[ INSIDE HAWAII INC. ]
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Brian Nagamine's career at Kuakini Medical Center has evolved since he started at the hospital in 1991. Originally a therapeutic recreation assistant, he now is the new manager of volunteer services. On Thursday, he checked in on the activity at the hospital's gift shop, which is manned by yellow-aproned volunteers such as Vivian Hayashi, at right.
Helping those who want to help
>> New job: Promoted to manager of Kuakini Medical Center's volunteer services department.
» Past jobs: He joined Kuakini in 1991 as a therapeutic recreation assistant, planning and coordinating activities for the residents of the nursing homes.
» Age: 37
» Born and raised: Honolulu
What originally got you interested in therapeutic recreation?
Answer: Originally, I got into that field with an interest in therapy in general. More specifically, I was thinking of possibly pursuing physical therapy.
Q: What happened?
A: Some odd things that came up during my experience here that got me interested in changing my pursuit. I got a little interested in working with volunteers. An opportunity came about in 2000, so I moved over to the volunteer services program here as a coordinator.
Q: What do the volunteers do?
A: Right now I think we have probably about a good 60 or 70 different departments or services where we have volunteers assisting staff in various capacities. My previous manager would say we probably have one of the biggest volunteer programs for hospitals.
A: In terms of people being interested in Kuakini, I know a big portion of our volunteer corps comes through word of mouth, really. It's their experience and they share it with others and that's how it kind of grew.
Q: Is it getting harder to recruit because of the tight job market?
A: I wouldn't say it's gotten harder to recruit.
I think one of the changes, for our organization, some of our volunteers are getting a little older. We have volunteers who have been with Kuakini for 30-plus years, which is great, but as time goes on, some of them get a little older and for whatever reason may not give as much time or volunteer anymore. So the difficulty is trying to bring in the recent retirees to come and give their time, and I think the difficulty is in that. The reason why it's different is hard to answer but I have some theories. Early retirees may go back to work part time, their activity interests may be different. But I'm just guessing.
Q: How do you recruit?
A: In terms of recruiting, we try various avenues. We have a PR department. They help us with sending out news releases. I think we have some public service announcements. There's Aloha United Way's Web site, Volunteer Hawaii; people seeking volunteers can put ads out and people interested in volunteering can look for different opportunities.
But it seems to be a big percentage is word of mouth. Friend of friend or family was cared for at Kuakini and want to give back because they were taken care of so well.
Q: Who is your typical volunteer?
A: Our volunteers range in age from 14 to 96. A big portion of our volunteers are retired seniors, and then we also have people who are still working that volunteer their time in evenings or weekends when they can before work or whatnot.
And then, of course, high school and college students come in for community service projects, etc.
Q: How much do your volunteers contribute a year?
A: Basing on last year's figures, we go on a fiscal year, I think we had about 595 volunteers who gave some kind of time which equaled out to about roughly 64,000 to 65,000 hours. With the current national statistics, in terms of dollars it came out to just about $1 million that the hospital was freed to use toward better services.
Q: Why do you like it?
A: I think it's the fact that I get a chance to help people who are actually wanting to help. I think what attracted me is the gratification of trying to make it possible or to help people who want to give of their time or give themselves and seeing the gratification in their eyes or their words. I think on the more sentimental side of it, that's what attracts me, the whole concept of community service and personal enrichment.
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