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A Day in the life of a Volunteer

Meet some of our volunteers.

Meet Elaine, RAH Allied Health Professional (AHP) Volunteer

Elaine has been volunteering with us for over 5 years, in a variety of roles. 

She started her NHS Volunteer journey by helping out at the Langlands Unit, assisting the Activities Coordinators on the ward. Shortly afterwards, Elaine registered on the Dietetics course at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and was persuaded to join the team at Ward 23 RAH at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. Here she assisted with mealtime support to patients.

Elaine has been actively involved throughout the past year in COVID-19 response work, helping out wherever she was needed. She has a special connection with the physio team on ward 23 RAH. 

Elaine explains why she got involved:

“Transitioning from an office job in the community pharmacy to frontline healthcare, I was keen to explore primary and secondary settings whilst studying. Over the five years, I have moved between different roles and locations, which has been an excellent opportunity to experience diverse areas of the NHS and play a part in helping staff and patients.  

I enjoy meeting new people and supporting patients during their time in hospital, whether it’s doing seated exercise, filling up their water jug, talking about food and nutrition or having a general chat to pass the day. Building confidence in interacting with patients and feeling comfortable in the ward environment has been great. As a dietetic student, I am gearing towards placements and working with the public in a healthcare role. Every shift is a learning experience”

Meet Bill – Ward Volunteer

My name is Bill, I am a ward volunteer at the Brownlee Medical Ward, Gartnavel General Hospital.

I have been volunteering in the Brownlee since 2012. The Brownlee ward is a medical ward providing clinical care to a wide range of patients. The ward is fast paced, with many patients’ unwell and requiring acute medical interventions and a great deal of medical and nursing attention.

A significant proportion of the patients have some cognitive impairment. Some may be medically well, but due to complex social circumstances, they may spend a longer time in hospital whilst awaiting appropriate plans for safe discharge. Either home or to a care home environment.

Welcome to my day!

My volunteer day is a Wednesday starting at 11am. On arrival I sign in and report to the Sister/Senior Charge Nurse who gives me a quick brief and if lets me know if there is anything I need to know in order to conduct my duties safely.

I go round the ward and say hello to everyone, and introduce myself to new patients. Many patients don’t have visitors and its important to offer a friendly smile as it can make a huge difference to their day!

Around noon, I assist ward staff with the lunch routine. Supporting mealtimes is important as it’s a time when having many helping hands is important. Before the meals arrive, I check patients are ready for their meal making sure bedside tables are de-cluttered and wiped down, hand out white aprons to patients and assist with the implementation of hand hygiene.   

When the meals arrive, I help dispense milk and juice and offer company to patients who require some support.

After lunch, I spend the rest of my shift talking to patients on a one to one basis and explore their personal interests, or offer comfort and reassurance if required. It’s moving and enlightening to hear about their lives which are often long and complex.

I finish at 3 pm, it’s a very enjoyable and fulfilling day. As well as supporting the Brownlee unit, I often support the Volunteer Coordinator training and introducing new volunteers to other wards in Gartnavel General – medicine for the elderly. The Brownlee wards sits on its own. It’s refreshing to go visit other wards and see how patients are being cared for through therapeutic activities. We have introduced an activity box into the ward, this means I can play cards or dominoes and do a crossword or word search together.