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Celebrating our volunteers

Over the past 10 days York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been celebrating the work of its 300 volunteers as it takes part in the Big Celebration as part of National Volunteers' Week.

National Volunteers' Week takes place from 1 – 12 June 2016, an annual celebration of the remarkable contribution that volunteers make across the UK each and every day.

The week provides the perfect opportunity to recognise the work of the Trust’s army of volunteers as well as make people aware of the volunteering opportunities available at their local hospital.

Kay Gamble, Deputy Lead for Patient Experience, explained: “Volunteers at the Trust fulfil a variety of roles to assist in enhancing patient experience. Although volunteers do not perform any clinical roles, they are able to get hands on experience of what it is like to work in a hospital environment and to work alongside hospital staff as part of a team.

“We have a range of volunteering roles available across our hospitals and in various departments from dining companions to dementia volunteers. We have volunteer visitors and welcomers to chaiplains and charity workers.    

Volunteers can give as little time as a few hours a week to as much commitment as several days a week – it’s a priceless way to give something back to your local hospital and community.”

Gwen Berwick has volunteered for eight years on Ward 11 and Ward 16 as a Volunteer Visitor in York Hospital. Gwen’s long-term commitment has meant that those patients who do not have visitors but would like some company, have someone they can talk to and cheer them up. Gwen also offers support to new volunteers enabling them to shadow her on the ward when they first start.

Gwen said:  “I’ve met all sorts of people and had countless interesting conversations in the eight years I’ve been volunteering.  I feel very fortunate to be in a position to play my small part in making a difference.  It’s lovely to leave a patient with a smile on their face!”

Paul Mayor , Deputy Directorate Manager for the Head and Neck Directorate has a number of volunteers who give up their time to help his directorate. He explained: “Our volunteers are an integral part of the Head and Neck frontline team.  They are conscientious and pro-active team players who do their utmost to ensure a positive experience – when they are not here they are greatly missed!”

Ruth Saxby and Jasmine May have volunteered as dining companions on Waters Ward at Bridlington Hospital for over three years as they wanted to help their local hospital.  Ruth and Jasmine give out menu cards and assist patients in making their meal choice and then support patients at meal times by getting the patient ready for their meal, ensuring that they have everything within reach, they have access to drinks and offer encouragement to eat when patients don’t always feel like eating. 

They expleined: “We do other things on the ward to help staff but our main role is to make sure the patients’ meal experience is a good one and they not only receive their food but are given the time and help to enjoy it.  We are there to make a patients’ experience of what can be a frightening and lonely time in hospital a better one.  When we go home, it’s nice to think that maybe we have just helped someone feel better about their stay.”

Their valuable help on the ward is much appreciated by staff as well as patients. Sister Christine Shenton said: “Not only do Ruth and Jasmine volunteer twice a week, they offer help at a busy time of day. They are really attentive to the patients, helping to ensure that the individual needs of the patient is met.  They pay attention to detail and are really keen to ensure that they make a difference to the patient experience and our ward is extremely fortunate to have them with us.”

10 June 2016

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If you are interested in becoming a volunteer email or call 01904 724520.

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Looking down a long bright hospital corridor with treatment rooms on the left and windows on the right. At the bottom of the corridor is one member of staff in a blue nursing uniform

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