As a volunteer receptionist at Doey’s House, Jenifer Keller brings her compassion, her experiences and insights as a nurse, and the beauty of her needlepoint creations to every shift.
Jennifer is a trained cardiac nurse who worked in the field for 10 years. When her husband completed his training as a physician, Jennifer embraced the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom.
As her children grew older, she decided to become a hospice volunteer at Doey’s House, an inpatient unit at Hospice of Washington County, where physicians, nurses, counselors, social workers and volunteers work together to support patients and families.
“I wanted to go back to my roots of nursing and caregiving and helping others,” she says.
Initially Jennifer was a companion volunteer. She visited patients at nursing homes in the area. “There are some patients who may or may not have family to visit them. Just spending some time with them and talking with them and hearing their stories was very rewarding.”
The Covid pandemic cut off those in-person visit, so Jennifer turned her attention to the reception desk at Doey’s House. She says her shifts typically start at 8 a.m. “I open our station and then spend some time at the nurse's station. I'll make copies, do some organizing and clean up a little bit, whatever I can do to help the nurses get ready for their shift,” she says. “That extra pair of hands can make a big difference in their days.”
The volunteer pool got smaller during the pandemic, but she says the hospice team takes many precautions to keep volunteers safe, including wearing masks in the building and screening visitors and staff. “We'd love to have more of our volunteers back and have new volunteers come and join our care team. It's a great place to be,” she says.