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Meet the Team: Emilia Peguero, Patient Care Volunteer Manager

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The key to any company’s success is for its employees to work together seamlessly and have successful interdepartmental communications. A great way for that flow of conversation to begin is to get to know significant figures in our Gulfside community. Each month a different employee that has made a big difference at Gulfside will be chosen to be interviewed and featured in this blog. This month, we are happy to introduce Gulfside’s Patient Care Volunteer Manager, Emilia Peguero. 

Meet the team Blog photo edit

Fun Facts:

  • Favorite Restaurant: Applebee’s but likes seafood 
  • Favorite Show: The Chosen 
  • Started at Gulfside in November 2015 
  • Originally started as a CNA in the field working with patients 
  • Favorite Color: red 

Volunteers are crucial for Gulfside because they help provide additional support and care to patients and their families. Volunteers can offer services, such as companionship, emotional support, and assistance with daily tasks, which can greatly improve the quality of life for hospice patients or caregivers. Emilia’s role is to coordinate and recruit volunteers to help Gulfside with a wide array of tasks. Volunteers can take up different roles, from helping the nursing team, to working at the front desk at the Rucki Center for Hospice Care, to working at the five Gulfside Hospice Thrift Shoppes. These people who donate their time are essential for the sustainability of Gulfside, and Emilia is extremely grateful for the people she gets to work with every day. 



Emilia’s journey with Gulfside has consisted of many roles over the past seven years, and she has worked her way up the ladder through motivation and grit. 

“I started in November 2015 as a CNA out in the field serving patients and their families. And then in 2018 I got the opportunity to join the volunteer department as a volunteer assistant, and then within that same year I became the volunteer coordinator, and then the volunteer manager. So, 2018 was a great year for me.” 

Emilia was asked about her daily responsibilities as Gulfside’s Patient Care Volunteer manager, and this was what she had to say: 

“Right now, [my responsibility] is to oversee volunteer hours, to make sure our volunteers are providing proper care in the field, out in patients’ homes, our facilities, in the IPUs in either Rucki or Heather Hill. I oversee three other team members; they’re amazing staff. Therefore, I manage whatever comes through our doors... I go out there in the community to do veteran pinnings, and also manage the Pet Peace Of Mind program where we place pets. We try to do the best we can for the pets and their families. We also provide training for volunteers over at Rucki.” 


Working with volunteers has many perks, and for Emilia, she constantly feels like her job is very rewarding. According to Emilia, being a patient care volunteer manager can be rewarding because you can connect with passionate volunteers who are dedicated to making a difference in their community. You also get to see the impact of their hard work firsthand and play a key role in helping to achieve the organization's goals. Additionally, volunteering can be a great way to develop leadership and management skills, as well as build a strong sense of community. 

“I love working with volunteers, talking to them, building relationships. They make me smile; I love working with them. Working with them hand in hand is very exciting because they teach you things. They have a heart; they have a big heart. What they do is unimaginable. What they do for us here at Gulfside is that they go above and beyond. I appreciate them so much. So, what is so rewarding is to see their love for other people, especially other people they don’t know. So that’s top dollar.” 




Making your role memorable

Having a memorable experience at your job can make your time at the job better because it can increase your job satisfaction and motivation, improve your work performance, and strengthen your relationships with colleagues. A positive experience can also help you feel more connected to your work and the organization, leading to greater job engagement and a sense of purpose. Emilia talked about a recent memorable experience that made her feel great purpose as Gulfside’s patient care volunteer manager. 

“One of our team members did a veteran pinning for a 103-year-old man. The volunteers and staff members enjoyed it. The man is still very lively, and his wife is 98 I believe, and she is still super active. So, the most memorable thing I experienced through that was their feedback. The patient was so happy to receive us and just seeing the glow on the people’s faces. Another thing we like to do in the veteran pinning is showing appreciation to the caregivers because they are not expecting it. I just love seeing others’ joy and it brings me a lot of joy. It resonates through our volunteers because I see them smiling and I see our patients and families smiling, so it brings a lot of emotions.” 


Teamwork can make the dream work by allowing individuals to pool their strengths and work towards a common goal. When team members collaborate and communicate effectively, they can achieve more than they could on their own. This leads to increased productivity, better problem-solving, and a greater sense of satisfaction and accomplishment for everyone involved. Emilia shared ways her and her team work together to recruit, train and appreciate volunteers at Gulfside Healthcare Services. 

Emilia’s volunteer team consists of a volunteer recruiter, volunteer coordinator, and volunteer assistant. “So, we all recruit in different ways, shapes and forms. We just recently updated our recruiting flyers into a booklet, so now we have it more visible and eye-catching. Whenever I’m in the street and I see a veteran, I give him our pin or our challenge coin and say thank you for your service, and our logo is on it. We’re there to help you get the [community service] hours you need. Social media postings and word of mouth are a few ways we get our volunteer recruits. Now that we have our updated booklets and flyers, they are going to be placed all over the community.” 


Emilia works tirelessly to coordinate with the rest of the Gulfside team to figure out which departments are in need of volunteer help. While some departments may need more help than others, Gulfside gets by with a little help from its volunteer friends. 

“We communicate with each department. I usually call some departments and say, ‘hey do you need any volunteers?’ And they’re very good at saying yes. Right now, we are super involved in collaborating with business development. We just created a mindfulness craft workshop which we are doing right now, and veteran pinnings all over the community. I provide volunteers for each program. We have a nursing team and social worker team where, when they see the need of a volunteer, we work with them in providing that.

So, it’s all disciplines working all together for us to provide volunteers where they are needed. 

“We want to make sure no one passes away alone, so we have volunteers for that, called the Gift of Presence volunteers. There have been a few times when we have accommodated that for the families. The volunteers really appreciated that.” 



Lastly, Emilia shared words of wisdom to those thinking about becoming a hospice volunteer: 

“You’re going to have so much fun, but then again, your heart is going to be filled. When you go into a patient’s home, you don’t know who you’re serving at all. So, it’s a stranger at the end of the day. We’ll only tell you a little bit about them because that’s our role. When the volunteer gets back, they’ll tell us about their time and most of them say ‘thank you’ because sometimes the volunteer gets more out of it than the patient.” 

We hope that this introduction of Emilia Peguero can help you learn something new about Gulfside and the services we provide. For more information about volunteering with Gulfside, visit www.Gulfside.org/Volunteer or call 800-561-4883. 


For more from Emilia, click the YouTube link below to watch exclusive clips from this interview.