Being a volunteer was something that I was introduced to at school, and at first I took it up simple for good experience that I could use for my UCAS application. However, over time it has become far more important than that.
As a volunteer I connect with patients and staff through the good (like the smile on the ward staffs’ faces as you bring them pizza, or having an amazing chat with a patient who has a lifetime of stories) and the difficult (such as trying to communicate with a patient who is confused and scared). Dealing with only one of these would be to falsify the work of any carer, be it in a hospital, care home or wherever.
Volunteering during the pandemic has taught me so much about hospitals, humanity and hope, I believe it will be an experience I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
It is the role of a volunteer to do the seemingly mundane (deliver food to patients and staff, organise patients’ belongings, serve tea and coffee, do some admin etc.) but in doing this we get to spend time with people throughout the hospital, not just doctors, nurses and patients, but also the wonderful people who work on reception, the lovely people in patient affairs, the amazing Voluntary Services team and so many more people whose work isn’t often recognised. It’s an all-round unmissable opportunity to see what life is like on and off the wards, and to be able to help the NHS, especially during an incredibly difficult time like COVID-19.