I haven’t really told you what I actually do at the hospital.
My title is ” meal time volunteer.”
The first thing I do when I enter the ward is to identify any barrier patients. Unfortunately these patients have an infectious disease and therefore I am unable to help these patients.
I then greet the staff on the ward. I find that it is important to greet the staff because I find that there are always new faces on the team.
I wash my hands,put on a apron and I start by cleaning the patients tables. I always smile and briefly talk to each patient (as long as they are not sleeping!)
I then select a patient to sit and talk with before the food is prepared, I find that talking to a patient helps me get into the mindset of my volunteering role and it keeps the patients happy.
Once the mealtime bell rings the whole ward will prepare for lunch time. NUH (Nottingham University Hospital) has protected meal time. This means that all routine medical care is stopped so we can focus on the mealtime. This allows the patients to not be disrupted.
I help by distributing the meals and deserts. I then will sit with a patient and encourage them to eat or I would do small jobs for the nursing staff that would help them out such as getting an extra ice cream pot.
I then will start to bring the trays in and collect the rubbish from lunchtime. After this I will either sit with a patient or I will head off to the bus stop.
I really enjoy what I do. It doesn’t seam like much but it does have a significant impact on the patients and the rest of the staff. I am glad I have the opportunity to do this weekly. I encourage anyone who wants to do any medical careers to volunteer it will help you decide whether medicine is for you and it will help you develop your fundamental skills needed to interact with in a team and with patients.