Just get stuck in and try your hardest

hospice volunteer

Thushita is interested in developing a career in medicine, and following a conversation with an ex-nurse, was inspired to volunteer with us at the Hospice.

“During the summer, whilst I had been volunteering at my local food hub, I had met an ex-nurse who had spent much of his life working in hospices. He told me how wonderful and important their work is, and it really inspired me to reach out to Florence Nightingale Hospice to see if I could be a part of something bigger.

I have future aspirations to pursue medicine, so I was also interested in gaining a better understanding of palliative care and helping in a setting that was previously so foreign to me.  I wanted to see how volunteering in a hospice would challenge me, whilst also knowing I would be helping an amazing organisation; I knew I couldn’t miss the chance to get my hands stuck in!

My favourite aspect of volunteering is the sheer amount of people I get to talk to – working at the front desk, I am the first person visitors see when coming. I have also conversed with a few of the wonderful team, who have been so kind and attentive to my questioning, whether they be about volunteering or a personal interest in palliative care.

Volunteering has really shed light on my previous misconceptions of hospice care, something I have shared and discussed with the team. Whilst most individuals assume hospices focus on end-of-life care, it is astounding how many more areas of care are provided. It also led me to further educate myself, through documentaries and podcasts, of the intricacies of palliative medicine, to which I am very grateful for the hospice. I was also taught be far more efficient, as I have never been given the task to relay messages over the telephone before, and it really tested my ability to make the most out of brief conversations. Admittedly I was a novice to begin with, and I stumbled in transferring calls and remembering key points in messages, but the nursing team were quick to get me back on my feet. I owe all I have learnt so far to the great nurses, as they gave me pivotal advice, such as writing down a caller’s number to call them back!

I hope volunteering will help me gain key life skills that will aid me in the rest of my journey, not only into medicine, but also into adulthood. Skills such as multitasking, levelheadedness and efficiency are essential whatever age, and I hope to really hone these through my volunteering at the hospice. I am very excited to see my growth and understanding of palliative medicine, as I continue to volunteer.

My biggest piece of advice for anyone volunteering would be to just get stuck in and try your hardest. Though it may take some time to adjust, just know that there is always someone around the corner to help and to lead you the right way. Also be kind and attentive to everyone around you, from the patients to their loved ones to the hospice team, even just asking about their day could open a conversation and make the environment that much brighter and more enjoyable to be in.”

Thushita, Hospice volunteer

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