-patient care, and give back in response to the support and care they have received. The result is a win-win situation as these professional and non-professional caregivers continue to extend their hands toward the needs of others in the community. This model allows for the circle of care to be completed.

The mission of the VIM national office is to guide and promote the development of a national network of free clinics using retired medical and lay volunteers who share the vision to provide care to America’s uninsured within a culture of caring atmosphere. The “Culture of Caring” motto is the heart and soul of a VIM clinic and is based on an ethical standard in medicine. It emphasizes the worth and dignity of each patient, recognizing that it often takes great courage to seek help due to unforeseen circumstances such as job and benefit losses.

The future and success of VIM clinics lies in the hands of visionary leaders and caring individuals in communities that see the need to offer health care in a whole new light. The commitment to make these free clinics a reality will remove barriers and close the gap between patients and their medical needs. Volunteers in Medicine are caregiving heroes that make an incredible difference in the lives of others. While the need for quality health care in our nation will no doubt continue to be in high demand, there is now hope to provide a local solution to a national problem.

For more information on this program, a list of member clinics or to start a clinic in your community, you may go to www.volunteersinmedicine.org or call
802 651-0112.

 

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