After Starting Innovative Volunteer Programs at UMC Brackenridge, Tia McCurdy Heads into Retirement … Kind of

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AUSTIN, Texas – (June 16, 2015) – Without its volunteers, Ascension Seton wouldn’t be able to fully offer personal care in our community. Our volunteers are critical to our mission as they provide immediate assistance in moments of stress, and a friendly face during dire times.

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Since Feb. 9, 2009, Tia McCurdy has been director of Volunteer Services at University Medical Center Brackenridge. She came to UMCB from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Both she and her husband, Jim, were employed there and lost their jobs (along with over 3,000 others) after Hurricane Ike.

At UMC Brackenridge, she created the Adopt a Floor Program, which recruited community partners to honor nurses by bringing them food as a thank you for their work. Tia also started the Volunteer Ambassador Program to provide resources and support for patients and their families and serve as a conduit of information between the patient and the clinical staff.

Tia created the Lunch & Learn Lecture Series, where clinical experts speak to volunteers quarterly about important aspects of their work. She also created the Music Ministry Program so local musicians can share their talents with patients, families, staff and physicians, contributing to the hospital’s healing environment.

McCurdy retired at the end May. And guess how she intends to spend at least part of her retirement?

Below, Tia shared some of her most memorable Ascension Seton volunteering experiences in the hope that they will inspire others.

What was your best volunteer experience?
I truly enjoyed creating the Volunteer Ambassador Program, which has become a unique and impactful initiative that not only helps patients and their families, but also strengthens the connection between those in our care and their clinical caregivers.

What was an interesting or important thing you learned that surprised you?
I knew that Ascension Seton was mission driven, which appealed to me. But when I became a part of the UMC Brackenridge community, what impressed me was the genuine commitment of staff to their patients, and with our volunteers, seeing how serving here changed their lives.

They became humbled by what they saw and learned to live in a state of gratitude. Their volunteer work added meaning to their lives.

What are you going to miss the most?
I’ll miss the amazing people – staff and volunteers, full of grace, kindness and compassion.

What are you planning to do next week?
I look forward to enjoying quiet uncomplicated days, making a concerted effort to live in the moment, building friendships and having more time with my sweet husband. My new focus will be spending a great deal of time with my 95-year-old mother. She needs me more than ever, so this is my chance to be there for her.

At some point in the future, I look forward to going back the hospital I’ve come to love and volunteering. I’m excited about “move day” in 2017 (to the new Dell Ascension Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas, which will replace UMC Brackenridge), when the patients will be moved to the new teaching hospital.

I can’t wait to help with that!

Volunteers Needed!

Know anyone who may be interested in sharing their time helping those in need? Check the Ascension Seton Volunteer Services web page for information.