I have been volunteering at Watford General Hospital since January 2021. I volunteer with the teenage and young person’s peer support servce (TYP) . I wanted to become part of the group because during my volunteering sessions on a Saturday morning, I have seen just how much a friendly chat with a patient can raise their spirits and I wanted to do the same for young people on the wards. I also wanted to be part of a multidisciplinary team working towards the goal of improving patient experience for young people in the hospital.
I have loved the peer support sessions, it is so rewarding to speak to young patients and see them instantly feel more comfortable in the hospital environment.
I particularly remember supporting one individual who had been in the hospital for several weeks and was feeling incredibly isolated. They described how seeing the volunteers was the ‘highlight of their day’. They particularly enjoyed the activities I brought along to keep them occupied (e.g. Mindfulness colouring, card games). It is lovely to see young patients so happy and benefiting from my support. Volunteering is a truly rewarding experience for me.
Overall, I have noticed how incredibly valuable TYP service has been to patients in the hospital. The smiles on the young people’s faces every time a volunteer comes to talk to them shows just how much they appreciate it. They are grateful to have a conversation about something other than their health, particularly to people of a similar age who want to and have time to listen. It has also been a truly gratifying experience for me; I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to help young patients on the wards and I cannot wait to support more in the future!