"OUR STORY: The Sackville Memorial Hospital Auxiliary"
In 1945, the Sackville Memorial Hospital Auxiliary was established, one year before the hospital was built. In preparation for the hospital, members went out into the community with hopes of collecting $1.00 per household. Women brought sewing machines to Auxiliary meetings where items such as towels, diapers and curtains were sewn in preparation for the opening of the hospital. Vegetables were grown and preserves were collected to serve to patients. More than seventy years later, the Auxiliary remains devoted to the goal of offering support to the staff and facilities of healthcare in the Tantramar Region in a variety of ways.
The Auxiliary of the Sackville Memorial Hospital operates under a formal constitution and is a member of the New Brunswick Association of Health Care Auxiliaries (NBAHA). The SMHA has an Executive of Officers and Standing Committee Chairpersons. The Executive is comprised of a Past-President, President, Vice-President, Recording Secretary, Treasurer, Corresponding Secretary, Memorial Fund Treasurer, Gift Shop Manager, Gift Shop Treasurer, Audrey Sawdon Memorial Fund Chairperson, as well as several Standing Committee Chairpersons.
Monthly meetings of the Auxiliary begin with the Auxiliary Prayer, which is used by all other healthcare auxiliaries across Canada. Executive Officers and Committee Chairs report to the membership on work achieved during the month, and often future endeavours of individual committees are shared. Auxiliary members in attendance are encouraged to engage in discussion where appropriate, ask questions, offer support, and vote on any decisions made by the membership as a whole.
Discussions held by the Auxiliary relate to the overall goal of supporting the hospital and supporting healthcare facilities and staff of the Tantramar Region. The Auxiliary is devoted in a number of ways which aid in accomplishing its goal: purchases of equipment requested by the hospital; annual donations to the Drew and Westford Nursing Homes; funding for purchases by the area's supporting healthcare facilities; awarding scholarships and bursaries to students in pursuit of healthcare related studies, and funding professional help for the care of mental health concerns of local high school students. The Auxiliary is pleased to support a list of worthy needs such as this and more.
The funding necessary to fulfill the Auxiliary's mandate comes from a variety of sources. A variety of special events are held by the Fundraising Committee. The Memorial Fund regularly receives donations from the public in memory or recognition of family, friends, and community members. The Audrey Sawdon Memorial Fund was established when the late Audrey Sawdon willed a financial gift to the Auxiliary, her intent in doing so to continue the support of the region's hospital and healthcare facilities. Its committee works in conjunction with an accounting firm and investment personnel to ensure continued income. Annually, this fund provides equipment, grants professional development opportunities for staff, and also allows the the Auxiliary to award scholarships and bursaries to students in pursuit of post-secondary studies in the field of health care. The Auxiliary also has a Gift Shop with located in the hospital that has a committee devoted to its day-to-day operations, including purchasing its stock, scheduling several volunteers, employing a student funded through an annual SEED grant, and record keeping to name a few of its tasks. Members of the Auxiliary also hep through volunteering their service time. To the community, the Gift Shop's continued success has lead to it being known as a "unique shopping experience".
Raising funds doesn't complete all of the work necessary for the Sackville Memorial Hospital Auxiliary to accomplish its goals; in fact, several other committees are dedicated to its success as well.
The Request and Research Committee receives prioritized requests for equipment purchases, both medical and non-medical in nature. In addition to pricing equipment, the committee researches the purpose of each piece of equipment and seeks to understand its value in caring for patients. The committee then decides which items will be authorized for purchase and reports back to the membership for approval.
Education is a valued asset of the Auxiliary's work but also of the SMH Foundation and the hospital itself. The three parties contribute, and by doing so, assist healthcare staff in pursuit of professional development opportunities, such as course work and attending workshops and conferences.
Life Membership is tasked with recommending Life Membership Awards to be presented to Auxiliary members of no less than ten years of service. The NBAHA presents the awards after examining the contributions of the member.
Through newspaper press releases, photographs, website updates, and other projects, the Public Relations Committee endeavours to create awareness of the Auxiliary's purpose and work; to celebrate its successes, and to attract people to join the volunteer work of the Auxiliary.
The Archives Committee is responsible for preserving documents, filing minutes of meetings, creating albums of photographs of events, and collecting newspaper articles.
The Telephone/Email Committee ensures that all members are made aware of meeting dates and times, as well as events and special occasions.
The Program Committee makes arrangements for a variety of guest speakers representing the spectrum of health care to make presentations to the Auxiliary members during monthly meetings, with the exception of January when the AGM and regular monthly meeting both take place.
The Visitation Committee makes it their priority to maintain important connections with members. Through visiting and phone calls, this committee makes contact with Auxiliary members who can not attend meetings.
The Fundraising Committee organizes events and special projects to raise funds used by the Auxiliary. These occasions also serve to create awareness of the importance of the Auxiliary's work.
Ad hoc committees are formed to investigate possible ventures in which the Auxiliary may become involved; to establish the foundation of a new project, or to gain education in an unfamiliar area of healthcare.
Networking is always part of the Auxiliary's business. The SMHA President attends several meetings and often a conference throughout the year. The President also attends the meetings of the SMH Foundation in order to report upon the Auxiliary's progress, and likewise, the Foundation reports to the Auxiliary on progress made.
The Sackville Memorial Hospital Auxiliary is one of the most active auxiliaries in South-Eastern New Brunswick. Sackville's residents are very supportive of the Auxiliary, which in turn encourages the steadfast dedication of its members.
The SMH Auxiliary holds monthly meetings from September to June, on the second Thursday of the month at 1:00 p.m. in the hospital's boardroom. Meetings are followed by refreshments and conversation in the hospital atrium. As always, new members are most welcome to join the Auxiliary in supporting healthcare in the Tantramar Region.