On November 21, 1961, when Rose Feldsher was 40 years old, she began her first day volunteering at Einstein Medical Center. She began every shift between 7:15 a.m. to 7: 30 a.m., comforting anxious families and giving updates on loved ones waiting for a patient to come through surgery. Feldsher acted as a a liaison between doctors and patients’ families making certain they were kept informed.
Waiting for a loved one in surgery can be nerve-wracking. Rose Feldsher knew this all too well. When her husband had surgery on his gall bladder she’d found herself in the waiting room, nervous and anxious with no information about what was going on. She felt vulnerable and unsure about the surgery’s outcome due to the lack of communication from doctors about her husband’s status. After that experience Feldsher thought their had to be a better way to support families and patients.
For 50 years Feldsher comforted families, patients and staff. She ran errands, got coffee, water, lunch – helping in any way she could. She was always willing to lend a listening ear and a hand to hold.
Feldsher, a great-grandmother of two, approaches life with a simple belief, “it is better to give than to receive,”. She has embraced that philosophy during her 50 year service as a volunteer.
“It was the best thing that I ever did as far as I am concerned, in helping someone, and I looked forward to every time that I went,” said Feldsher. “It did my heart good”.
To commemorate her 50 years of outstanding volunteer service, the longest-serving volunteer in hospital history, Einstein Medical Center honored Feldsher last week at their annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon held at Reform Congregation Kenesth Israel. During the event, she was presented with citations from the commissioners of Montgomery County and Governor Tom Corbett along with a gift card. The best gift was the dedication of the Rose Feldsher Coffee Lounge at Einsten Medical Center.
Feldsher provided hot coffee and tea to the people in the hospital waiting area and always referred to the waiting area as “my lounge,”. When the lounge was removed after remodeling and coffee service replaced with vending machines, true to her spirit, Feldsher let it be known that she believed the coffee lounge should be brought back. When representatives from Einstein asked her daughter what would make Feldsher happy, the coffee lounge came to mind.
“That was the only thing that I could think of that would make me happy leaving. Getting something I really wanted and couldn’t get — and then I find out now that it came true. I just couldn’t believe it, ” said Feldsher.
Julie Romano of Einstein Medical Center believes that part of the secret to Feldsher’s long volunteer tenure is her sense of humor, which kept all the employees on their toes. “I think what I will miss the most about not having Rose with us anymore is truly her spirit,” said Romano. “She is an inspiration to all of us not only just other volunteers and not just younger volunteers, but all of us on the staff.
Feldsher said she would be more than willing to help out if a few days a week if needed, but for now she’s looking forward to retiring and spending some time taking care of herself.