UPHS – Marquette Heroes: Nancy Saundri

Whether it’s through her church or remaining committed to assisting UP Health System – Marquette, Nancy Saundri has consistently found herself in a role where she’s helping other people. Her first position with UPHS came as a receptionist in the central billing office, where she worked for 18 years. And over the last six years, she’s served as a volunteer in UPHS – Marquette’s waiting room and information desk. 

“I love just seeing the people and being able to help them,” she said. “This area provides a lot of care, and patients may be nervous; they want to know what’s happening and why it’s happening, so we try to help as much as we can.”

Nancy reflected on what being a volunteer means to her and how she came to join the UPHS – Marquette volunteer program.

How did you get involved with being a volunteer?

My husband passed away and I thought I should have something to do. Also, I worked at the hospital for 18 years, so it was my way of giving back. 

What’s a typical day like for you?

Well, it depends where I am. If I’m downstairs at the front desk, I start in the morning and when people come through the door, they want to know where to go so we try to help them. We’ll take them to their places. 

On the second floor of the waiting room, it’s a very busy time up there. You’re constantly always looking for the family members, trying to help them and letting them know when the patient is in surgery and when the surgery is done, and then we help them with doctor visits. It can be much busier up at the waiting desk than at the information desk downstairs.

But if I had to choose a favorite between working the information desk or the waiting room, I would have a hard time. Because downstairs I see a lot of people that I know; I’ve lived here for 50-some years. And upstairs, I just feel that family members need somebody to help them get through some of their stressful times.

What are some of your interests outside of the hospital?

I’m a volunteer at St. Peter’s Cathedral and I’m also an usher there. 

I love to walk. I just moved into Tourville apartments and I like to walk there. Walking and visiting people are the main things, plus a little bit of shopping.

What’s it been like for you to see the hospital grow over the years and move to this new building?

I started at the old hospital and there was a lot more about giving direction over there because people didn’t know where to go. When I trained in over there, a gentleman said to just come in early on my shift and go around and look where things are, so that’s what I did to get used to that hospital.

This new one, as soon as I came over here, I had my legal pad and I took notes — going up and down each floor and marking what was on the floors. I like it over here at the new hospital. It’s very comfortable. 

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