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Retired teacher finds new calling as Adventist Hinsdale Hospital volunteer

Hinsdale – After retiring from a fulfilling career in education, Mary Pulsifer chose to remain active and involved in her community. The Clarendon Hills resident sought a volunteer job that was challenging enough to keep her interest. She found it at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. Since April 2008, Pulsifer has been volunteering on Tuesdays at the post-anesthesia recovery unit, or PACU, where she supports nurses in their care of patients waking up after surgery.

“Anyone who sticks with a volunteer job has to be getting intrinsic rewards for their work,” Pulsifer said of her tenure at the hospital. “And I can’t say enough about the people I work with. The entire staff treats me with respect as they would a professional colleague.”

In her work at PACU, Pulsifer serves as a liaison for family visits. She assists with arrangements for relatives to visit the patient in recovery, meeting them at the elevator and escorting them to the unit. She retrieves items the nurses request for the patient, such as ice packs or warm towels, in addition to answering and fielding unit phone calls.

For her dedication and professionalism, Pulsifer was recognized as volunteer of the month.

“Mary has made a very positive impression,” said Rose Ziffra, PACU manager. “She always has a smile. She is punctual and polite, and always willing to help with other tasks. Mary is respectful of the patients’ privacy. She makes sure the curtains are closed before she escorts the family into the unit.”

“I try to assist the PACU staff, allowing them to spend more time on quality patient care,” Pulsifer said.

Pulsifer retired after 36 years in the Hinsdale school system where she taught kindergarten, served as an assistant principal, and then returned to the classroom as an art teacher. After retiring from full-time work, she served as an instructional assistant in special education for pre-school children. She still works as a substitute teacher but reserves her Tuesdays for Adventist Hinsdale Hospital.

In addition to her work at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, Pulsifer also volunteers as an usher at the Goodman Theater in Chicago and walks dogs for the Hinsdale Humane Society. She and her husband James, an accountant, rescued two dogs, a Labrador and a fox hound mix.

For information on volunteering, visit, or contact Sher Fox, director of volunteer services, at (630) 856-4000 or


Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit

Media contact: Lisa Parro, senior public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health,; 630-856-2354