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Volunteer brings various professional skills to Hospice work

| Date Posted: 9/29/2010

Jeff Brown

Pinehurst resident Jeff Brown has volunteered with FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care for almost a year, using his considerable computer skills to track volunteer training and compare year-to-year volunteer statistics.

PINEHURST – Trained – very highly – as a theoretical physicist, Jeff Brown now uses his reasoning skills and computer aptitude as a volunteer with FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care.

For almost a year, he has worked on chart management involving bereavement contacts and nursing visits. His tasks include tracking volunteer progress through training and comparing volunteer statistics from year to year.

“It’s useful,” Brown says of his volunteer work. “It’s an intellectual challenge. I love problems, and I like solving problems. When everything finally clicks, it’s great.”

According to Volunteer Coordinator Susanne Tyndall Martínez, Brown’s background and interests have allowed FirstHealth Hospice to expand its office volunteer opportunities into the HIPAA-conscious world of secure charting audits and surveys.

“Prior to volunteering with us, Jeff was a volunteer with a hospice in Alabama, where he assisted the education coordinator,” she says. “He is comfortable with computers and, with his background in physics, has worked in areas where security was very tight. He came with an understanding and appreciation for security. Even with an increase in office support over the past year, there are so many opportunities for volunteers to provide administrative support, ultimately improving our ability to provide good patient care and superior service.”

Brown grew up in Pinehurst and is a 1975 graduate of Pinecrest High School. After earning his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he moved to Florida and the University of Miami for a master’s degree in meteorology and later to the University of Alabama in Huntsville for a doctorate in theoretical physics.

His interest in meteorology continues to this day. He does his own weather forecast every morning and even successfully forecast the weather for his son’s wedding day. A couple of times, while doing research in Miami on the formation of hurricanes, he flew through some of the great storms.

Brown worked for the Lockheed Corp. and taught high school and university-level physics before family concerns brought him back to Pinehurst after 20 years in Huntsville. His previous volunteer experience with a Hospice organization brought him to FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care where he can be found plugging away at his computer in the Hospice office on Aviemore Drive for several hours every Tuesday and Friday afternoon.

After his return to North Carolina, a bout with encephalitis left him in a coma for four days, hospitalized for two weeks and in rehab for another month. He continues to deal with a residual speech articulation problem (called dysarthria), but the Hospice volunteer opportunity helps keep him active.

“It’s very addictive,” he says of the work. “I really like it. For a little while, you know something that nobody else knows.”

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