Back to Top From car collision to Outstanding Volunteer: patient travels long road - The Ottawa Hospital
 

From car collision to Outstanding Volunteer: patient travels long road

 
Erin Murphy, Volunteer

Erin Murphy, who won the Outstanding Volunteer award, shared his experiences and talked about the importance of the Volunteer Assignment Descriptions and Checklists project.

Winners never quit – rather, they find ways to adjust to a new lifestyle, to a new normal.

Erin Murphy, who won The Ottawa Hospital’s Excellence Award for Outstanding Volunteer this year, has done just that since a collision left him with catastrophic injuries. While stopped at a red light, his car was hit from behind, squishing him between two cars. His long journey towards his new normal began.

“I never imagined that from a 2010 car accident, a brain injury, five years of rehab that included a couple stints as a Rehab outpatient that I would land a rehab volunteer role and become a valuable member of the hospital’s team,” he said.

The Ottawa Hospital has helped Erin rebuild his life – first with medical care and then as a volunteer, enhancing patient care for others.

Due to his severe brain injury, Erin experiences headaches; balance and coordination issues; fatigue; sleep disturbances; sensitivity to light, noise, and movement; tinnitus and disorientation. He didn’t have long stays in the hospital, but he nevertheless spent a lot of time as an outpatient at all three hospital campuses.

In summer 2015, Erin started volunteering. He could work only a few hours once a week in specialized conditions. But his work in the vocational rehabilitation placement allowed him to contribute to a business environment and help conquer his cognitive limitations. Volunteering helped fill these voids, providing a routine to help establish ‘a new normal.’

“My accident was life-altering,” said Erin. “In addition to many cognitive and physical losses, it took away my routines, my career, my peers. I missed being part of a team to contribute and work with a purpose. Volunteering helped me re-establish all of this. It wasn’t about me, but I was contributing to a higher good for the community. Volunteering at The Ottawa Hospital has impacted many aspects of my life and helped make this ‘new normal’ full and whole.”

The Ottawa Hospital relies on about 1,100 volunteers to enhance patient care and help fulfill the hospital’s vision, mission, and values. But volunteers must be kept safe in their work – the same as for employees. If proper controls are not in place, volunteers may unknowingly be exposed to health and safety hazards such as viruses, bacteria, chemicals, radiation, falls and slips, and physical or verbal assault.

Erin worked with the Volunteer Assignment Descriptions and Checklists project, which was designed to improve safety protocols and clarify the “do’s” and “don’ts” for each volunteer role at all three campuses. Upon finishing his training with the Ontario Labour Ministry, Erin assessed more than 30 volunteer roles against 10-to-12 criteria per role to identify any unsafe elements. Then, he produced safe work procedure documents, which resulted in some of the tasks, duties and responsibilities being changed.

“Erin has grown and thrived and helped us with strategic planning,” said Sherri Daly, Manager of Volunteer Resources. “He has taken the lead on our Prescreening team to help design our processes and metrics, and much more. He is amazing.”

For his many volunteering contributions and his diligence in keeping volunteers safe from potential hazards, he was named the Outstanding Volunteer.

 
Comment

Comment on this post

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*


Leanne T - September 20, 2018

Congratulations Erin, well deserved recognition!

You might also like…

Healing through art: Congratulations to the winners of the TRIAS Art Prize

Did you know that art has the power to heal? This year, The Ottawa Hospital and the Ottawa Art Gallery launched the TRIAS Art Prize to recognize the role of artists in healing and wellness. We recently announced the winners, and you’ll see their artwork around the hospital in the new year. Get a sneak preview today.

After 31 years of service, Stefan Mayer will soon hang up his blue volunteer jacket

For more than 30 years, volunteer photographer Stefan Mayer has captured important moments at The Ottawa Hospital, from awards ceremonies to newborn photos. Soon to turn 97, he will leave behind an incredible legacy when he retires from his volunteer career with us later this fall.

“When I felt alone, they were there”: Celebrating National Nursing Week

Three years into the pandemic, patients and families share their powerfully personal stories of how nurses answered the call.

‘I got discharged, and I never really left’: Former patient Maxime volunteers his coding skills

Maxime Bilodeau was inspired to volunteer with The Ottawa Hospital after spending time in the acute care and rehabilitation units. “I saw the work that a lot of the volunteers were doing. After I got discharged, as soon as I was able to, I started to volunteer,” he recalls.

A busy nursing schedule hasn’t stopped Bao-Anh from volunteering

Bao-Anh Vuong has been volunteering with The Ottawa Hospital since high school. Now, 10 years later, she is a nurse at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, and part of a team of experienced volunteers who recruit and onboard new volunteers.

Jocelyn inspires the next generation of health-care workers through virtual co-op program

For Jocelyn Niven, volunteering is a way of life. “It’s the way I was brought up,” she explains. “I come from an army family. My mum volunteered us for everything as far back as I remember.” Now a military veteran herself, Jocelyn is moderator of the hospital’s high school co-op program.

This website gives you common facts, advice and tips. Some of it may not apply to you. Please talk to your doctor, nurse or other health-care team member to see if this information will work for you. They can also answer your questions and concerns.