At 72, Richard doesn’t have to spend time in the hospital — but he chooses to
Richard Carpenter, Emergency Department Volunteer, Abrazo Scottsdale Campus
For most people retirement is a permanent vacation. Or, at the least, a time for rest and relaxation. Richard Carpenter isn’t most people.
“When I retired, I realized daytime TV was not in my future,” he laughs. “I began working at Abrazo Scottsdale Campus in the Emergency Department because I wanted to be where the people are. With all the doctors, nurses and patients coming and going, I got my wish.”
Richard started volunteering at Abrazo Scottsdale Campus Hospital in 2010. He works a 4-hour shift three days a week. Last year , he worked 529 hours. Richard says he does this work because he knows how important it is to put people at ease, especially when they’re coming to the hospital for the first time.
“Everyone at Abrazo Scottsdale Campus gets involved with the patients,” he says. “The first impression many patients get is when they come into the triage area of the Emergency Department, and a volunteer is often the first person they meet. We make sure they get the help they need.”
Richard and the other volunteers do any job that needs doing under the direction of the nurses and doctors. They tell patients how to get registered, or they get them a wheelchair if they need to sit down. They take patients back to their rooms, help them get into their gowns and get ready to see the nurses and doctors.
“Adults don’t like going to the doctor, and kids sure don’t,” Richard says. “I love talking to the children to help them be less scared and apprehensive. We talk to everyone while they’re waiting, and we tell the doctors what the patients tell us. That way, everyone knows what is going on.”
Richard says he chooses to volunteer at Abrazo Scottsdale Campus because the staff is simply “the best.” He’s noticed how professional and skilled the doctors and nurses are, and he doesn't think he’s the only one.
“Patients appreciate the promptness in the registration and triage process, and the quick attention and treatment by the doctors and nurses. The patients know they are being dealt with openly and honestly, and they can trust the people here,” he says. “That’s what keeps them coming back.”
At the end of the day, Richard knows he’s making a difference, and he thinks that’s a pretty great way to spend his days.
I feel like I’ve helped some people, and that’s gratifying,” says Richard. “But I get 10 times more out of it than I put in.
"The patients are very appreciative, and so is the staff. It’s like a family here.”