Volunteers honored as vital backbone of hospital’s patient care commitment


As a student in medical school, Farzad Ghobadian wanted to be sure he would be comfortable working in a hospital setting.

Last August, he began volunteering at Chandler Regional Medical Center.  Ghobadian, a west Chandler resident, spends an average of four hours a week working in the post-anesthesia care unit, helping look after patients who are coming out of surgery.

“They are usually there for an hour or an hour and a half, and we have to make sure they are stable before they can go home or go up to their room and stay the night at the hospital,” he said. 

“Depending on how busy it is, we either hang out with the patients, or we do things like stock the area with the correct supplies, clean the area, change the bedding, and other things like that.  “Some people might think of it as ‘oh, they are just making beds,’ but it’s really important to keep the area clean because you don’t want to allow infections to be spread around.”

Ghobadian said the nurses often tell him and the other volunteers how grateful they are for their help.

“It’s very helpful to them; if we didn’t do it, they would have to, and they are already really busy,” he said.

During the week of April 10-16, volunteers like Ghobadian were officially acknowledged for their hard work by both Chandler Regional and its sister medical center, Mercy Gilbert.  As part of Volunteer Appreciation Week, Ghobadian said he and other volunteers planned to attend a special movie night at Harkins Theater, where they were to be recognized for their service.

According to Hayat Bearat, a hospital spokeswoman, more than 550 volunteers serve at both locations, and work in more than 86 percent of the medical centers’ departments.  Last year, she said, volunteers gave more than 106,000 hours, working with patients, family members and staff. 

“Volunteers serve in over 89 areas, such as the Information Desk, gift shop, on nursing units and in administration functions,” Bearat said.

“Each year our volunteers continue to amaze us with their acts of kindness toward patients and their families,” said Chandler Regional president and CEO Patty White.

“They not only selflessly donate their time to patients and families, but to our specialty programs which help drive their success.”

For Ghobadian, while he is happy to know that the hospital staff appreciates the work that he and the other volunteers do, he said he is grateful to have the opportunity to help others and to get the chance to test out his comfort level in a hospital.

“The medical schools want us to do this, and I like to help people,” he said. “I’ve always done a lot of volunteer work, and since I’m in the process of changing my career—I used to be an engineer—I wanted to continue volunteering and do something that will help me in my new profession.”

And, of course, help the patients and hospitals that gain so much from volunteers like him.


  1. Retirees are the backbone of volunteer work, yet they are frequently portrayed by the media a moochers that just lounge around and play golf while collecting undeserved social security and pension checks. The truth is that “retirement” is merely the transition from paid work to unpaid work, which may also include caring for ill or disabled family members, volunteering, or helping in the rearing of grandchildren.


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