'Host' helps streamline Hopkins visits


The new Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center, which opened in May, is looking for volunteers who are personable, friendly, capable and happy.

People from all over the world will be coming to this $140 million complex for medical treatment, and one of the center's goals is to make the non-medical attention as good as the medical attention.

"Our volunteer corps will supply much of the non-medical support by creating an ideal and positive patient experience . . . beginning with scheduling appointments and continuing through the entire process of a visit," says Mine Seniye, director of the center's Office of Patient Services.

Her office, she says, has a staff of five, 32 part-time interpreters, a college intern for the summer and 13 volunteers. Many more volunteers are needed, she says.

Delores "Dee" Spirt is one of the volunteers who began the day the center opened. She is a "patient host." She arrives every Wednesday morning at 8:30 and works until about 4 p.m. greeting and helping patients.

Mrs. Spirt takes patients to their destinations within the large center, and if they need special attention, she will stay with them.

She also dispenses a positive attitude by "standing there and offering a smile, being ready to talk with someone or to listen. And, having eyes and ears open for anyone who appears to need help. It is like being a mother hen and I am enjoying it so much," says Mrs. Spirt, a retired registered nurse.

She and her husband Albert, also retired, live in Owings Mills and have three grown children. Their daughter, Adrienne, has just begun her orthopedic residency at Harvard. Mrs. Spirt says Adrienne spurred her interest in volunteering and she says Hopkins spurred her interest in medicine.

"Adrienne worked and volunteered with the children at Hopkins," she says, adding that her mother, Peg Wisotzkey, also works at the hospital and volunteers to Meals on Wheels.

More than 1,000 patients will be seen daily at the 10-story center at 601 N. Caroline St. The building has 181 examination rooms, 46 procedure rooms and eight ambulatory surgery units. Specialty areas include anesthesiology, dermatology, GYN/OB, medicine, orthopedics, otolaryngology, pediatrics, plastic surgery, radiology, surgery and urology.

A pharmacy and optical dispensary is located in the building along with a parking garage with space for 400 cars.

"If you enjoy being with and helping others and want to be a part of this second century of Hopkins medicine, a very high-moving high-tech atmosphere, then call the center's Office of Patient Services at 955-8032," says Ms. Seniye, who adds that volunteer hours are flexible and can be scheduled any time from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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