The Director's Cut (Commentary on MGM)

Welcome! - This is Greg Thrall (screenwriter), and Rick Syfert (director and post production editor), for our newest version of My Gift: Myself, Excellence in End Of Life Care (affectionately nicknamed “MGM” by the production staff). In the many hours of work dedicated to completing this training project we came to deeply appreciate the intimate personal power of the training that JoAnne Chitwood has created. We would like to present a few of our observations as to why MGM is so effective, and show some of the reasons why over 1000 hospice programs have trusted JoAnne’s training.

Volunteer Coordinators share an unusually difficult set of tasks: finding and training volunteers, molding them into an efficient long term team, and developing their inner strengths and self confidence so they can act independently and effectively in supporting their clients and families. JoAnne Chitwood has developed MGM to make it much easier for you to empower volunteers to deal with the emotional stresses of providing end of life care. As a hospice nurse, JoAnne intuitively understands and directly addresses the “Highly Sensitive” nature of the personalities of hospice volunteers.

Her training package consists of an extensive Coordinator’s Guide, a student manual for each volunteer and a 7 DVD video set. The Coordinator’s Guide provides a wealth of additional information about recruiting and keeping volunteers, and contains many of the informational gems contained in JoAnne’s book: “Seven Essential Keys To Working With Volunteers”. The 272 page student manual becomes a personal journal for your volunteers and a reference guide that they will return to often as they grow in experience. The seven DVD video’s direct each class session using the video presentation and interacting with the exercises, questions and information in the student manuals.

NEW in 2017; we have reformed this amazing training to allow hospice organizations to train their volunteers online. Using's versatile Learning Management System, MGM can now be taken individually by any volunteer with internet access, while volunteer coordinators monitor their progress and are provided with training records to comply with state and Medicare requirements. See the hospice online training menu tab on our regular webpages.

The beauty of the actual process of the My Gift: Myself volunteer training is threefold:

First, JoAnne quickly builds an emotional bond with each student as she presents visually compelling information guiding the classroom training through the 7 chapters of the DVD videos.

Secondly, the volunteer’s are directed through their 272 page student manual, which engages additional learning styles with informative text, simple graphics that add emotional touch, personal journaling questions, group activities and discussions within the class, and skill checks to confirm retention and repeat important information.

Finally, as the volunteer’s work through each topic in the End Of Life Care training, the DVD videos enhance their comprehension with emotionally charged personal stories from a variety of actual hospice caregivers.

This combination of teaching techniques is designed to make each volunteer look within their own lives and understand some of the emotions and challenges being faced by their patients and patient families. By honestly looking at their own reactions to the circumstances of end of life, volunteers become more self-confident and interactive with their clients. They also bring a deeper awareness and empathy in their patient relationships, since they have explored many end of life emotional issues and fears within their classroom training exercises.

The bottom line is that My Gift: Myself is more than just education, it is an experience that generates personal growth, understanding, and empathy that will allow a stronger rapport between your volunteers and patients. Combined with the classroom participation exercises, it also helps create self-confidence and fosters a sense of teamwork and belonging in your volunteers. In the long run, you will create more effective volunteers, have less burnout, and increase your patient’s appreciation of your staff and organization.