Northwestern Medicine

Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital Honors Volunteer for Decades of Service

Lake Forest Hospital June 02, 2015

After her husband suffered a heart attack and received outstanding care at Lake Forest Hospital, Nancy Pratt decided to say thank you by volunteering. That was in 1989. She never left.
Lake Forest Hospital honors volunteer Nancy PrattLAKE FOREST, IL – Nancy Pratt, a longtime volunteer at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, receives the 2015 Pauline C. Christie award from Thomas J. McAfee, president of Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital and Diane "Dee" Tiffany, the hospital's manager of volunteer services.

Some information simply can’t be found on a Smartphone. That’s why there are people like Nancy Pratt, a longtime volunteer at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital. She knows where the good coffee is and the best place to pick up flowers. One time, she pieced together bits and pieces of the German she learned as a kid to help translate for a German visitor who was trying to see a patient.                                    

For her more than two decades of helping patients and their families, Pratt, 72, was recently presented with the 2015 Pauline C. Christie award at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital. The annual award was started 27 years ago by the Women's Board of Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital in honor of Pauline C. Christie, a past president of the Women's Board who began her work with the hospital in the 1950s. The Pauline C. Christie awards stand as a symbol of community members coming together to give back to their local hospital. 

Since 1989, Pratt has logged more than 4,000 volunteer hours at Lake Forest Hospital. She grew up in Lake Forest, but has lived in Libertyville for the past 35 years. Pratt started volunteering in the hospital’s intensive care unit in 1989 a year after her husband, Gordon, was treated at the hospital for a heart attack. Back then she worked eight hours once a week, refilling supplies, answering phones and visiting with patients. Over the years, she’s bounced around the hospital, volunteering in the recovery room, extended care facility and women’s center. Currently, she’s helping patients and visitors from behind the information desk at the hospital’s visitor’s entrance.  

“Volunteering is important and I find it so rewarding to help people,” Pratt said. “I do whatever I can to make a sometimes stressful situation less stressful. Everyone should volunteer. At the end of the day, it makes you feel pretty good about yourself.”

Thomas J. McAfee, president of Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, presented Pratt with the 2015 Pauline C. Christie at an award ceremony, held on April 30, 2015.

“Like most hospitals, our hospital could not operate without generous volunteers like Mrs. Pratt,” McAfee said. “Our volunteers are invaluable members of our hospital family. Every day, they help our doctors and nurses and provide information and comfort to our patients and families. Mrs. Pratt is a wonderful example of someone who supports her community, giving her time and talents. We are honored to recognize Mrs. Pratt for her 25 years of volunteering and look forward to many more years of her important service.”

That’s good news because Pratt doesn’t plan on leaving her information desk post anytime soon. She is neighbors with many people who walk through the hospital’s front door and is proud to see their look of relief when they see her familiar face. 

“I’ll be volunteering until they fire me,” Pratt said. “I know so many people who come here and I like helping them in any way I can.”

Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital benefits from the dedicated service of 408 volunteers. In 2014 alone, volunteers donated 30,174 hours of service. Since 1950, hospital volunteers have logged an amazing 677,880 total service hours. 

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